Saturday, March 12, 2011

What Are You Reading Between the Covers? - #11

I need a vacation from my vacation to recover all the sleep I lost due to delayed flights. I haven't read much since returning home to sunny, springtime Dallas, but I finally am able to keep my eyes open long enough to blog about my latest whirlwind of books. I got a lot of reading done on my vacation, though admittedly, I missed my book companion, Toshio. I read three novels the last few days in Wisconsin.

The first was Dayhunter, the second novel in the Dark Days vampire series by Jocelynn Drake. It was a good second book, but nothing really stood out as spectacular. We learn who Danaus really is, which was exactly what I thought he was going to be, disappointing that it was predictable, but he's still a cool character. I like this series because there is no gratuitous vampire sex in it. There was actually only one sex scene in this story and it was plot related -- imagine that! I don't even remember any sex scenes from the first book. In this one Mira and Danaus are continuing their fight to stop the naturi from breaking the seal and releasing their queen so they can purge the earth of mankind (the parasite). It was a fast and entertaining read. These books cannot be read as standalones the way some series can. If you miss one, you miss essential plot elements, so reader beware!

After sinking my teeth into the vamp tale, I switched gears and read Dark Cities Underground by Lisa Goldstein, a very refreshing urban fantasy. Much to my delight, all the childhood stories I loved like Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows, and Alice in Wonderland, turned out all to be true accounts. In this story children who had discovered an underground world beneath the world's subway system come back to tell their tales. Hence, the classic children's stories are invented! Ruth Berry, one of the main characters, loses her daughter in this dark fantastical world based on Egyptian myth. She and Jeremy Jones, from the famous childhood books in the story, must recover The Eye of Horus to free her daughter and escape using the underground subway system. This book was amazing! I cannot begin to say enough about it. A must read! I couldn't put it down. If you are a fan of urban fantasy and haven't read this one, pick it up!

After that wonderful story I knew Diana Wynn Jones would not disappoint with Howl's Moving Castle, an oldie, but a goodie. I had just watched the movie adaptation by Hayao Miyazaki of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away fame (good animes, if you haven't seen them. Actually, any of his work is great to watch, very whimsical and fun, just like Diana Wynn Jones's work). Ms. Jones actually helped write the screenplay for Howl's Moving Castle, so the movie remarkably mirrored the young adult book, with a few minor plot cuts. The book is about the wizard Howl, his moving castle propelled by his demon fire Calcifer, and a young hatter named Sophie, cursed by a famous witch to look old. She falls in love with Howl after coming to live as a cleaning lady in his castle, but she cannot tell him or anyone else about her curse. Sophie enters into a bargain with Calcifer to free him from Howl's service in return for her curse being broken. The characters are adorable; the ideas are unique and playful. Adults will enjoy this young adult novel too. I highly recommend it! And do see the movie! It is a masterpiece. Even better, this is the first in a trilogy. The next two books are Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways, which I will certainly be reading myself.

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!

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