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review 2017-07-25 20:17
The Curse of the Kings / Victoria Holt
The Curse of the Kings - Victoria Holt

For centuries the tombs of the Pharaohs were haunted by a deadly curse. And when two eminent archaeologists have died mysteriously, Judith Osmond was certain that it was the curse at work. Then, overnight, her life changed.

There was an unexpected inheritance. Then Tybalt, a young archaeologist and the man she adored, asked her to marry him. But Tybalt planned a honeymoon amid the tombs of the Pharaohs, and suddenly it looked as if the curse of the kings had come to haunt Judith . . .

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List ***

I really enjoyed Victoria Holt’s books when I was in my teens. Re-reading them as a mature adult has been a bit disappointing. Having always had a bit of thing for Ancient Egypt, I recall being enchanted by The Curse of the Kings. Unfortunately, having just recently read The Lord of the Far Island, I can now see far too clearly how formulaic Holt’s romances were.

The main character is an orphan, she gets her education as a fortunate extra with the children of the gentry, she’s beautiful & spirited, and she gets miraculously saved from a desperate life as a lady’s companion by snagging the man intended for the well-born gal. Still, there is a slightly older, beautiful woman who seems like she might be competition for the husband’s interest and there are mysterious goings-on.

I think my main beef with this book is Judith’s education. The reader is told repeatedly how she has read ever so many books on archaeology and Ancient Egypt, and yet there is her new husband explaining tomb paintings to her, pointing out Anubis and Amun, as if she has never seen a book before and she acting like it’s all brand new!

And I had never realized before how undemonstrative Tybalt is! I associate the name Tybalt with fiery passion, so it seems strange to have this cold man share the name.

Perhaps I should have let sleeping dogs lie, but I have another of Holt’s books out of the public library, which I will likely read.

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review 2017-07-25 20:15
Undead and Unwed / MaryJanice Davidson
Undead and Unwed - MaryJanice Davidson

It's been a helluva week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, to top things off, she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can't seem to stay dead. Every night she rises with a horrible craving for blood. She's not taking too well to a liquid diet.

Worst of all, her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious, power-hungry vampire in five centuries - a badly dressed Bela Lugosi wannabe, natch. Frankly, Betsy couldn't care less about vamp politics, but they have a powerful weapon of persuasion: designer shoes. How can any self-respecting girl say no? But a collection of Ferragamos isn't the only temptation for Betsy. It's just a lot safer than the scrumptious Sinclair - a seductive bloodsucker whose sexy gaze seems as dangerous as a stake through the heart...

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List ***

Before there was Molly Harper’s Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs there was MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead and unwed. They feel somewhat related, but although I really enjoy Harper’s fiction, I think I have had enough of Davidson’s. The difference, for me, is in the main character. I can relate to Jane Jameson (Harper)—she’s educated, she’s a librarian/bookstore owner, she’s snarky and sometimes a bit neurotic, but always basically good-hearted. Betsy Taylor (Davidson) is another kind of woman entirely—she’s shallow, uneducated, unfocused, mouthy, selfish, and seemingly completely motivated by designer shoes. I’m sure there’s a target-market for Betsy out there somewhere, I’m just not it.

It’s not that she doesn’t get some good lines, like “I was the Queen who brought all the tribes together, who ruled them as one. Like the Speaker of the House, only way more blood thirsty. More Book of the Dead crap, which Tina had been reading to me all night. It was like attending Bible school in hell.” Or when she first meets Eric Sinclair, “His shoes were—whoa! Where those Ferragamos? It was a rare and wonderful thing to see a properly shod man in an underground mausoleum.”

The “humour” missed its mark for me as often as it hit. I felt the author was trying too hard. But, as I have often stated in my reviews, my comprehension of humour in print is challenged. I had to order this volume via interlibrary loan in order to read it, making feel that I had to finish the book to justify ordering it from another part of the province. I shan’t bother with further volumes.

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review 2017-07-24 20:05
Dark Prince / Christine Feehan
Dark Prince - Christine Feehan

***2017 Summer Lovin' Reading List***

Not my cuppa tea, your mileage may vary. It does provide a unique spin on the vampire mythos. There are two forms, the virtuous Carpathian and the corrupt vampire. When a Carpathian goes bad, he or she becomes a vampire. Their problem? Hardly any Carpathian females and those who still exist seem to have only male children. Without a life-mate, the Carpathian men are eventually reduced to a state where they can't see colour, can't experience much emotion, and can hardly avoid going vamp.

And that right there was my biggest issue with the whole book. It is entirely driven by male sexual needs and women are ultimately responsible for containing them. There isn't a sympathetic male character in the whole book! Well, I guess there is the priest who was a decent man but all the other human men are criminal, abusive, or teetering on the edge of violence. All the Carpathian men are arrogant assholes--controlling, condescending, seemingly unable to listen to anyone, even each other. (And how creepy is it that all these hundreds-of-years-old men are now standing around staring at Raven's belly, wondering when she is going to produce a girl child that they can perhaps claim as a life-mate?)

My other problem? Raven herself. For someone who thinks she's smart, she does nothing to prove it. She's smart enough to escape from the "protections" that Mikhail has constructed for her, but then goes wandering off into the woods, barefoot and half-naked. Both Raven & Mikhail go on and on about love and trust, but their behaviour says that there isn't all that much trust.

I respect the folks who love this series, though. The whole life-mate concept, while seeming claustrophobic to me, might seems tempting to those who would like to be sure about their relationships. We live in a world of 50% divorce rates--how nice would it be for everything to click magically into place when we meet a magical life-mate? No doubts, no regrets.

Not every book is for everyone, and I am done with this series. My TBR list is too long to waste valuable reading time on books that make me roll my eyes this violently.

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review 2017-07-24 20:02
Guilty Pleasures / Laurell K. Hamilton
Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton

***2017 Summer Lovin' Reading List***

Another title in what seems to be morphing into my Summer Vampire Reading List. I liked this one and will probably read on, at least for another book or two, in the series.

These are old-school vampires, susceptible to both crosses and holy water, something fairly uncommon in current urban fantasy. Anita knows that she is opposing evil, not just being prejudiced against a new segment of society.

There was also, I thought, a nod to Anne Rice's vampires, specifically Claudia. The biggest, baddest vamp in Anita's town is actually a 1000 year old little girl!

I'm not exactly sure why, but Anita reminds me of Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock. I think it may be a matter of kickass attitude, but Jane is much more comfortable working for and around the undead than Anita.

Anita needs a woman friend right away!! She can't continue to lean on the psychopathic Edward (although I must admit that he has a treasure-trove of weapons, making him a handy kind of guy to know. If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy). Anita also has an unexplained talent for resisting vampire glamour which I will be interested to learn more about. Plus its pretty obvious that Anita is riding for a fall when she declares, "I don't date vampires, I kill them." I predict she'll be dating one in the next book.

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review 2017-07-23 15:07
A Buzzard and a Bunch of Loons
Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon - Donna Andrews

The Buzzard is a real buzzard saved from a dog and lost a wing and is now cared for at the offices of the Mutant Wizards. The loons, they are the group of people who work in the offices of the Mutant Wizards. Meg is helping her brother out at the offices of the Mutant Wizards, the company he created to market and develop his game (Lawyers from Hell). He feels that something is not right and asks her to come help him. She agrees as she is recuperating from a Blacksmithing accident that broke her hand. Her official title is "Office Manager," but she is answering the switchboard, trying to find someone that will come in and work the switchboard and find out what is happening in the company. 

 

The buzzard is named George and sits up in the front with Meg and she is the only one who feeds and cares for him. The staff bring their dogs to work and play pranks all while working on version 2 of the game and developing other games with different specialties (Doctors, Psychotherapists, Police, etc). Outside there is a Veterinarian who is trying to catch a pregnant feral cat and then begins to come into the office to try and liberate the one winged buzzard. 

 

Ted, is a programmer, who takes credit for work he doesn't do and plays pranks and blackmails others. One day he decides to pretend he has been stabbed while riding around on the mail cart and when he is finally murdered, no one notices until he ends up back at Meg's desk. She now has to find out who really killed Ted and save her brother and one of his employees from being arrested for the murder. 

 

There are a lot of moments where you just have to laugh at the antics. I find many of the things hard to believe actually happening, but that doesn't stop it from being funny. 

 

 

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