Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Cinda Williams Chima, Nikki Heat

Another eclectic grouping for the past couple of weeks.

1. Cinda Williams Chima, the Wizard Heir. I think Chima is one of my favorite author discoveries of recent months. I've read five of her books, and none of them have been disappointing. In this one, Seph (short for Joseph) McCauley has been shipped to yet another boarding school following the death three years earlier of his guardian. Only this school is different. The headmaster doesn't seem alarmed that Seph can do things--instead he seems to welcome it. That is, until he discovers that he can't bend Seph to his will, as he has all the other wizards who've fallen into the school's trap. Seph has to figure out how to get out of the school--and how to stop the headmaster. This is a companion novel to Warrior Heir, so while characters from Warrior Heir show up, I think it can also be read and enjoyed without having read the earlier book.

2. Jessica Warman, Between. It's hard to say much about the plot of this book without spoiling the first big surprise. On the morning of her eighteenth birthday, popular girl Elizabeth Valchar wakes up on her parents' boat after a night of partying and goes to investigate a thumping noise--something is trapped between the dock and the hull of the boat. What she discovers there shocks her, and sends her on a journey to solve a mystery that changes the way she sees herself and her friends. I liked this one, but I didn't love it. The writing was solid, but I had a hard time liking Elizabeth, particularly at first.

3. Richard Castle, Naked Heat. (Okay, so I know that Castle didn't really write this--I assume one of the show's writers, or several of them, wrote this). I'm a big fan of the TV show castle, so I thought I'd check this out. This is the second in the series, and I haven't read the first one yet (this one was available first), so that may affect my opinion. This was an other book I liked but didn't love. I enjoyed the nod to the show (especially the Acknowledgements, which purport to be written by the real Richard Castle) and the thinly disguised characters. I also enjoyed the mystery and the police procedural angle. But I wasn't in love with the characters--they didn't seem as fleshed out (ironically enough) as the actual characters on the show. I couldn't get into Nikki Heat's head at all. And Jameson Rook, the tag-along writer character, wasn't nearly as charming as Nathan Fillion (who is, after all, the main reason I watch the show).

I also read some Nora Roberts because I was curious about her writing style and wide popularity. I get the popularity: she's a decent writer and the stories have interesting characters. The books, however, have too much sex for my taste and I probably wouldn't recommend them to most of my friends, so I'm not going to bother with a more in-depth review.

I'm also reading Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, which is fascinating and wrenching, and will have a full review of that in the next week or so.

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