Cherie (CheriePie) - Reviews

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The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Bk 3)
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Bk 3)
Author: Philip Pullman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 12/19/2005
Helpful Score: 2


I liked it, though not quite as much as the second book in the trilogy, The Subtle Knife, which was my favorite of the three.

The Amber Spyglass picked up right where The Subtle Knife left off, and having been a couple months since I read that, and 15 other books in between, I kind of forgot some of the finer points of the previous story. I kind of wish I'd had that copy handy for a quick refresher before starting on this one. I was able to get back up to speed quickly enough, but there were still some references to previous minor events that happened, and I found myself having to work back through memory or hoping that they'd expand if it was really important to the story. An example that kept being referred to is how Will was arguing with his father at the time he died in book 2. Well, unfortunately, I couldn't recall the circumstances surrounding Will's father's death clearly enough in my head to know if what they were arguing about at the time was significant to the story, and I didn't even know how he'd died until that detail was eluded to in a later conversation.

I don't think this was as much of an issue between the first and second books because more of the minor plots and events were wrapped up before the end, while of course the big plot that spans the entire trilogy is left open... but you don't usually forget the major plotline anyway, just some of the details of the minor ones.

So I always like to give an objective statement or review about the book as well as my opinions on it. And that said, I thought the entire trilogy overall was very good and well written. Though I was both pleased and disappointed in the way everything was resolved. How can that be?

WARNING! SPOILER ALERT.
You must highlight the text below in order to read it.

Well, I didn't like that Lord Asriel died, and I didn't like that Lyra and Will couldn't be together after all they'd went through. I guess both those points added a note of sadness to the ending. Of course, all the events that had transpired thus far lead up to the final resolution, and I enjoyed seeing the way everything fit together nicely.


American Gods
American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 10/31/2005


This was a pretty thick book, 628 pages long, but it went by fairly quickly nonetheless and I greatly enjoyed it. While reading, I found myself trying to place which God or Goddess was represented by each character that Shadow met on his travels with Wednesday. (I was pretty good with all the Egyptian ones and Kali; the exact form of some of the Norse ones escaped me at times, though the names were familiar.)

I'm looking forward to reading Anansi Boys now, which is sort of a follow-up to this book.


Anansi Boys
Anansi Boys
Author: Neil Gaiman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 188
Review Date: 6/8/2006
Helpful Score: 2


I don't think I liked this one as much as American Gods... there seemed to be so much more going on under the surface in that one. Still, it was an interesting story nonetheless, even though it couldn't live up to it's predecessor. I found I didn't really endear myself to any of the characters: Spider was annoying and stuck on himself, Fat Charlie was a pathetic loser (until the end when he found his true self). I know I've felt the same way about characters in some of Gaiman's other books though, so that doesn't necessarily make them not a good book, just perhaps not as touching if it doesn't speak to a certain part of me....


The Awakening (Vampire Huntress, Bk 2)
The Awakening (Vampire Huntress, Bk 2)
Author: L. A. Banks
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 159
Review Date: 1/3/2006
Helpful Score: 12


I found this, the second book of the Vampire Huntress series, slightly better than Minion, the first. However, some of the same things that bothered me about that book came to surface in this one too.

I'm glad I hung onto Minion because The Awakening picked up right where that left off, and I had to reread certain portions of that first book to reacquaint myself with some of the things that went down already. I don't think the author did a very good job of allowing this book to stand on it's own. Granted, series such as this are meant to be read in order anyway, but like Laurell K. Hamilton does in her Anita books, if she needs to refer to an incident from a previous book, she'll usually provide enough additional detail so that new readers can continue reading, albeit with a little less knowledge and detail than someone who's been reading the series in order. This was not the case here; if you didn't read the previous book, and remember all of it's little nuances, you're going to need to before starting on this one. As it stands, I still had to refer back to things from book one since I'd read it 8 months prior to this one.

The story line is still interesting enough to hold interest, and because Banks doesn't go into detail on each of the main characters in this book like she did in Minion, we don't have as many passages that drag on too long like in the first book, though they're certainly not gone completely. At times while reading, I felt that maybe the writing was done in discrete parts, not necessarily in sequence, since sometimes the scenes didn't seem to blend transparently as they could've. Like maybe she'd forgotten she wrote something in an earlier scene, and then describes or talks about it again in a later scene, which may or may not completely jive with what was stated previously. Again, I noticed this behavior much more prominently in the first book than this one.

I won't go into a synopsis of the story itself, since you can read elsewhere here or at the BookCrossing journal entry for this book. But suffice to say, this series looks like it's going to get even better going forward.


Bad Moon Rising
Bad Moon Rising
Author: Katherine Sutcliffe
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 65
Review Date: 6/7/2005
Helpful Score: 2


This was a pretty good book. I had looked forward to reading it after reading Sutcliffe's "Hot August Moon" from the Lover Beware anthology.

Like previous reviewers, I had the killer figured out about half way through. Ummm... well up till about 3/4 of the way, I had another suspect in mind as well, but still the real one was the one who I'd suspected. Still, it was suspenseful, with just the right amount of romance blended in too.


Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends
Author: Jan Harold Brunvand
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 5/12/2006
Helpful Score: 2


Finished this a couple days ago. Some of the stories were pretty good and others were just plain dumb... but that's just like urban legends in general, right? Many of these I've heard of before, in similar variations, and I liked seeing the slight changes from one version to the next, or how different parts of the story were changed or emphasized more than others depending on the time or location.


Beyond the Pale (Darkwing Chronicles, Bk 1)
Beyond the Pale (Darkwing Chronicles, Bk 1)
Author: Savannah Russe
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 250
Review Date: 8/22/2006
Helpful Score: 7


Wow! This was an awesome book, and a debut from this author no less. No wonder NeedSun had to immediately buy/locate book two. If she hadn't, I might've had to. ;)

This book is classified as a romance, and though I can see the romance aspect, it definitely wasn't the primary focus of the book which made me enjoy it even more. I like books where romance, if included at all, is more of an afterthought than part of the main story line.

Daphne is a strong, tough character, the kind I like, and a vampire to boot. Plus she's a Monkey in Chinese Astrology like me. :) In Beyond the Pale, Daphne, a nearly 500 year old vampire, is approached to join a team of vamps working for the US government to help catch terrorists. Vampires aren't widely recognized and accepted here like they are in the Anita Blake books, instead only certain government officials, and the Vamps themselves, really know of their existence. And with their superhuman strength, Team Darkwing makes a great set of heroes!

Though I just finished saying I don't care for the romance aspect, I'm curious to find out what happens between Daphne and Darius in the next book.


Bitten & Smitten (Immortality Bites, Bk 1)
Bitten & Smitten (Immortality Bites, Bk 1)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 424
Review Date: 9/18/2006
Helpful Score: 7


Sarah Dearly was just turned into a vampire, and she isn't happy about it. The past week has been hell, she's just lost her job, and the one vampire she cares for wants to kill himself. Welcome to the life of Sarah Dearly, and her hilarious romp through new vampire territory.

This debut novel by Michelle Rowen was a terrific read, and I look forward to the sequel, Fanged & Fabulous, due around Spring 2007. She also wrote one of the chapters of Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred, which I have waiting on my TBR and am even more anxious to read now. The story reminded me somewhat of Betsy in MJD's Undead series; Sarah's just as quirky and funny, if not more so.


Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Bk 2)
Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, Bk 2)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 890
Review Date: 2/17/2008
Helpful Score: 6


In this follow-up to 2006's Moon Called, Patricia Briggs pens an exciting and fast-paced urban fantasy story about walker Mercy Thompson and friends. In this installment, we're reintroduced to characters we met in the first novel, though Ms. Briggs fills in the blanks a bit as necessary, for those who may have picked this up without first reading Moon Called. But if you've already read Moon Called, you'll appreciate the character development as you grow to like these characters even more!!

In Blood Bound, we learn a lot more about Stefan, and I swear, every girl should have a friend like himâ"dangerous yet sexy, mysterious yet honest... I've got to say next to Mercy, he's probably my favorite character now. ;-) This time around, the vampire seethe is in trouble from a rogue demon-ridden vampire. And for some reason, Mistress Marsilia feels that only Mercy's unique talents as walker can get them out of this mess! But Mercy wonders... is it just that she's more expendable??

The 292 pages of this book are jam packed with lots of action, such that I've have read only 7 or 8 pages, yet looking back, would be surprised at the amount of action that's happened. I love that in a book, not a lot of long descriptions, yet Ms. Briggs is still quite expert at letting you get to know a character well, without having to get wordy about them. Now how's she do that? ;-)

I have Iron Kissed, the third book in this series, on it's way to me now. Even though I have so much other stuff owed, I know I won't be able to wait to dive into that one as this series just keeps getting better and better!


Blow Me Down
Blow Me Down
Author: Katie MacAlister
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 405
Review Date: 5/21/2006
Helpful Score: 1


This was an okay read. The author often went a little too heavy on the quips and trite phrases, which she openly admitted to in the afterword, but it had me gagging at times. I remember her doing this in her vampire books too. I liked the idea of the virtual reality game based on pirates, but wish there was a little less love and romance in the book overall. This book reminded me why I don't like romances that much. I think were it not for the pirate VR aspect of it, I'd have put it aside without finishing it... I've got a huge stack of other stuff to read and almost felt this wasn't worth my time, but like I said, the pirate VR aspect made it more interesting and kept me reading.

BTW, the quiz on the web site said I was most like Joy from the Vampire series. Hmmmm... I always thought she was super annoying. I guess I'll have to watch myself to make sure I really *don't* become like her!


A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden, Bk 2)
A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden, Bk 2)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 91
Review Date: 12/29/2006
Helpful Score: 3


I didn't like this second book in the series as much as Real Murders, if only because there wasn't as much murder going on. :p

In this installment, Roe inherits the estate of her friend Jane Engle, a seventy year old "sweet old lady" who was formerly in the Real Murders club with her. Roe's got no idea why Jane would leave the house to her, but Jane's lawyer, Bubba Sewell, tells her that Jane has only a single brother left still living, who's pretty old himself, and she left him her car, her cat, and a few thousand dollars. But Roe is inheriting Jane's house, along with all it's contents and $550,000! Which is apparently a pretty good windfall down South! (Up here it'd barely buy a nice house. LOL)

Anyhow, it's the skull that Roe discovers inside Jane's house that's got her curious... just whose skull is it? And do the recent mysterious break-ins in the neighborhoodwhere nothing was taken, just houses ransackedhave anything to do with it? This mystery gets wrapped up at the end, but I won't give any spoilers here to ruin it.

We also learn a little more about Roe's personal life, and her longing to find a good man and get married. She's no longer with either of the two men she dated in Real Murders. The police detective Arthur has married his partner Lynn. And Robin Crusoe left the townhouse to go live in the city, and then went off to Europe for a little while, stepping back as Roe had gotten more serious (or so she thought) with Arthur. It's a little uncomfortable for Roe when she finds out that Arthur and Lynn have just bought the house across the street from the one she inherited from Jane, and to top it off, Lynn's already pregnant. (Can we say shotgun wedding! LOL) So Roe's now dating the town's Episcopal minister, Aubrey Scott, who performed her mother's recent wedding to John Queensland.

I think if Ms. Harris didn't make the rest of the story fairly entertaining, it would've flopped because the wondering of this skull is the only mystery part to this story... Roe does a little sleuthing, but since she doesn't mention the skull to anyone else, it's not a subject for dinner-time conversation or anything among her friends, acquaintances, and new neighbors, at least not until the rest of the skeleton is discovered. *grin*


Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Author: Helen Fielding
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 659
Review Date: 10/3/2005
Helpful Score: 3


I liked this book about as much as the first one, though this one was a lot more different from the movie than the first one was.

Like in the first one, I found myself constantly criticizing Bridget for everything I see wrong with her—her lack of self-esteem, her inablity to see the consequences of her actions, and her continual tardiness. I mean, I'm a continually tardy person myself, but I wouldn't do something stupid like go out shopping when my plane is due to leave in a few hours. That's just asking for trouble. Heck, I refrain from leaving the house the entire day I'm leaving to go anywhere till I have to leave to catch the plane.

In any case, though I found myself constantly scolding her in my head, her actions and those of her friends, are amusing indeed. The fact I'd find myself chuckling at Bridget's stupidity, despite the fact that I thought she was an idiot, allowed me to give this book a rating of 8 anyway. :)

Now that I've read both Bridget books, I've got a small 50 page copy of Bridget Jones's Guide to Life to read as part of a BookCrossing bookring. Looks like fun!


Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones's Diary
Author: Helen Fielding
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 292
Review Date: 5/23/2005
Helpful Score: 8


I really enjoyed this book. Having seen the movie first, which is one of my favorites by the way, I found a number of differences, mostly just things that made the action happen faster, but some scenes were added even to the movie, such as the fight between Daniel and Mark. Unlike the movie, Bridget wasn't under the impression that Mark stole Daniel's fiance as happened in the movie. I was trying to figure out why this difference, but I guess it made a strong case for the dislike between the two guys very obvious. So even though the movie wasn't true to the book on a few issues, and there were some scenes in the movie that never occurred in the book, I still like them both equally. Besides, seeing the movie first, and picturing Hugh Grant (YUMMY!) in my mind whenever there was talk of Daniel, well I kinda liked that.

As I was reading, I found myself continually pointing out all the things Bridget was doing wrong with regards to dieting, time management, and so on... all the things she kept saying she was going to work on. For instance, she'd often count calories without any consideration for the food content itself. She's very disorganized and though the author claims that the reader will often think they see themselves in Bridget, I didn't find this to be the case at all with me. Instead, I found myself thinking of her as an unenlightened soul, whom as a friend, I wanted desperately to help to set her on the right path by pointing out to her all the little things she's doing wrong. LOL

This book was a very quick read. I got it read pretty much over a long weekend, even though we had friends from out of town staying at our house. It was just that easy to read in bed and not want to put down. :) I'm looking forward to the 2nd book in this series, which I should have soon.


Bridget Jones's Guide to Life
Bridget Jones's Guide to Life
Author: Helen Fielding
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 86
Review Date: 10/4/2005
Helpful Score: 1


This was a cute and quirky, funny little read, just perfect after finishing The Edge of Reason as I just did. It's Bridget's form of a mini self help book, imparting all the wisdom she's gleaned in her adventures, such as cooking tips, dating advice, etc. Her methods, though delusional, are true-to-form Bridget. :)


Carpe Demon: Adventures of Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom (Kate Connor, Bk 1)
Review Date: 11/30/2005
Helpful Score: 1


I liked this book. The style reminded me a little bit of MaryJanice Davidson's, but without all the shallowness of Betsy from the Undead series. I think Mothers will relate to it even more than I did since I've never been either a mom or a "soccer mom" myself. The story itself was fun, not too heavy, with a good mystery to boot. It was hard to put down and the surprise ending snuck up on me.

Though this is the first book I've read by Julie Kenner, another BookCrosser had sent me some others from her Protector (Aphrodite) series, so now I'm looking forward to reading those while waiting for the 2nd book in the Demon series, California Demon: The Secret Life of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, due to be published June 2006.


Catching Midnight (Midnight, Bk 2)
Catching Midnight (Midnight, Bk 2)
Author: Emma Holly
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 208
Review Date: 4/18/2006
Helpful Score: 8


I read this book after Hunting Midnight, which is the 2nd in the series. This story centers around Gillian, who is mentioned quite often in the 2nd book, so I enjoyed finding out more about her, though I wish Id read this one first as you also find out a bit more history about some of the other major characters.

Gillian comes to the pack as a young girl of 10 years old, whose mother and brother are in the death grips of the plague sweeping the country. She is adopted by the upyr pack and grows to become a strong upyr, partially because she had the some natural gifts, such as the gift of sight, to begin with. Unfortunately, Gillian feels unfulfilled and eventually leaves the cave and protection of the upyr to explore the human world. As a shapeshifter, she finds her familiar in a falcon, but is then captured by a kind falconer named Aimery Fitz Clare whom she eventually falls in love with.

Like bookrabbit, who lent me Hunting Midnight, I think I liked that one a little bit better than this one though not by much. And though the 2nd book expanded on some of the history of the characters, there was certainly enough information given about the major characters in that book (with the exception of Gillian since she was part of that book in word only) so that you didnt feel lost if you started the series there.



The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure (Audio Cassette) (Abridged)
The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure (Audio Cassette) (Abridged)
Author: James Redfield
Book Type: Audio Cassette
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 5/23/2005
Helpful Score: 2


I read this book many years ago and it truly changed my outlook on life. I then picked up this audio cassette version to be able to share it with my significant other, who isn't much of a reader. I plan to hang on to my book copy for awhile longer, but I wanted to share this audio cassette version, which contains the full unabridged text from the best-selling book, with someone else who will enjoy it as much as I did.


Chilton's Guide to Chassis Electronics and Power Accessories (Automobile Repair & Maintenance Series)
Review Date: 3/17/2007
Helpful Score: 1


This book came in quite handy for DH while we both had late 80s model cars and trucks...


Chocolat
Chocolat
Author: Joanne Harris
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 11/14/2005
Helpful Score: 1


A great read, I really enjoyed it. Character-wise, Reynaud stands for everything I dislike about the Catholic religion and I really hated his character in this story: a true villian, bigot, and zealot. I could never wrap my mind around some of the Catholic ideals and concepts--Lent and abstinence, original sin, and the like. Reynaud likes to take the words of the Bible and warp them to his own twisted means.

Vianne is exactly the opposite of Reynaud and stands for everything I believe in and all that is right with the world; her outlook on life closely mirroring my own--except for the parts about fleeing from place to place to escape The Black Man. She was a good mother and a wonderful woman, and I was happy to see the impact she had on many of the people of Lansquenet, giving them strength and courage, and a new love for life.

The premise of the story, a chocolate boutique opened by Vianne in a strictly Catholic village, allows the characters, both major and minor, to examine their beliefs as the priest Reynaud speaks out against the debauchery of the chocolatier. Joanne Harris, the author, is very good at describing things in the best frame of reference, the chocolates, the flowers of springtime, the images brought to mind while reading this book were both beautiful and mouth-watering. And seeing as how it's just past Halloween, and a recent vacation to Key West from which I just returned last week, I happened to find all kinds of chocolate in the house which we usually don't have. I think this book may have caused me to gain a few pounds because with all the reading about chocolate, goodness knows I had to indulge. Heh, at least all the Halloween chocolate is almost gone now... though I miss the Key West fudge and Lindt chocolates. LOL


Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, Bk 1)
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, Bk 1)
Author: Joanne Fluke
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 96
Review Date: 5/30/2006
Helpful Score: 1


I enjoyed this cute little cozy mystery, and am looking forward to reading the rest in the series. I'm curious to try out some of the the cookie recipies, which I'm going to copy and save from the book. A few times while I was reading I had to go and grab some Milano's because the way she was describing some of them had my mouth watering. :p


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