Book Reviews!

Apparently, there was some kind of book-reading challenge going on over the weekend, or at least, that's what Kate says. So here's the score for YT:

...And part of a Magic Tree House book. And part of Lee Lofland's Howdunit Book of Police Procedure and Investigations.

What can I say? I did a lot of yard work.

Over Hexed. I haven't read a romance novel since I was a teenager, and even then, eh, whatever. Borrring. But Vicki Lewis Thompson passed this one out to everyone at the Pikes Peak Writers' Conference, so I felt obliged to at least crack the spine.

Fun stuff. Merry. A wizarding couple gets the boot from their comfort-zone New Age town in New Mexico, ending up in Big Knob, Indiana. (Yes, it's that kind of book.) While trying to make the spoiled-brat dragon guardian of the local forest shape up, they amuse themselves by helping a overly-pursued young man turn off his sex appeal. Two weeks, max. Promise. And yes, that's the exact moment the woman of the guy's dreams shows up, and he has to rely on...talking (!) to the woman to stop her from tearing down his childhood home to put in a big box retail store. As you may have guessed, hijinx ensue.

Okay, nevermind the debate between erotica and porn. What's the line between romance and porn? My guess here is the ending, which focuses on relationships rather than sex itself. Nevertheless, I had to think about it.

The author has another series based on nerds, too. A Nerd in Shining Armor. Talk Nerdy to Me.

I probably won't chase her books down, but I'll probably pick them up when I see them, for bad days when I need a good laugh.

"I'm looking for an old-fashioned screw." Sean Madigan knew he was in trouble as soon as the words were out of his mouth.

Desert Blood, 10pm/9c. This very well could be the world's first YA Hispanic Mystery novel, I don't know. When I picked it up and read the back, I immediately categorized it as one and dismissed it. But it kept showing up at our local writers' group meetings, so I eventually picked it up and started reading. Twelve pages later, people were calling my name. "DeAnna...DeAnna...it's time for your critiques. Are you ready?" Wha?

So when I met Ron Cree at the conference, I told him I planned to pick up the book, because I kept reading it when I saw it. He handed me over a copy, which totally floored me. Look, it's the first time this kind of thing has happened to me, all right?

--But enough about how I got the book.

When the famous Nick Hernandez, star of the hit police action show Desert Blood, adopted Gus Gonzalez a couple of years ago, everybody said his career was going to tank. It certainly opened the door for even more nasty tabloid action than he'd had to face before. But now someone's making threats against Nick and Gus, and Gus is having trouble sorting through all the plots and lies around him to find out who's out to get him.

I have to say, I successfully did not suspect Gus. I suspected everyone else, and I had no idea who was guilty until the end. I finished the book in one straight sitting, too -- just as soon as I thought about putting it down, there'd be another hook to pull me along.

In big, bold letters, the front-page tabloid headline announced that I'd been abducted by aliens: HERNANDEZ HEARTBREAK! ADOPTED SON TAKEN CAPTIVE ABOARD FLYING SAUCER...

I was sitting on the edge of my bed, scanning the details of my unfortunate abduction and wondering at the same time if I had a clean shirt to wear.

Azu Manga Daioh. I've read all the individual manga, but this is the first time I've READ THEM ALL IN ORDER! Squee! The girls of a Japanese high school face all the challenges life can throw at them, including an alcoholic, sadistic teacher whose only saving grace is her apathy; vicious cats; a child genius; a perv teacher; chopstics; and my favorite--hiccups. The same author as Yotsuba&!, another brilliant work of utter brillianceness.

Hell House. Another one-sitting book about the worst haunted house ever. Spoooky. Not perfect, but very nearly so. I read the first few pages, was hooked, realized I was hooked, and asked myself how the hell I'd been sucked in so fast. So I backed up and noticed the first sentence:

It had been raining hard since five o'clock that morning. Brontean weather, Dr. Barrett thought. He repressed a smile. He felt rather like a character in some latter-day Gothic romance. The driving rain, the cold, the two-hour ride form Manhattan in one of Deutsch's long black leather-upholstered limousines. The interminable wait in this corridor while disconcerted-looking men and women hurried in and out of Deutsch's bedroom, glancing at him occasionally.

Yes, that's right. Mr. Matheson had the incredible chutzpah to start his story with "It was a dark and rainy night..."