Sunday, January 16, 2000

2016 FOs

1. Green Mock Aran Hat
2. Lichen Socks
3. Red Preemie Hat- Plain
4. Red Preemie Hat- Curled Brim
5. Red Preemie Hat- Cabled
6. Red Preemie Hat- Colorwork
7. Blue Skies Scarf
8. Gray red mittens (age 4)
9. Red yellow mittens (age 6)
10. Gray/dark red mittens (age 4)
11. Red/dark red mittens (age 8)
12. Yellow/orange mittens (age 6)
13. Red mittens (age 4)
14. Aidan's Tomten Jacket
15. Navy mittens (age 6)
16. Undine Blue socks
17. Chevron Blue socks
18. Berlin Souvenir Socks
19. Navy gray mittens (age 6)
20. Cotton candy mittens (age 10)
21. Linen stitch scrap scarf
22, 23. Autumn mittens (age 6)
24. Red/white ribbed hat
25. Beige/red mittens (age 4)
26. Autumn mittens (age 4)
27. Red/white colorwork hat
28. Squishy brown scarf
29. Navy fingerless mitts
30. Teal/leopard socks

Saturday, January 15, 2000

2017 Book Reviews

The annual book list/review list:

128.  A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava

127.  Games Without Rules: The Often-Interrupted History of Afghanistan by Tamim Ansary
I listened to the audiobook version of this, and found it compelling, not just for the clear and sensitive exploration of the country's history, but for the author's calm and sometimes wry reading of the text.  His sympathies lie with his Afghan countrymen, but he is evenhanded in his narration of the events that led to the situation as it stood at the end of 2012. (The book was published in 2013.)  At the end of the book, I felt that I understood much more about the country than I would have expected I could.  I highly recommend this for anyone interested in the subject.

126.  Split Second by Alex Kava
125.  Secrets in Death by J.D.Robb
124. Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin
123.  Thread of Fear by Laura Griffin

122. The Gathering Edge by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

121.  Give the Devil His Due by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco
120.  Fool Me Once by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco

119.  On the Fringe by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
118.  Where Have all the Birdies Gone by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

117.  Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose

116. Shattered by Allison Brennan

115.  The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks and Tinker Lindsay

114.  Confluence by S.K. Dunstall

Rereads:
Nasty Breaks by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
Rotten Lies by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
A Wicked Slice by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
Alliance by S.K. Dunstall
Linesman by S.K. Dunstall
The Borrowed Alibi by Leslie Egan
Run to Evil by Leslie Egan
Detective's Due by Leslie Egan
The Nameless Ones by Leslie Egain

113.  At Close Range by Laura Griffin
112.  Deep Dark by Laura Griffin
111.  The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
110. Let the Devil Sleep by John Verdon

109. First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher
This is the 6th and last in the series.  Much of the series I listened to on audio book, and I highly recommend the reader, Kate Reading, who was outstanding. Unlike many fantasy series, this series becomes more impressive as it progresses, and the complexity and craftsmanship of the plotting becomes evident. While it doesn't break any radically new ground, it mixes a leavening of original ideas into well-trodden themes, and progresses smoothly and entertainingly to a rousing and satisfyingly dramatic finish, deftly managing multiple subplots and threads. Thoroughly enjoyable.

108.  White Magic Five and Dime by Lisa Falco and Steve Hockensmith
107. Shadow Fall by Laura Griffin
106. Beyond Limits by Laura Griffin

105.  The Delirium Brief by Charles Stross
In the latest entry in Stross' Laundry series, things go ever more inexorably pear shaped.  Fans of the series will enjoy it, newcomers are strongly advised to start at the beginning of the series.   This book more than most is dependent on the reader having followed the events of the last three or four books.

Rereads:
Murder in the Queen's Armes by Aaron Elkins
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

104.  Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher
103.  In Seconds by Brenda Novak
102.  Shut Your Eyes Tight by John Verdon
101.  Force of Nature by C.J. Box
100.  The Devil's Triangle by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison
99.  The Kill Box by Nichole Christoff
98.  Think of a Number by John Verdon
97.  Exposed by Laura Griffin
96.  Scorched by Laura Griffin
95.  Twisted by Laura Griffin
94.  The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
93.  The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
92.  Snapped by Laura Griffin
91.  A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
90.  Unforgivable by Laura Griffin
89.  Unspeakable by Laura Griffin
88.  A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
87.  The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths
86.  The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
85.  Two to Die for by Allison Brennan
84.  Blood Stained by C.J. Lyons
83.  Far Gone by Laura Griffin
82.  The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
Very atmospheric and a lovely setting, but the mystery was weak.  The book winds its way from one incident to another until the protagonist notices the clue (the only one), which doesn't even connect to the murder, and then stumbles over the improbable truth by accident.

81.  Snake Skin by C.J. Lyons
80.  The Kill Shot by Nichole Christoff
79.  Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey
78.  Untraceable by Laura Griffin
77.  Drained by E.H. Reinhard
76.  The Four Legendary Kingdoms by Matthew Reilly
75.  Cold Wind by C.J. Box
74.  The First Shot by E. H. Reinhard
73.  Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
72.  Hide Your Eyes by Allison Gaylin
71.  Man of Wax by Robert Swartwood
70.  A Dedicated Man by Peter Robinson
69. The Kill List by Nichole Christoff
68. Nowhere to Run by C.J. Box
67. Exposed by C.J. Carmichael
66. Forgotten by C.J. Carmichael

65.  The Human Blend by Alan Dean Foster
Lots of action instead of a plot.  It took half the book for the two main characters to meet.  And then it ended without resolving anything.  Very disappointing.

64.  Buried by C.J. Carmichael
63.  Below Zero by C.J. Box
62.  The Lost Girls by Allison Brennan
61.  Blood Trail by C.J. Box
60.  Free Fire by C.J. Box
59.  A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
58.  Red Line by Brian Thiem
57.  The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen
56.  Make Them Pay by Allison Brennan
55.  Hungry Ghosts by Stephen Blackmoore
54.  Murder in All Honour by Anne Cleeland
53.  The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin
52.  All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison
51.  Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher
50.  In Plain Sight by C.J.Box
49.  We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicky Delany
48.  Crash and Burn by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
47.  The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty
46.  Murder in the River City by Allison Brennan
45.  Maximum Exposure by Allison Brennan
44.  Broken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore
43.  Cursor's Fury by Jim Butcher
42.  Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher
41.  Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
40.  Playing Dead by Allison Brennan
39.  Every Dark Corner by Karen Rose
38.  Echos in Death by J.D. Robb
37.  Poisonous by Allison Brennan
36.  Tempting Fear by Allison Brennan
35.  Cutting Edge by Allison Brennan
34.  Fatal Secrets by Allison Brennan
33.  Getting Things Done by David Allen

32.  Night Drive by Garnet Rogers
A more or less chronological series of reminiscences about Garnet's life on the road as a folk musician with his brother Stan Rogers in the 70s. It's a fascinating look at the folk scene for any fan, and in turns nostalgic, sad and hysterically funny.

31.  Pulse by Celina Grace
30.  Time of Death by Lucy Kerr
29.  Trophy Hunt by C.J. Box
28.  The Kill by Allison Brennan
27. The Organized Mind by Daniel Levitin
26.  Killing Fear by Allison Brennan
25. Kiss Me, Kill Me by Allison Brennan
24. Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan
23. See No Evil by Allison Brennan
22. Joy by Celina Grace
21. Sanctuary by Celina Grace
20. Creed by Celina Grace
19. No Good Deed by Allison Brennan
18. Echo by Celina Grace
17. Mirror Image by Dennis Palumbo
16. Chimera by Celina Grace
15. Snarl by Celina Grace
14. Imago by Celina Grace
13. Requiem by Celina Grace
12. Hushabye by Celina Grace
11. Black and Blue by Emma Jameson
10. Winterkill by C.J. Box
9.  Night Watch by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen
8.  Isle of Glass by Nora Roberts
7.  Invisible by James Patterson and David Ellis
6.  Something Blue by Emma Jameson
5.  Blue Murder by Emma Jameson
4.  Ice Blue by Emma Jameson
3.  Compulsion by Allison Brennan
2.  Killfile by Christopher Farnsworth
1.  Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore

Friday, January 14, 2000

2016 Book Reviews

Once again, I set out to review at least some of what I read.  We'll see how it goes.

71.  Crosstalk by Connie Willis
This was mildly entertaining but very slight.  Connie Willis has a habit of writing characters who see the world as a hopeless muddle, in which they are helpless to resist events.  This worked brilliantly in To Say Nothing of the Dog, which blended screwball comedy with deeper themes.  This book mostly fails to deal with the more serious issues, the conflicts are contrived, and the resolution is a deus ex machina.  Die-hard Willis fans will probably like it anyway.  More critical readers will find it disappointing.  I enjoyed it on a popcorn level, but wished that it tackled more challenging questions.

70.  All the Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

69.  The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future by Gretchen Bakke-
An anthropologist looks at the state of the modern American electrical system, how we got here, what's wrong with it, and what may happen next.  She gives a good explanation of the technical, regulatory and business issues, and along the way explains a lot of the not-very-well-known quirks of our system.  A good read for anyone interested in knowing how things work, as well as gaining more insight into a system in the throes of change.

68.  Best Laid Plans by Allison Brennan

67.  Heat Wave by Allison Brennan

66.  Cold Snap by Allison Brennan

65.  Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

64.  Stolen by Allison Brennan

63.  The Hunt by Allison Brennan

62.  Bullseye by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

61.  Stalked by Allison Brennan

60.  Timeless by Gail Carriger

59.  Silenced by Allison Brennan

58.  The Three Monarchs by Anthony Horowitz (short story)

57.  Savage Run by C.J. Box

56.  Murder in Containment by Anne Cleeland

55. Fluid by Alex Hughes
54. Temper by Alex Hughes
53.  Payoff by Alex Hughes
52.  Rabbit Trick by Alex Hughes
Short fiction in the Mindspace Investigations SF mystery series.  Start with "Clean".

51.  Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance by Jane Gleeson-White

50.  Open Season by C.J. Box

49.  If I Should Die by Allison Brennan

48.  Kiss Me, Kill Me by Allison Brennan

47.  Love is Murder by Allison Brennan

46.  Love Me to Death by Allison Brennan

45.  A Cold White Sun by Vicky Delany

44.  Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

43.  The Magicians by Lev Grossman

42.  Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicky Delany

41.  Dead Wake by Erik Larsen

40.  Mark of the Cat by Andre Norton

39.  The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross

38.  Alliance of Equals by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee

37.  A Murder in Time by Julie McElwain

36.  The Art Whisperer by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

35.  A Cruise to Die For by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

34.  Switcheroo by Aaron Elkins

33.  Heartless by Gail Carriger

32.  Night Road by Brendan Dubois
I found it very hard to identify with the characters in this one- they were in general paranoid and anti-government and engaged in criminal activities which they justified by blaming the government for not making the world better for them.  The book was itself well written and plotted- even if I couldn't really buy the less-bad group of criminals as heroic.  I expect people who sympathize with the politics would like it better than I did.

31.  The Pawn by Steven James

30.  Private: LA by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (audiobook)

29.  A Deeper Darkness by J.T. Ellison

28.  Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

27.  Burned by Benedict Jacka

26.  The Obsession by Nora Roberts
This one suffered by taking half the book for the villain to show up.  But pleasant characters and a very cool house were mildly enjoyable.

25.  Antarctica, an Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent by Gabrielle Walker
The author traveled around the continent, visiting a number of the different research stations and talking to residents about life and doing science in Antarctica.    She touches on the history for context, but the focus is on what we're learning about Antarctica today.  Interesting, though the date of publication (2013) and length of time it took to write mean that some of the science is old news.  But still very interesting, and plenty of it new to me.  Toward the end, I felt like there was more filler- I could have done with less emoting on the vastness of it all, and more science.  But still, overall a fascinating read about a part of the world I am unlikely to ever visit.

24.  Silence by Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin-
I found the plot thin and the characters flat.  When I approach the climax and question whether I should bother finishing the book?  Not a good sign.

23.  Crewel World by Monica Ferris

22.  False Positive by Andrew Grant
Fast paced and plotty but skeletal- if only I could have crossed it with the last book, they might both have been more satisfying.

21.  Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
As a longtime fan of the series, I was very disappointed by the latest entry.   Background, conversation and reminiscences litter the Sergyaran landscape in gelatinous invertebrate disarray, dying for want to a plot to hang them on.   From time to time the author teases us- the city by the volcano! Undiscovered species on a new world!  Cetagandans!  Crooked contractors!  Discontented civic leaders!  Teenagers with poor judgment! - and yet none of these ever turns into a conflict that might have made this book something more than a protracted epilogue to the Vorkosigan saga.

20.  Bloodline by Felix Francis
The best of Felix's work that I've read to date, this is a workmanlike effort, with much of the feel of his father's novels.  Although the character was only moderately appealing, the race-calling background was interesting and relevant, and the plot moved along briskly.

19.  Uprooted by Naomi Novik

18. Private Down Under by James Patterson and Michael White (audiobook)

17. Unrelenting by Mike Shephert

16. Tenacious by Mike Shepherd

15.  A Call to Arms by David Weber, Timothy Zahn with Thomas Pope.

14.  NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

13.  Drawing Conclusions by Deirdre Verne

12.  The Aztec Code by Stephen Cole

11.  Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews
Another charming entry in the Meg Langslow mystery series.

10.  Touch by David J. Linden
A fascinating non-fiction book on our sense of touch, which turns out to be way more complex and less well understood than I had dreamed.   The author presents complex phenomena without dumbing it down.  Non-biologists like myself will have to work to follow the more technical bits, but I don't consider that a bad thing.   And there is plenty here even for the people who are not inclined to try and understand the biochemistry.

9.  Alone in the Dark by Karen Rose

8.  Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb
Another enjoyable procedural.

7.  When Shadows Fall by J.T. Ellison

6.  The End Game by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison
Another over-the-top thriller.  Fun but the technical implausibility of the McGuffin tended to throw me out of the story.

5.  Winter of Secrets by Vicki Delany
4.  Valley of the Lost by Vicki Delany
3.  In the Shadow of the Glacier by Vicki Delany

2.  Migritude by Shailja Patel

1.  Waking the Dead by Kylie Brant
A mostly undistinguished thriller, though it does have the virtue of a heroine who doesn't need to be rescued.


Thursday, January 13, 2000

2015 FOs

21. Autumn Sagittarius socks
20. Oriel Gothic socks
19. Pink striped socks
18. Shelf for work
17. Draft protector for Mike
16. Sara's Vest
15. Slip Stitch Rib Red Socks
14. Adult red/black mittens
13. Rust/white mittens (age 4)
12. Adult blue mittens
11. Red/white hat (small)
10. Beige curtains shortened.
9. Vari-blue/tan mittens (age 6)
8. Beige/rust mittens (age 8)
7. Green/beige mittens (age 8)
6. Adult blue mittens
5. Cell phone cozy
4. Aqua mitten (Age 8)
3. Multi-blue mittens (Age 4)
2. Multi-blue mittens (Age 6)
1. Serenity plain socks

Wednesday, January 12, 2000

2014 F0s

51. Trossachs Socks
50. Blue/pastel mittens (age 2)
49. Cranberry Nutkin socks
48. Noro Silk Garden shawl
47. Green/black colorwork hat
46. Pink/pastel mittens (age 6)
45. Blue/black mittens (age 6)
44. Teal/aqua mittens (age 4)
43. Blue/teal mittens (age 4)
42. Pale blue mittens (age 8)
41. Green/black colorwork hat
40. Blue/pastel striped mittens (age 4)
39. Gray/red/navy colorwork hat
38. Pastel mittens (age 4)
37. Yellow/beige mittens (age 4)
36. Red/orange mittens (age 4)
35. Blue/white mittens (age 8)
34. Pale green mittens (age 6)
33. Green/white mittens (age 6)
32. Lavendar/white mittens (age 8)
31. Lavendar mittens (age 2)
29.&30. Green mittens (age 2)
28. Fluffy garter scarf
27. Chunky Unoriginalish hat
26. Chunky Thorpe hat
25. Chunky slouchy hat
24. Chunky plain hat
23. Noro Easy Shawl
22. Cranberry Nutkin socks
21. Neon vacation socks
20. Navy mittens (age 2)
19. D'Artagnon socks
18. Blue mittens (age 4)
17. Orange mittens (age 6)
16. Orange mittens (age 4)
15. Oriel Sunrise socks
14. Rainbow socks
13. Harvest Leaf Cowl
12. Red socks
11. Tile bag
10. Violet silk scarf
9. Jungle Green Socks
8. Rose Petite Socks
7. Sweater with crossover shawl collar
6. Door hardware refurb *DLP
5. Serenity Rose Socks
4. Dice bag
3. Nook bag
2. Orange mittens (age 6)
1. Panda Sagittarius Socks
*Department of Lost Projects

Tuesday, January 11, 2000

2015 Book List

Last year I was pretty lousy at even writing down what I was reading, let alone reviewing it.  Here's hoping that I'm a bit better organized in 2015.  (August- it was a forlorn hope.)

56.  An Ancient Peace by Tanya Huff

55.  Dark Truth by Mariah Stewart

54.  Fearless by Elliot James

53.  The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

52.  The Angel Maker by Ridley Pearson

51.  Daring by Elliot James

50.  The End of All Things by John Scalzi

49.  The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman

48.  The Diviners by Libba Bray (audiobook)
If you read the blurb, you'll think that this is a YA urban fantasy set in 1920s Manhattan.  That's about a third of it.  Another third is a leisurely exploration of What Was It Like in 1920s Manhattan.  The remaining third is Atmospheric Signs and Portents setting up for some other book.    The leisurely (to put it mildly) pace of this book was not without charm, but overall it purely cried out for severe editing.  I had to wade through a substantial part of the book getting only occasional glimpses of Plot, before it finally developed.  The A plot was interspersed with largely irrelevant chunks of B, C and D plots (presumably setup for some other story).  And then you get about 10 chapters of book remaining after the big climax.

Having said that- the historical aspects of it are probably a lot more interesting to a young reader than the typical history class treatment of the period.  And as an audiobook, even the most leisurely passages were made vastly more entertaining by outstanding vocal talents of the reader, January LaVoy.  I give the book a B for concept, C for execution and A++ for the audio performance.

47. Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
A pleasantly entertaining urban fantasy by-the-numbers.

46. Killer Summer by Ridley Pearson
45. Killer View by Ridley Pearson
44. Killer Weekend by Ridley Pearson

43. Storm Born by Richelle Mead

42. Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb

41. Bones on Ice by Kathy Reichs

40.  Linesman by S.K. Dunstall

39.  The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews

38.  Alert by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

37.  A Liaden Universe Constellation III by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

36.  Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

35.  A Murder of Mages by Marshall Ryan Maresca

34.  A Good Way to Go by Peter Helton
33. Four Below by Peter Helton
These are #2 and #3 in the Liam McLusky series.  Much like the first, but alas lacking that extra touch of cleverness in the plot that made the first book memorable.

32. The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross
Latest in the Laundry series (HP Lovecraft meets Ian Fleming)- start at the beginning of the series.

31. Perfect Touch by Elizabeth Lowell

30.  Nemesis by Catherine Coulter

29. Sympathy for the Devil by Terence Macauley
This is a thriller with the main character working working for a secret non-government organization that uses dubious means to fight the enemies of civilization.   A rather unsophisticated setup which was not redeemed by a sympathetic or personable main character, at least for me.

28.  The Story of the Human Body- Health, Evolution and Disease by Daniel Lieberman
This book splits into two parts- the first the evolution of humans and a survey of current thinking as to the environmental forces that shaped our physiology, and the second an exploration of how that physiology does and does not cope with modern conditions.  I liked this for its willingness to embrace complexity but it might be challenging for those lacking in a good general science background.  One of the more striking points was the interaction of culture and physiology.

27.  Haunted by Kay Hooper

26.  A Liaden Universe Constellation I and II by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

25.  Blameless by Gail Carriger
24.  Changeless by Gail Carriger
23.  Soulless by Gail Carriger
Victorian mannerist novels meet steampunk fantasy, with a humorous touch.

22.  Trade Secret by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Sequel to Balance of Trade, which should be read first.

21.  Rust: the Longest War by Jonathan Waldman
An interesting look at largely neglected topic of corrosion, and the ways we deal- or fail to deal- with it in modern life.

20.  Falling More Slowly by Peter Helton
An evocative police procedural set in Bristol England, this was very enjoyable.  The main character walks a fine line between screwup and jerk, but manages to stay on the humorous side of it.  The investigation is pleasantly complicated, and loaded with clues that result at the end in that 'ahah!' when the crime is finally solved.  Definitely an author I'm going to read more of.

19.  Devil's Plaything by Matt Richtel
A very disappointing thriller; too much of the book involves wading through the memories of a character with dementia, whose big secret turns out to be not that big and not related to the main plot at all.  And the main plot turned out to be fairly unconvincing.  Too many flaws for even the likable main character to salvage.

18.  The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata
This one is military SF with thriller elements.  Enjoyable- I've got the sequel on pre-order.

17.  Murder in Hindsight by Anne Cleeland
This fell down considerably on the mystery of the title- the culprit was obvious to the reader long before the detective clued in.  The slow unfolding of the multi-story B-plot continues, however, though little is resolved.  I'm mildly enjoying it, but it's not going to satisfy classic mystery fans, and due to the multi-story plot it definitely should not be read out of order.

16.  Locked In by John Scalzi
An excellent SF/mystery read from Scalzi.  The eventual plot could have been trickier, but it was a good ride.

15.  Live to See Tomorrow by Iris Johannsen (audiobook)
Much of a muchness with her other books.   Though I like this main character less than some of her others.

14.  The Lost Key by Catherine Coulter
Way, way over the top, to the point of silly.  It would make a good (silly) action movie- lots of explosions, fights, chases and a really improbable plot.  This is the second book in a series, so go in order.

13.  London Falling by Paul Cornell
Genre books can often fall into the trap of having the same look and feel as all the other genre books of their type.  This isn't one of those- while clearly urban fantasy, it's got a very different feel than most.  Think Ian Rankin meets Susanna Clarke, only set in London. (For those not familiar, Rankin writes gritty police procedurals while Clarke does beautifully written atmospheric fantasy set in Britain.)  This book had flaws- it starts slowly, and I didn't love the main characters.  But I liked them better at the end of the book than at the start, and the book steers a neat course between its police procedural and fantasy elements, without falling down on either.   It's clearly intended as the first in a series.  I'll be interested to see how the author manages the balancing act in a sequel.

12.  Midnight Crossroads by Charlaine Harris
If you go into this expecting a murder mystery, you're going to be disappointed, despite the dead body that turns up early in the book.  Both the body and the main character exist principally to facilitate the introduction to the odd and secretive community of Midnight.   In fact, had the main character not been in the book at all, very little would have changed in the events that followed- nothing he does makes any real difference to the outcome of events.   That having been said, Harris has previously demonstrated slowly unfolding threads through multiple books, and it was nice to see a couple of minor characters from her Harper Connelly and Shakespeare series coming back as main characters.  And the community of Midnight was sufficiently interesting that I will likely check out the next book.  It would be nice if the next one had an actual plot, however, with an opportunity for the actions of the main characters to affect the outcome.

11.  Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb
If you like the series, you'll like this one.  If you haven't read the series, start at the beginning.

10.  The Good, the Bad and the Emus by Donna Andrews
I love this series.  Once again, we get murder served with a generous side of screwball comedy.  And emus.

9.  Spell Blind by David B. Coe-  A competent if undistinguished entry into the annals of urban fantasy detective stories.

8.  Love Me if You Must by Nicole Young
This was annoying.  When the resolution is the main character finally digging up the body in her basement that she has been convinced was there from the first chapter of the book, you've got a problem with the plot.

7.  Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose
Enjoyable, but formulaic to faithful readers.

6.  Bonnie by Iris Johansen
5. Quinn by Iris Johansen
4.  Eve by Iris Johansen
These three books should be read together, as they are not just a trilogy but the first two end in cliffhangers.  I wouldn't start the series here, but these provided a satisfying and interestingly non-obvious answer to the unresolved question of Bonnie's fate.  (The missing Bonnie has been a plot element in the series from book 1.)

3.  Silent Fall by Barbara Freethy

2.  The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Having recently read the making-of and seen the movie again, my husband urged me to go back and read the original book.  Not surprisingly, the movie did it justice (the screenplay having been written by the author), but the fictional framing story and asides about S. Morgenstern lent additional charm. It's a story about a story about a story that also satirizes fairy tales and storytelling generally- while still celebrating their power.  It's no wonder that the critics didn't know what to make of the movie- and that the readers and viewers loved it.

1.  As You Wish:  Inconceivable Tales From the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

I'm not really into reading about the making of movies, but this was a charming and warmly affectionate account of the making of a wonderful story.    Not least because several of the people involved were fans of the book.  The screenplay was written by William Goldman, the original book's author, and there was an almost unprecedented level of commitment to remaining true to the original throughout the production.   A short but fun read for any fan of the movie.  Though I warn you- when you're done, you'll want to watch the movie again.  I know I do.

2013 FOs

67. Child slippers
66. Black striped bulky hat
65. Sagattarius socks
65. Augusta socks
64. Glove liners
63. Couch cushions
62. Plain slouchy hat
61 Blue/tan mittens (adult)
60. Orange mittens (age 12)
59. Yellow/white bulky hat
58. Green bulky hat
57. Red bulky hat
56. Yellow unoriginal hat
55. Fetching mitts
54. Blue stripe mittens (age 4)
53. Blue diagonal hat
52. Cotton summer socks
51. Blue diamond hat v.2
50. Blue striped mittens (age 2)
49. Teal mittens (age 6)
48. Green checkerboard scarf
47. Green cable-brim hat
46. Green mittens (age 12)
45. Lavender colorwork mittens (age 6)
44. Lavender colorwork hat
43. Blue on blue mittens (age 6)
42. Blue on blue mittens (age 4)
41. Blue diamond hat
40. Blue/yellow fox and geese hat
39. Red, white and blue fox and geese hat
38. Blue cotton bag
37. Garter square afghan
36. Blue watch cap
35. Navy mittens (age 4)
34. Rainbow mittens (age 4)
33. Rainbow mittens (age 6)
32. Multi-lavender mittens (age 4)
31. Lavender mittens (age 6)
30. Turquoise mittens (age 6)
29. Turquoise mittens (age 8)
28. Blue colorwork hat
27. Blue/cream crochet bag
26. Pink/tan mittens (age 4)
25. Red washcloth
24. South coast socks
23. Crocheted headband
22. Red/cream crochet bag
21. White washcloth #3
20. White washcloth #2
19. Turquoise mittens (age 14)
18. White washcloth
17. Green var. washcloth #2
16. Green var. washcloth
15. Herringbone Socks
14. Wasabi hat
13. Crinkle top baby afghan
12. Aqua/white mittens (age 8)
11. Teal var. mittens (age 4)
10. Var. rust mittens (age 4)
9. Another handspun hat
8 . Large handspun hat
7. Pink mittens (age 8)
6. Green/black mittens (age 6)
5. Lt green var. mittens (age 4)
4. Black garter rib socks
3. Light blue Lang socks
2. Black cable cuff mitts
1. Red Lang JaWoll socks

Monday, January 10, 2000

2014 Book List

Books I have read this year, with reviews as the spirit moves me.

62.  Buried in a Bog by Sheila Connelly-  a lot more book than there was story, and it wasn't a long book.  The Irish setting was pleasant however.

61.  Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik- a fascinating exploration of materials, and their role in our lives.  Recommended.

60.  Skin Game by Jim Butcher

59.  Vicky Peterwald: Target by Mike Shepherd

58.  The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross

57.  The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

56.  Resurrection Men by Ian Rankin

55.  Duck the Halls by Donna Andrews

54.  The Longest Cave by Roger W. Brucker and Richard A. Watson
53.  Zero-Degree Murder by M.L.Rowland
52.  Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

51.  Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

50.  The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency by James Tobin

49. Rogue by Gina Damico
This was well paced- despite not really liking the protagonist that much (and as a long-time SF/fantasy reader finding the premise unconvincing)  I was quickly sucked in.  An appropriate end to the trilogy, but I saw what the climax would be halfway through the book.


48.  Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
A hilarious exploration of scientific research into sex. 

47. Have You Seen Her by Karen Rose
46. You Can't Hide by Karen Rose
45. Silent Scream by Karen Rose
44.  Dirty Secrets by Karen Rose
43.  Broken Silence by Karen Rose
42. You Belong to Me by Karen Rose
41.  The Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
40.  Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz
39. The Martian by Andy Weir
A tense, well-paced and absorbing story of survival on Mars. It reads like classic SF adventure- but without needing to hand-wave any of the science.  The hero- in addition to being inventive and determined, was very engaging.  I was rooting for him from page 1 and had a hard time putting it down.  Highly recommended.

38.  Ralestone Luck by Andre Norton (reread)
37.  Scorch by Gina Damico
36.  Croak by Gina Damico
35.  The Hammer of Darkness by L.E Modesitt
34.  The Deep Zone by James M. Tabor
33.  Frozen Solid by James M. Tabor
32.  Wrongfully Accused by Ana Barrons
31.  Endlessly by Kiersten White
30.  Supernaturally by Kiersten White
29.  Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
28.  Watch Your Back by Karen Rose
27.  Scream for Me by Karen Rose
26.  Die for Me by Karen Rose
25.  Divine Evil by Nora Roberts
24.  Busted by Karin Slaughter
23.  Black Hills by Nora Roberts
22.  Don't Tell by Karen Rose
21.  Nothing to Fear by Karen Rose
20.  Immortal in Death by J.D.Robb ( reread)
19.  I Can See You by Karen Rose
18.  Kill for Me by Karen Rose
17.  Did You Miss Me? By Karen Rose (audiobook)
16.  The Alibi Man by Tami Hoag (audiobook)
15.  The Witness by Nora Roberts
14.  Along Came a Spider by James Patterson
13.  Raven on the Wing by Kay Hooper
12.  The Hen of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews
11.  The Silvered by Tanya Huff
10.  Some Like it Hawk by Donna Andrews
9.  No One Left to Tell by Karen Rose (audiobook)
8.  The Price of Silence by Kate Wilhelm (audiobook)
7.  Count to Ten by Karen Rose
6.  Exploit of Death by Dell Shannon
5.  Storm Breaking by Mercedes Lackey
4.  Gone by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
3.  Storm Rising by Mercedes Lackey
2.  Storm Warning by Mercedes Lackey
1.  Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen

Sunday, January 9, 2000

2012 FOs

78. Blue/white mittens (age 6)
77. Sleeveless summer top
76. Mammoth woolly socks 2
75. Manly blue mitts
74. Mammoth woolly socks
73. Moss cable socks
72. Enviable linen stitch scarf
71. Purple cabled hearts hat
70. Green colorwork hat
69. Blue/white mittens (age 4)
68. Multicolor mittens (age 6)
67. Encore fingerless mitts
66. Blue tweed watch cap
65. Blue/white mittens (age 8)
64. Red/white mittens (age 2)
63. Blue/red mittens (age 2)
62. Green/white mittens (age 6)
61. Red/gold/black mittens (age 6)
60. Lang Bambus socks
59. Falling Water scarf
58. Red Encore mittens (age 4)
57. Teal/white mittens (age 10)
56. Teal colorwork hat (small)
55. Red/black mittens (age 4)
54. Red/black mittens (age 10)
53. Red heather mittens (age 6)
52. Karisma mittens
51. Teal Encore mittens (age 4)
50. Teal/white mittens (age 8)
49. Teal/white mittens (age 6)
48. Gray Stansfield hat
47. Blue/white colorwork hat
46. Gray garter rib hat
45. Salt-and-pepper mittens (age 2)
44. Happy Stripy Socks
43. Plain gray/white hat
42. Mitered square baby blanket
41. Celtic cable sweater
40. Blue wool beret
39. Mexiko Spring socks
38. Olive Encore mittens (age 8)
37. Blue Encore mittens (age 6)
36. Pale green mittens (age 3)
35. Pink/gray mittens (age 8)
34. Cabled hearts hat
33. Orng/wht/red mittens (age 6)
32. Wildwood beret
31. Orange/white mittens (age 4)
30. Brown self-patterning socks
29. Orange/white mittens (age 6)
28. Pink mittens (age 8)
27. Frosted Glow scarf
26. Pink mittens (age 6)
25. Pink mittens (age 4)
24. Easter mittens (age 2)
23. Blue var. mittens (age 2
22. Gray/blue mittens (age 6)
21. Multi-pink mittens (age 2)
20. Blue colorwork hat
19. Red/white mittens (age 10)
18. Red/white mittens (age 6)
17. Red colorwork hat
16. Pink striped mittens (age 4)
15. Red/white mittens (age 4)
14. Orange/gold mittens (age 2)
13. Orange mittens (age 4)
12. Brown/gold mittens (age 4)
11. Multipastel mittens (age 6)
10. Orange mittens (age 8)
9. Pastel mittens (age 8)
8. Pastel mittens (age 10)
7. Blue self-patterned socks
6. Green Afghan
5. The Dapper Frog
4. Crew neck Aran pullover
3. Blue seed and cable hat
2. Black raspberry hat
1. Blue crocheted hat

Saturday, January 8, 2000

2013 Book Reviews

241.  Accidentally Yours by Susan Mallery

240.  A House to Die For by Vicki Doudera

239.  Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead by Lena Diaz

238. Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History
 by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio (audiobook)

237.  The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

236.  Howling at the Moon by Karen MacInerney

235.  Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

234.  Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead

233.  Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead

232.  I Am Number Four by Pitticus Lore

231.  Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

230.  All the Colors of Darkness by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. (reread)

229.  The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner

228.  Keeper of the Bride by Tess Gerritsen

227.  The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez
A romp through assorted genres that reads rather like an RPG- albeit a really fun RPG.   Highly amusing.

226.  Imposter  by Jill Hathaway

225.   Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

224.  Betrayal in Death by J. D. Robb (reread)

223.  Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

222.  Slide by Jill Hathaway

221.  Bullard of the Space Patrol by Malcolm Jameson (reread)

220.  David Starr, Space Ranger by Isaac Asimov (reread)

219.  Kris Longknife: Defender by Mike Shepherd

218.  Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb

217.  Blue Skies by Robyn Carr

216.  Purity in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

215.  Northern Lights by Nora Roberts

213.  The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund (audiobook)

212.  Blood Country by Mary Logue

211.  Silent Thunder by Iris and Roy Johansen

210.  Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts

209.  Divided in Death by J.D.Robb (reread )

208.  Shiver by Karen Robards

207.  Angels Fall by Nora Roberts

206.  The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts

205.  The Hollow by Nora Roberts

204.  NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (audiobook)

203.  Mistletoe and Holly by Susan Mallery

202.  Charming by Elliot James
First in a new urban fantasy series, this will definitely appeal to fans of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. 

201.  The Final Cut by Catherine Coulter

200.  Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

199.  Red Lily by Nora Roberts

198.  City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

197.  2nd Chance by James Patterson and Andrew Gross (audiobook)

196. Bombshell by Catherine Coulter

195. In Close by Brenda Novak

194. Key of Valor by Nora Roberts

193.  Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

192.  Chosen by Benedict Jacka

191.  When Snow Falls by Brenda Novak

190.  Killer Dreams by Iris Johansen

189.  Tribute by Nora Roberts

188.  Portrait in Death by J.D.Robb (reread )

187.  Key of Light by Nora Roberts

186.  Vortex by S.J. Kincaid

185.  The Search by Nora Roberts

184.  Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audiobook)

183.  Daybreak Zero by John Barnes

182.  Only His by Susan Mallery

181.  Reunion in Death by J.D.Robb (reread )

180.  By Royal Command by Charlie Higson (audiobook)
I've been enormously enjoying Higson's Young James Bond- they're a charming set of period adventures set between the wars.  This was the fifth and sadly final entry in the series, and it provided a bang-up finish- a plot worthy of a Bond of any age. 

179.  Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

178.  Firestorm by Iris Johansen

177.  Whirlpool by Elizabeth Lowell

176.  Birthright by Nora Roberts

175.  Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

174.  Fatal Tide by Iris Johansen

173.  Vision in White by Nora Roberts

172.  Obsession by Karen Robards

171.  Shattered by Karen Robards

170.  Midnight in Death by J.D.Robb (reread )

169.  Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (audiobook)

168.  Directive 51 by John Barnes

167.  City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

166.  The Norman Conquest by Marc Morris

165.  Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs

164.  The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

163.  Transcendental by James Gunn

162.  Hurricane Gold by Charlie Higson (audiobook)

161.  Judgment in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

160.  Survivor in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

159.  Born in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

158.  Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs

157.   Dead Aim by Iris Johansen

156.   Indulgence in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

155.  Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S.C. Gwynne
Beautifully written and unflinching in its portrayal of everyone involved, the author shows us the clash of primitives and settlers in a way that is just to both and flatters neither.  More than that, we see in the people who changed cultures and assimilated into a new way of life, as well as those who came to understand their enemies, compared with the modern reader, just how much of our culture is due to education and indoctrination, and just how foreign are the values of not only the Comanche, but our own ancestors. 

154.  Innocent in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

153.  Vengeance in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

152.  Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

151.  Kindred in Death by J.D.Robb (reread)

150.  Double or Die by Charlie Higson (audiobook)

149.  Paradise Valley by Robyn Carr

148.  Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

147.  Blood Fever by Charlie Higson (audiobook)

146.  Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

145.  Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr

144.  Private London by James Patterson and Mark Pearson (audiobook)

143.  The Human Division by John Scalzi

142.  Blackout: An Inspector Espinosa Mystery by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza
Reading books in translation is always a crap shoot, but I don't think I can blame the translation for all the flaws in this.  A group of disagreeable and occasionally mentally unstable people lie, have sex, and act irrationally while the self-absorbed detective wanders around largely making no progress.   The first murder has no motive, the second has nothing to do with the first, and it was generally an unsatisfying read.

141.  Private #1 Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audiobook)

140.  Faro's Daughter by Georgette Heyer (reread)

139.  Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr

138.  Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr

137.  Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

136.  A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr

135.  Punish the Sinners by John Saul*

134.  Virgin River by Robyn Carr

133.  The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

132.  Grounds to Kill by Wendy Roberts

131.  The Edge by Dick Francis (reread)

130.  Private by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audiobook)

129.  The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination by John Joseph Adams

128.  The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer (reread)

127. 1st to Die by James Patterson (audiobook)

126.  The Decider by Dick Francis (reread)

125.  Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer
This book starts with an interesting what-if idea and a promising setup- and then utterly fails to deliver.  There's no story.  There's no antagonist. What passes for a climax would be a deus ex machina if there was any conflict to resolve.  Extremely disappointing.

124.  Sharp by Alex Hughes
Second in the Mindspace Investigations series, this was a fast and entertaining SF/mystery read.  I look forward to the next one. 

123.  The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts
121.  The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts
120.  The Next Always by Nora Roberts

119.  Decider by Dick Francis (reread)

118.  Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
A dated but charming account of  the author's rambles through England, as he prepared to move back to the US after living there for many years.

117.  Redwood Canyon by Robyn Carr
116.  Down by the River by Robyn Carr

115.  Silverfin by Charlie Higson (audiobook)
First in the Young James Bond series, this is a delightful period piece set between the wars.  It is filled with adventures worthy of Bond, yet scaled to his schoolboy's prowess.   Very nicely done.  I listened to the audiobook version and Nathaniel Parker did an excellent job of bringing the young characters to life. 

114.  It's Not Luck by by  Eliyahu M. Goldratt

113.  Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception by Claudia Hammond

112. Forbidden Falls by Robyn Carr 
111.  Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr
110.  Just Over the Mountain by Robyn Carr
109.  Deep in the Valley by Robyn Carr
108.  Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
107,  My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr
106.  Never Too Late by Robyn Carr
105.  Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr
104.  Promise Canyon by Robyn Carr
103.  Runaway Mistress by Robyn Carr

102.  I, Michael Bennett by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (audiobook)

101.  Red Planet Blues by Robert Sawyer

100.  The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey (reread)

99.   The Merchant's House by Kate Ellis

98.  Critical Chain by  Eliyahu M. Goldratt
This is written as a 'business novel' with the explanation of the technique put into fictional form to make it more palatable.  Personally, I found it annoying to have to read through a lot of irrelevant and badly written fictional detail to get to the actual point of the book.  Too much fluff for too little explanation for my taste. 

97.  The Cleaner by Brett Battles

96.  Becoming Quinn by Brett Battles

95.  Tick Tock by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (audiobook)

94.  Dark Summer by Iris Johansen

93.  Deadlock by Iris Johansen

92. Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (audiobook)

91.  Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag

90.  Run for Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (audiobook)

89.  Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts

88.  Dark Horse by Tami Hoag

87.  Quicksand by Iris Johansen

86.  Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell

85.  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

84.  Step on a Crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge  (audiobook)

83.  Dust to Dust by Tami Hoag

82.  Storm Cycle by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

81.  Public Secrets by Nora Roberts

80.  Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag

79.  Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag (audiobook)

78.  Close Your Eyes by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

77.  Stalemate by Iris Johansen

76.  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

75.  Silent Run by Barbara Freethy

74.  The Trouble with J.J. by Tami Hoag

73.  Countdown by Iris Johansen

72.  No One to Trust by Iris Johansen

71.  Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag.

70.  Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag (audiobook)

69.  Balance of Trade by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller  (reread)

68.  Blind Alley by Iris Johansen

67.  Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag

66.  Haven by Kay Hooper

65.  Hiding in the Shadows by Kay Hooper

64.  Body of Lies by Iris Johansen

63.  The Goal:  A Process of Ongoing Improvement by  Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox

62.  A Crack in Everything by Angela Gerst (audiobook)

61.  The Killing Game by Iris Johansen
60.  The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen

59.  Impulse by Steven Gould
An enjoyable follower to the prior books Jumper and Reflex.  It has an engaging main character and continues the interesting exploration of the implications of teleportation.  It has less of the character development that made the two prior books so compelling, but was still a fun read. 

58.  Out of the Shadows by Kay Hooper

57.  Rafferty's Wife by Kay Hooper

56.  Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino

55.  Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

54.  Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen

53.  Punish the Deed by Diane Fanning
I often like police procedurals and as a reader accept that routine police work will generate some of the clues.  But when the bad guy is identified only because he leaves a signed note at the scene of the crime?   Weak.

52.  Killing Time by Linda Howard
Yet another example of why mainstream authors need to do a lot of reading before they tackle genre plots.   The one thing done right was that the future science and time travel were done consistently;  but the exposition of 'what the future world is like' overpowered the story, a key point about the main character was not alluded to even obliquely before p. 120, the bad guys' plot was incoherent, and the actions of a key secondary character were unconvincing.   Also an important restriction on the time-travel technology was hurled into the narrative two thirds of the way through the book.  Not recommended.

51.  Pandora's Daughter by Iris Johansen (audiobook)

50.  Sword of Orion by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

49.  Calculated in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

48.  Working Stiff by Annalise Ryan
47.  Scared Stiff by Annalise Ryan

46.  Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell (reread)
45. Jade Beach by Elizabeth Lowell (reread)
44. Innocent as Sin by Elizabeth Lowell
43. To the Ends of the Earth by Elizabeth Lowell
42.  Always Time to Die by Elizabeth Lowell

41.  A Wicked Slice by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

40.  Scarecrow Returns by Matthew Reilly ('reread'- previously listened to audiobook)

39.  False Pretenses by Catherine Coulter

38.  The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown*
Lacks the virtues of his prior books and magnifies the faults.  Not recommended. 

37.  Delusion in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
36.  Missing in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts (audiobook)
35.  Brazen Virtue by Nora Roberts
34.  Eternity in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts (audiobook)
33.  Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts
32.  Suite 606 by J. D. Robb , Mary Blayney, R.C. Ryan, Mary Kay McComas

31. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre

30. Celebrity in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
29. Haunted in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
28. Hot Rocks by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
27. New York to Dallas by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts*
26. Treachery in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

25.  The Tomorrow Log by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller*

24.  Loyalty in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
23.  Indulgence in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
22.  Fantasy in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
21.  Salvation in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
20.  Kindred in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
19.  Promises in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

18.  Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin*
A fascinating look into what it is like to live with autism.  And the thing that struck me most, was not how different Temple is, but how human- how much the feelings and behaviors she identifies with autism are part of the range of human abilities.  And how she has used her intelligence and will to work around her weaknesses and take advantage of her strengths. 

17.  Strangers in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
16.  Creation in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
15.  Innocent in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
14.  Big Jack by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
13.  The Unquiet J. D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, R.C. Ryan, Mary Kay McComas
12.  Born in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts*
11.  Memory in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
10.  Origin in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
9.  Survivor in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

8.  Cold Days by Jim Butcher

7.  The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson

6.  Divided in Death by  J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
5.  Visions in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
4.  Naked in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts (reread)
3.  Imitation in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
2.  Seduction in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts
1.  Portrait in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

*from the Eternal To Be Read Pile

Wednesday, January 5, 2000

2011 FOs

75. Candy corn hat
74. Black watch cap
73. Blue stranded mittens (age 8)
72. Lombard St. Gothic socks
71. Boston Bruins hat
70. Pink/black sporty cabled mitts
69. Extraordinarily pink afghan
68. Brown/white mittens (age 10)
67. Navy/white/var hat
66. White/gold/var hat
65. Aqua hat
64. Red/gold/var hat
63. Blue/tan hat
62. Blue/tan beret
61. Blue var mittens (age 8)
60. Red/brown mittens (age 4)
59. Tan/blue hat
58. Blue var. mittens (age 8)
57. Deck rehab project
56. Tan/red hat
55. Green/brown mittens (age 6)
54. Blue var. mittens (age 6)
53. Blue var. mittens (age 4)
52. Red mittens (age 6)
51. More red socks
50. Navy mittens (age 6)
49. Charlemont Scarf
48. Easter Diamond Afghan
47. Victor's Guernsey
46. Tan Jaywalker Socks
45. Green mistake rib scarf
44. Navy mittens (age 8)
43. Navy mittens (age 8)
42. Navy mittens (age 6)
41. Ribbed lace socks
40. Brown ribbed hat
39. Red wool socks
38. Blue twin rib socks
37. Brown/yellow mittens (age 7)
36. Brown/white mittens (age 6)
35. Teal/brown mittens (age 4)
34. Blue tricolor mittens (age 10)
33. Black chenille scarf
32. Red chenille scarf
31. Red seed cable hat#2 (med)
30. Red seed cable hat (med)
29. Red/gray mittens (age 10)
28. Red colorwork hat (med)
27. Pink colorwork hat (med)
26. Tan/red/white short-row scarf
25 Brown Thorpe hat (med)
24. Navy Thorpe hat (med)
23. Red Thorpe hat (sm)
22. Red Thorpe hat (med)
21. Navy/red mittens (age 8)
20. Navy/yellow mittens (age 6)
19. Navy/red mittens (age 6)
18. Blue mittens (age 4)
17. Red/white mittens (age 4)
16. Pink mittens (age 10)
15. Blue mittens (age 4)
14. Red garter rib hat
13. Brown wool mitts v.2
12. Tulip Time Scarf
11. Red Crocheted Beret
10. Legacy mitten repairs
9. Brown wool mitts v. 1
8. Red/black socks
7. Red mittens
6. Red/white scarf
5. Ocean ripples scarf
4. Green Aran cardigan
3. Fluffy yellow cowl
2. Green/blue socks
1. Blue/white fluffy scarf

Tuesday, January 4, 2000

2012 Book Reviews

This year we'll try putting them in reverse order, so the newest books will be on top!

223.  The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross

222.  Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs

221.  The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross

220.  Reunion in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

219.  The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick.
A sympathetic main character, an intriguing puzzle.  Unfortunately, the big end reveal was pretty feeble, and the main character never actually does anything to bring about the ending.   A pity, since the setup was very good.  

218.  Purity in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

217.  The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross

216.  Interlude in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

215.  Betrayal in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

214.  Poppy Done to Death by Charlaine Harris

213. The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
This was notable for its elegant writing style and vividly drawn Scottish setting.  The mystery part was substandard.  I spotted the killer quite early and the characters should have at least considered the person a suspect far earlier than they did.  The elongated time frame and extraneous factors introduced in the second part of the story didn't interest me.   Which from the author's point of view probably means I missed the point.  Probably more interesting to a novel reader than a mystery fan. 

212. Last Scene Alive by Charlaine Harris

219.  Judgment in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

218.  Beyond Eden by Catherine Coulter

217.  Witness in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

216.  If You Know Her by Shiloh Walker

215.  Midnight in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

214.  Dying on the Vine by Aaron Elkins

213.  If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker

212.  Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

211.  An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

210.  Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

209.  A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris

208.  Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

207.  Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris

206.  The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross
I had to struggle in the beginning to overlook the style of this- a lot of is it written in present tense, which I find distracting.  But the story itself is entertaining and often very funny.  I suspect I'd have done better with it had I not started with a later book in the series.  Now I need to go back and read the series from the beginning.

205.  Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris

204.  Conspiracy in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

203.  A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

202.  Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

201.  Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris

200.  Holiday in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

199.  Vengeance in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

198.  Dead Boyfriends by David Housewright

197.  Barrayar by Lois Bujold (reread)

196.  The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde.
This is the most, uh, Ffordian book yet in the Thursday Next series.  As a long time reader I managed to follow the weirdness more or less, but I highly recommend that this series be read in order, since you need to depart sanity in gentle steps in order to follow the storyline.   I don't find Thursday such a sympathetic character that I really like her and her family- but the inventiveness and bizarre yet consistent logic --not to mention exceedingly funny bits--remain fascinating.   It's the sort of thing you might get if Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams cowrote a book while indulging in controlled substances. 

195.  Kris Longknife: Furious by Mike Shepherd
This may be the weakest book in the series, because a good deal of it recaps action from prior books.  At the same time, the author definitely needed a bridge between the last book and where the series is going next, and on balance I think that giving it a whole book was probably better than trying to gloss over it in a prologue.   Which is not to say that plenty doesn't happen- it's fun and has a fair bit of action to keep you interested, but much more than any of the other Longknife tales, this book really doesn't stand alone.  And it ends in a wicked cliffhanger.  So if you're a fan of the series and on the fence, buy it now, but wait to read it until the next one is out.  

194.  Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois Bujold
I had high hopes for this book, but was ultimately disappointed.  The opening was quite promising but quickly lost headway.  While it was pleasant enough to spend 400 pages visiting with familiar and likeable characters, the plot was slight at best, and the alleged protagonists, when presented with difficulties, mostly stood around while secondary characters resolved them.    Fans of the series will enjoy visiting Barrayar, seeing old friends and reminiscing about the good ole days,  but don't pick this up expecting a fast-paced adventurous tour-de-force.  For that you'll have to reread some of the earlier books in the series.

193.  Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris

192.  Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

191.  Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

190.  Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

189.  From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

188.  Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot

187.  Sense of Evil by Kay Hooper

186.  Ceremony in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

185.  All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

184.  Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb/ Nora Roberts

183.  Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

182.  Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

181.  Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

180.  Now You See Her by Linda Howard

179.  Sleeping with Fear by Kay Hooper

178.  Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb/ Nora Roberts

177.  Glory in Death by J.D.Robb/ Nora Roberts

176.  Backfire by Catherine Coulter

175.  Hunting Fear by Kay Hooper

174.  Naked in Death by J.D. Robb / Nora Roberts

173.  Chill of Fear by Kay Hooper

172.  Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

171.  Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

170.  Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris (audiobook)

169.  Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

168.  Once a Thief by Kay Hooper

167.  Clean by Alex Hughes
First in a new series, I found this a page-turner from start to finish.  We get a slow reveal of the main character's backstory entwined with an SF police procedural.   The author nicely balances the personal struggle of the main character with the action and intrigue of the plot.   I'm eagerly awaiting the next book. 

166.  Beautiful Sacrifice by Elizabeth Lowell

165.  Lord of the Fire Lands by David Duncan

164.  Haunting Rachel by Kay Hooper

163. Hell Island by Matt Reilly

162.  Blood Ties by Kay Hooper

161.  Hell Island by Matt Reilly

160.  Blood Sins by Kay Hooper

159.  Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (reread)

158.  All the Queen's Men by Linda Howard

157.  Kill and Tell by Linda Howard

156. Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
Another charming entry in the annals of children's fantasy.  While not as strongly plotted as some of her work, it's still a delightful work and should be very appealing to younger and older readers alike.

155.  Blood Dreams by Kay Hooper

154.  Taken by Benedict Jacka
Third in the Alex Verus series, and great fun for anyone looking for urban fantasy in the style of Jim Butcher's Dresden novels. 
153.  Death Angel by Linda Howard

152.  Ice by Linda Howard

151.  Long After Midnight by Iris Johansen

150. Died in the Wool by Mary Kruger

149.  The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff

148.  Stealing Shadows by Kay Hooper

147.  Kiss Me While I Sleep by Linda Howard

146.  Crystal Dragon by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
This is the second part in the prequel duology started in Crystal Soldier, and I'm rather glad I reread the first before starting the second.   I had remembered being a bit lukewarm on the first book and in retrospect it was probably because it was something of a cliffhanger.  Paired with the second book- it's very good.  Telling a story is hard enough, but trying to do justice to the backstory for a lengthy series at the same time, while weaving in as many strands as possible- I thought this was a success on both levels.  That having been said- I think that it is necessary to have read at least the core books of the Liaden series before this will make much sense.  A good deal of the pleasure is in seeing roots of the relationships that make up the core books being planted.  Without having read them, this would be a much less rich experience.

145.  Burn by Linda Howard

144.  After the Night by Linda Howard

143.  Cover of Night by Linda Howard

142.  Crystal Soldier by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (reread)

141.  Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater
Excellent descriptions of whitewater rafting unfortunately did not redeem the rather lackluster mystery.

140.  Liaden Companion Volume 2 by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

139.  Dying to Please by Linda Howard

138.  Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard

137.  Open Season by Linda Howard

136.  Prey by Linda Howard

135.  Dragon Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

134.  House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones.

133.  Veil of Night by Linda Howard

132.  Sketch Me if You Can by Sharon Pape

131.  Drop Dead Gorgeous by Linda Howard

130.  To Die For by Linda Howard

129.  The Water Clock by Jim Kelly
I didn't care for any of the characters in this, but the mystery was a solid B+, and the vivid sense of place and atmosphere of the English fens elevated it above the ordinary.  It's strongly reminiscent of Sayers' The Nine Tailors' which inspired it.  

128.  Impulse by Catherine Coulter

127.  Split Second by Catherine Coulter

126.  No Going Back by Mark L. Van Name

125.  Whiplash by Catherine Coulter

124.  Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

123.  Knock Out by Catherine Coulter

122.  Double Take by Catherine Coulter

121.  Point Blank by Catherine Coulter

120.  Blowout by Catherine Coulter

119. Blindside by Catherine Coulter

118. Eleventh Hour by Catherine Coulter

117. Hemlock Bay by Catherine Coulter

116.  The Maze by Catherine Coulter

115.  The Target by Catherine Coulter

114.  The Edge by Catherine Coulter

113. The Cove by Catherine Coulter

112.  Riptide by Catherine Coulter

111.  Death's Door by Jim Kelly
An English mystery with police protagonists.  I felt that the author used physical characteristics as a substitute for characterization in his protagonist, but the mystery was a solid B.  He loses points because I spotted the killer quite early, but got some of them back for a nice twist in the motive department.

110.  Deception by Adrian Magson
I'd recommend starting the series from the beginning rather than starting here.  As it was- I thought this was weak.  Particularly the finale, where the main character survives because there's another book contracted, not because he does anything clever or unexpected.

109.  Tailspin by Catherine Coulter  
Started as an audiobook, finished in print after the second CD player died. 

108.  Midnight at Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell

107.  Jade Island by Elizabeth Lowell

106.  Amber Beach by Elizabeth Lowell

105.  Pearl Cove by Elizabeth Lowell

104.  Act of Treason by Vince Flynn (audiobook)

103. Moving Target by Elizabeth Lowell

102.  Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs

101.  1222 by Anne Holt

100.  Kris Longknife: Daring by Mike Shepherd
This catches me up to the end of the series and leaves me chewing my nails for the next book.  Write , Mike, write!

99.  Redshirts by John Scalzi
This is a must-read for anyone who loves SF, loved to hate bad SF on TV, and discussed it at length.  Its meta has meta.  Hilarious, recursive and deeply twisted.  I loved it.   And double extra kudos for taking a well-known classic fanfic and turning it into original fiction.

98.  Big Trouble by Dave Barry
In which Dave Barry is funny as usual, but proves that having a sense of humor is no substitute for knowing how to write a novel.  (However, his impassioned description of Miami Airport was worth the price of admission.)

97.  Kris Longknife: Redoubtable by Mike Shepherd

96.  206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

95.  Running Scared by Elizabeth Lowell

94.  Kris Longknife: Undaunted by Mike Shepherd

93.  Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell

92.  The Road of Danger by David Drake

91. Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs
Okay, I'm not going to go into detail because someone might want to read this anyway, but... when the resolution of your plot depends on a) the protagonist doing something really dumb, b) the bad guy being incompetent and c) the good guys getting lucky,  to wrap up the book?  Time to think about writing another draft before submitting it.  The plot where the murderer tries and fails to kill the protagonist until enough pages have gone by that the author can stop writing is not a good plot.   Which is not so say that this book didn't have a lot of good plot in it.  It's just that nothing that happened in it led to finding the murderer. 

90. Kris Longknife: Intrepid by Mike Shepherd

89.  The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell
88.   Kris Longknife: Audacious by Mike Shepherd
87.  Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn

86.  Kris Longknife:  Resolute by Mike Shepherd
85.  Kris Longknife:  Defiant by Mike Shepherd 
84.  Kris Longknife:  Deserter by Mike Shepherd 
83.  Kris Longknife:  Mutineer by Mike Shepherd
This series is the best SF fun I've had in ages.  A nice mix of action and humor with the occasional serious touch, I think it has the general feel of David Drake's Lieutenant Leary series or Tanya Huff's Valor series.   Can't think how I managed to miss it until now!

82.  Blue Smoke and Murder by Elizabeth Lowell

81.  Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey

80. Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

79.  Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn

78.  London Under by Peter Ackroyd

77.  Scarecrow Returns by Matt Reilly (American title- Australian title is "Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves", listened to audiobook)

76. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

75.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

74.  1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann

73.  Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly (reread)
72.  Area 7 by Matthew Reilly (reread)
71.  Ice Station by Matthew Reilly (reread)

70.  Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs

69.  The Color of Death by Elizabeth Lowell

68.  Cursed by Benedict Jacka

67.  The 27 Ingredient Chili Con Carne Murders by Nancy Pickard

66.  Die in Plain Sight by Elizabeth Lowell

65.  Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light by Tanya Huff (reread)

64.  Fated by Benedict Jacka

63.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

62.  The Quartered Sea by Tanya Huff

61. Rebel's Seed by F.M.Busby
60.  No Quarter by Tanya Huff (reread).

59.  Crucible of Gold by Naomi Novik

58.  Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff (reread)
57.  Fifth Quarter by Tanya Huff (reread)
56.  Stealing Magic by Tanya Huff

55.  What Ho, Magic! by Tanya Huff

54. Relative Magic by Tanya Huff

53.  Ranks of Bronze by David Drake

52.  A Morbid Taste for Bone by Ellis Peters

51. A Fall in Denver by Sarah Andrews

50. The Demu Trilogy by FM Busby

49.  Fire on the Border by Kevin O'Donnell, Jr.

48.  Shame by Alan Russell

47.  Spring of Violence by Dell Shannon (reread)

46.  Into the Hinterlands by David Drake and John Lambshead.

45.  Insatiable by Meg Cabot

44. Wolverine: Weapon X by Marc Cerasini, Richard Isanove and Greg Land
It's possible that die-hard X-man fans would enjoy this.  I thought it might help me to catch up a bit on the backstory, as I have a number of comic-loving friends.  I found it very unengaging however- lots of action (normally a plus for me), character development of bad guys who were subsequently killed without their character being relevant and a generally incoherent narrative (it's very hard for me to call it a plot).

43. A Slice of Murder by Chris Cavender
A mildly entertaining mystery...I may need to try the pizza recipe.

42.  Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Political intrigue, religious fanaticism  and a magical mystery in a fantasy setting.   This was an enjoyable read, though the politics and economics of the setting don't bear too much deep thought.

41. Imagine by Jonah Lehrer
A fascinating survey of research into creativity in it's different forms.  It goes into some detail on the differences between the 'flash of insight' and the long slow refinining stages of the creative process, and as with his previous book on decision-making, a lot of concrete and applicable ways to apply the lessons.  A well-written and interesting book.

40.  A Perilous Conception by Larry Karp
 Fans of Columbo will love this mystery.  A period piece set in the 70s, it features a dogged and clever detective and a slippery doctor playing a game of cat and mouse.  To say more would risk spoiling it.  

39.  Disappearing Act by Margaret Ball
Light fun space opera thriller.   A little disjointed with several plotlines, but an enjoyable read.

38.  Blind Descent by Nevada Barr
This is my favorite Nevada Barr mystery to date.  While it probably helped that I recently watched a piece on the BBC Planet Earth series on the setting of this book (Lechuguilla Caverns in New Mexico), it also had all the classic elements- a small pool of suspects, a plethora of motives, and a slow reveal of the solution.   An experienced mystery reader may guess parts of the answer simply from the presence of certain plot elements, but it was a very enjoyable ride.

37.  On Thin Ice by Alina Adams

36. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (reread)
35. Death Masks by Jim Butcher (reread)

34.  Endangered Species by Nevada Barr

33.  Death at Gallows Green by Robin Paige

32.  The Real Macaw by Donna Andrews

31.  Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

30. Starfist: First to Fight by David Sherman & Dan Cragg
If reading about the daily life of US Marines in space is your idea of a good time, have at it.  "Marine Life" is the main character of this book- there is little other characterization and (oddly for military SF) almost no action until the last third of the book.  A yawner for anyone not fascinated with military life.  

29. The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie (reread)

28.  Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

27.  The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do and How to Change It by Charles Duhigg

26. Chosen- Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie in, based on the TV scripts.  Get the DVDs- much more rewarding.  

25.   Death at Rottingdean by Robin Paige
Meh.  An excellent setting, but the so-called mystery relies on a witness who does not divulge what he knows until the end of the book, and the bad guy making stupid mistakes.  The detectives detect very little, and the authors' habit of digressing into factoids on things that happened in the real life Rottingdean years after the story was profoundly annoying.  I appreciate that they did research- but dumping chunks of it into the middle of the book does nothing for the narrative flow.

24.  Old Scores by Aaron Elkins (reread)
23.  A Deceptive Clarity by Aaron Elkins (reread)
22. A Glancing Light by Aaron Elkins (reread)
Having finally acquired the third book in this sequence, I can now reread them all together!

21.  Delete All Suspects by Donna Andrews
The fourth of her Turing Hopper mysteries.

20. Death at Bishop's Keep by Robin Paige
Billed as a Victorian mystery, this winds up being a little too PC to really ring true for me.  And the mystery relies on a second and third murder and a couple of big coincidences.  I have another of these lying around and will likely read it, but not seek out more unless the second one impresses me considerably more than the first. 

19.  The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach
This is an English translation of a German science fiction novel, and quite beautifully done.  The language is polished and evocative.  The book is organized as a related set of short stories, but they are not independant- each segment shifts point of view and you catch another glimpse of an emerging pattern as the book unfolds.  Thought-provoking, structurally idiosyncratic, and extremely well written--  I enjoyed it a great deal for the vivid language, imagery and slow reveal of the plot.

18.  An Old Faithful Murder by Valerie Wolzien
This one tries to implement the classic form.  I enjoyed it for the view of Yellowstone (which I have been seized by a desire to visit ever since seeing the Ken Burns National Parks series), and liked the setup.  I found some of the characters and motivations unconvincing, and the crucial clue wasn't so much slipped in, as came crashing down anvil-like from the sky toward the end of the book.  

17.  The Third Option by Vince Flynn- a solid B-list thriller, with a strong-jawed hero, dastardly and unprincipled bad guys, lots of action.  Good airplane read (which is exactly where I read it). 

16.  Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
If you've somehow missed the hype about this book, the first thing to know about it is that it's a split story- most of it takes place in medieval Germany, with another plot thread in the present day.  I've been told by several people who read this that they liked the past story, but found the present story un-engaging.    In general I agree with that- the present day characters are interesting enough, but we don't spend enough time with them to really care about their concerns.  Overall, I'd have to characterize this as an ambitious failure, which in some ways makes it a more interesting read than a book that shoots low and succeeds. The past story has a lot of interesting idea content, but it lacks a strong through-plot- what plot there is gets buried under the philosophical discussion.   There's a lot here to like--but it isn't destined to take a place among the classics. 

15. A Dangerous Talent by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

14. Table of Contents by John McPhee

13. Firestorm by Nevada Barr

12. Wicked Prey by John Sandford

11.  A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber

10.  Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger

9.  Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

8.  Ghost Ship by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee (reread)
7.  Saltation by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee (reread)
6.  Fledgling by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee (reread)

5. 7th Sigma by Steven Gould

4. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

3. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by John Tierney and Roy Baumeister
This was useful as well as entertaining, as Tierney and Baumeister do a roundup of studies of motivation and self-regulation, and distill practical and easily applicable advice on which strategies work, which don't, and how to use this information to tackle everything from sensible eating to the eternal to-do list. Highly recommended.

2. Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Book 2 in his YA steampunk-historical-fantasy. Set in an alternate WW1 where the British 'Darwinists' breed fabulous beasts to do the jobs that German 'Clankers' do with biologically-inspired machinery. Fast-paced, fun and a great read. I'm looking forward to the third one enormously.

1. All Wound Up by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Another book of humorous knitting essays that will strike a chord with crafters of all sorts.

Monday, January 3, 2000

2010 FOs

100. Multicolor mittens (age 2)99. Curtain ties
98. Infant mittens
97. Blue/white mittens (age 4)
96. Red men's mittens
95. Mammoth woolly red socks
94. Blue cabled cowl
93. Mammoth woolly socks
92. Feather and Fan socks
91. Aran kid sweater
90. Brown/tan kid sweater
89. Light blue beret
88. Blue ribbed hat
87. Brown kid socks (size 4)
86. Coral mittens (age 2)
85. Blue/white mittens (age 2)
84. Blue mittens (age 2)
83. Kid socks (size 4)
82. Multicolor mittens (age 2)
81. Pink striped mittens (age 2)
80. Blue-gray Trekking socks
79. Dining room curtains
78. Bathroom curtains
77. Kitchen curtains
76. Berrypicking socks
75. Multicolor mittens (age 10)
74. Gray/white mittens (age 12)
73. Pink cable headband hat (child)
72. Forest mittens (age 4)
71. Pink braided cable headband
70. Pink Unoriginal hat
69. Pink mittens (age 12)
68. Yarn swift
67. Kayak cart
66. Gray and white hat
65. Beige self-patterned socks
64. Orange mittens (age 6)
63. Fluffy yellow sweater
62. Gray cable band hat
61. Cable and moss baby pullover
60. Baby raglan
59. Crocheted yellow beret
58. Gray cable cuff mittens (age 8)
57. Blue/yellow mittens (age 8)
56. Pink cable-brim hat
55. Crocheted pink beret
54. Orange mittens (age 4)
53. Crocheted yellow beret
52. Gray/Brown fingerless mitts
51. Gray ribbed hat
50. Orange mittens (age 8)
49. Pink mittens (age 6)
48. Blue mittens (age 6)
47. Gray Cabled Hat
46. Gray Fair Isle Hat
45. Gray variegated socks
44. Blue variegated socks
43. Autumn rainbow socks
42. Forest/beige mittens (age 6)
41. Blue diamond hat
40. Lush green socks
39. Opal socks
38. Yellow/beige mittens (age 2)
37. Blue-green mittens (age 2)
36. Dk blue mittens (age 2)
35. Gold mittens (age 2)
34. Blue mittens (age 4)
33. Blue mittens (age 10)
32. Teal mittnes (age 10)
31. Blue-green mittens (age 4)
30. Unoriginal hat (adult)
29. Unoriginal hat (child)
28. Friday AM Beret (med)
27. Blue-green mittens (age 8)
26. All Day Beret (sm)
25. Ruffled scarf
24. Stretchy basket weave socks
23. Yet more red socks
22. More red socks
21. Red socks
20. Forest mittens (age 12)
19. Jungle socks
18. Rose Arch socks
17. Salt and Pepper gloves
16. Tan var. mittens (age 10)
15. Bluesy mittens (age 4)
14. Yellow mittens (age 6)
13. Peach/tan mittens (age 10)
12. Gold mittens (age 6)
11. Blue/white mittens (age 8)
10. Green/yellow mittens (age 4)
9. Tan striped mittens (age 12)
8. Pink/tan mittens (age 6)
7. Yellow baby cable mitts
6. Green/tan twin rib mitts
5. Blue twin rib mitts
4. Brown baby cable mitts (child)
3. Blue twin rib mitts (child)
2. Red cable cuff mitts
1. Fluffy blue sweater

Sunday, January 2, 2000

2011 Book Reviews

As with last year, I haven't been good about actually writing reviews. I expect I'll come back and review the more notable entries at some point, but probably not everything. In the meantime, this is at least up to date with everything I've read this year.
January
1. What Distant Deeps by David Drake
The latest in Drake's RCN series- while some of the elements in this felt a little repetitious, this was the best entry in a while, as it focused on some of the changes in the characters over time. Very enjoyable –if you've read the series, this is one of the better ones. If you haven't, I'd recommend starting at the beginning.

2. Search by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
This book took a lot of well-used elements- secret societies, ancient puzzles, the obsessed billionaire, the dedicated team of government agents and the loner with a quest and put them all together in a fast-paced and enjoyable whole.

The book suffers somewhat from weak characterization—some of the motivations and back-stories are not very convincing—but the flawless pacing and intriguing puzzle don't give you a lot of time to think about it.  
I'd give it a solid B. Just the thing to make a long flight go by faster, or unwind with a light thriller.

3. The Kingmaker by Brian Haig
4. Conflict of Honors by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
5. Private Sector by Brian Haig
6. Channeling Cleopatra by Elizabeth Scarborough
7. The President's Assassin by Brian Haig
8. Man in the Middle by Brian Haig
9. All Clear by Connie Willis
10. Blackout by Connie Willis
11. The World's Greatest Sleuth by Steve Hockensmith
February

12. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
13. Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed
14. Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
15. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett (reread)
16. Clay's Ark by Octavia Butler
17. Separation of Power by Vince Flynn
18. Foundation by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
19. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher
20. Trio of Sorcery by Mercedes Lackey
21. The Columbo Collection by William Link
22. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
23. Owl's Well That Ends Well by Donna Andrews
March
24. Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
25. Subspace Encounter by E.E. “Doc” Smith
26. Flesh Wound by Paul Grescoe
27. By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
28. Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
29. Murder with Puffins by Donna Andrews
30. Revenge of the Wrought Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews
31. Rotten Lies by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins
32. To Catch a Cat by Marion Babson
33. The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
34. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
35. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
36. Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews
37. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
38. We'll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews
39. No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews
40. The Penguin Who Knew Too Much by Donna Andrews

April
41. Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews
42. Six Geese a-Slaying by Donna Andrews
43. Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews
44. Dear Mr. Holmes by Steve Hockensmith (Holmes on the Range short story anthology)
45. Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews
46. WWW:Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer
47. Star Precinct by Kevin Randle and Richard Driscoll
48. Tiassa by Stephen Brust
49. Descent: The Heroic Discovery of the Abyss by Brad Matsen

May
50. The Information: A Theory, A History, A Flood by James Gleick
51. The Carbon Murder by Camille Minichino
52. The Hydrogen Murder by Camille Minichino
53. Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz
54. Cathedral Cats by Richard Surman
55. Gently Landed by Alan Huntly

June

56. The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks by James Anderson
While not as inventive as the first in this trio of charming period
mysteries, it had all the classic elements- maps, timetables, mixed motives, secrets and of course, a murder. Delightful- I'm only sorry that this is the last.


57. The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins
A thriller from the hand of a mystery master- fast-paced, tense and an excellent read.

58. Shadow World by A.C.Crispin and Jannean Elliott
YA SF with interesting aliens, third in Crispin's Starbridge series.

59. The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey
A fairy tale retelling. Readable but slight.

60. Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett (reread)
61. Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett (reread)
62. Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (reread)

63. The Affinity Bridge by Charles Mann
This author needs to go back to the part of creative writing class where they explain 'show not tell'. More style than substance, but fans of zombies and steampunk will doubtless like it.

64. Journeyman Wizard by Mary Frances Zambreno
A YA fantasy with mystery elements. Charming but slight- it would have been a better book if the protagonist had been allowed to actually solve the mystery as opposed to having to catch the bad guy in the act.

65. Agent of Change by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee (reread)
66. Carpe Diem by Steve Miller and Sharon Lee (reread)

67. The Floor of Heaven: A True Tale of the Last Frontier and the Yukon Gold Rush by Howard Blum
Although this is nonfiction, it is not written as a history, but rather as a tale- a story with slippery villains, a brave cowboy detective and a prospector who dreams mightily but always returns in the end to the lure of gold. Well written and well paced, this is a great read for any fan of adventure and derring-do. And it has to be true- if it were fiction, no one would ever believe it!

68. Exile's Honor by Mercedes Lackey
This is another book set in her Valdemar universe, about twenty years before the first trilogy. Probably interesting only to readers who are already invested in the universe.

69-71. The Arrows of the Queen trilogy by Mercedes Lackey (reread)
72. Winds of Fate by Mercedes Lackey (reread)

July
73. The Shadow of the Lion by Mercedes Lackey, Dave Freer and Eric Flint.
Better than I expected- fantasy set in an alternate Venice, adventure, political intrigue. I'll probably look for more of these.

74. A Natural History of Seeing by Simon Ing
This is a book stuffed chock-a-block with interesting facts. No contintinuing characters, no narrative thread, just lots of interesting facts. I enjoyed it- and so will anyone else with an interest in the history of science, and the inner workings of the natural world.

75. The Sorcerers and their Apprentices by Frank Moss
This is a series of short essays about the work of the MIT Media lab. I found it interesting for the glimpses of technology in development and the cross-disciplinary nature of the work, but would have liked a more in-depth look at the projects. However it's explicitly intended to make the case for the rapid-prototyping model of development (which it does well) and for the benefits of undirected research and development. It's not overly long- an interesting short read, but not notable for its quality of writing.

76. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
Another interesting book on neurobiology, this one focused on just how much of the brain's functions are completely invisible to us. Well written, has a lot of overlap with other books I've read, but did a good job of expressing some of these ideas from a differently focused point of view.

77. Vengeance of Dragons by Holly Lisle (The Secret Texts #2)
Surprisingly readable considering it's the middle book in a trilogy, and I have not read either the first or third. I thought it suffered a bit from a excess of villainy- as best I can tell most of the damage the bad guys have taken has involved fights with other bad guys rather than the direct action of the heroes. It covers well-trodden ground with some original twists and competent narration. I probably won't rush to seek out the others, but if they come my way I'll read them.

78. Heat Wave by 'Richard Castle'
I don't think this will work for anyone who hasn't seen the TV show Castle, but it's a fun couple of hours for fans of the show. It reads rather like an episode, with most of the series characters present and only thinly disguised. Slight but amusing for Castle fans.

79. Magic Casement by Dave Duncan
80. Faery Lands Forlorn by Dave Duncan
81. Perilous Seas by Dave Duncan
82. Emperor and Clown by Dave Duncan
These are part of a four-part series called A Man of His Word. They should definitely be read when you have all of them in hand, because cliffhangers are not uncommon. It's a fantasy quest, distinguished by imaginative worldbuilding and excellent pacing. I found the female heroine a bit annoying, but the series as a whole quite engrossing. I read the four books in a bit over three days, and stayed up (unwisely) late finishing two of them. Very enjoyable.

83. The Cutting Edge by Dave Duncan
84. Upland Outlaws by Dave Duncan
85. The Stricken Field by Dave Duncan
These are part of a four-part series called A Handful of Men. See the review at item 96, the last book in the series.

86. The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan
A first book, one part novel, one part amateur sleuth mystery and one part police procedural. A little uneven- the killer was fairly obvious to the reader at about the midpoint, and one crucial clue was handed to the protagonist early on and simply overlooked until the climax. But it was lively enough that I'll have a look at the second, and see if it's better.

87. Dragon's Blood by Jane Yolen
This is YA science fiction and a book that inspired legions of imitations. A bit simple for my adult taste, but I'd have enjoyed in my younger days.

88. A Brush with Death by Elizabeth Duncan
I'd had hopes that the second novel in this series would be less rough than the first one...unfortunately I was rather disappointed. This was much as the first only with less editing. It doesn't lack appeal- the author has a lot of good ideas, if only they were better put together. For example- the setup - new information turning up about a thirty-year-old death is perfect for a ball-of-twine type mystery, where one clue leads to the next. But was aimed halfway between the ball of twine and the jigsaw puzzle (where all the clues are out in the open but it takes the detective to show how they fit together)- and didn't quite settle on either. Clues turn up that the protagonist assumes are part of the puzzle (based on no evidence whatsoever) --and turn out to be completely irrelevant- not red herrings, they simply have no effect on the story at all. Two possible suspects are introduced and then dropped from the narrative without being developed. A second murder is committed for very little apparent reason. The person eventually revealed to be the murderer is located by chance about halfway through the book...but not until the climax does the detective try to investigate this person. And even taken as a straight novel with mystery elements...the protagonist makes some frankly silly decisions that are both not especially well supported in the narrative, and which lend nothing to the mystery. I really wanted to like this, for the book it was trying to be, but I can't give it better than a C-. And there I'm probably being too generous.

89.  In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is always good fun, but this is outstanding even among his other work.   I giggled intermittently through this account of his travels in Australia, and learned a lot I hadn't known along the way.  Highly recommended.

90.  Longshot by Dick Francis (reread)

August

91.  Knit One, Kill Two by Maggie Sefton
I was unimpressed with the second in this series, but the first one landed in my living room by chance.    This is more a novel with a mystery plot than an actual mystery- the murder is solved by having a giant Clue plopped down in front of the protagonist once enough book had gone by that it was nearing a salable length.    The characters are pleasant enough, and I quite like the looks of the recipe and knitting pattern in the back, but I won't be seeking any of these out.

92.  A Rumor of Bones by Beverly Connor
Interesting archeology and forensics don't really compensate for the lack of plot.   This was an improvement on my last read, mainly because it didn't try to be a whodunnit, and rather fed the reader a steady stream of new bodies and information, but the eventual revelation of the killer was anticlimactic, and a second murderer is caught only by having a crucial piece of evidence turn up at the end of the book...moreover, a piece of evidence that was actually found much earlier.   I'll probably give another of these a try, if only because forensic anthropology is interesting, and Aaron Elkins doesn't write fast enough.
93.  In the Frame by Dick Francis (reread)

94.  Big Black Hole by Wilma Kahn
A mystery and an author I hadn't heard of, evidently for good reason.  It starts promisingly enough- a private investigator, and a suicide that might not be.  However the detective unfortunately fails to detect anything, and only succeeds in catching the killer because the murderer is stupid enough to make three unsuccessful attempts to kill her, for no obvious reason. A good deal of the book is taken up with the detective's relationships with various secondary characters, none of which particularly have anything to do with the story.   Profoundly unimpressive.

95.  The Sniper's Wife by Archer Mayor
Mayor writes a workmanlike mystery, but I tend to find his usual main character, Joe Gunther, pleasant but a little dull.  The kind of guy you invite for barbecue, introduce to your sister, and can count on to help move heavy furniture.    In The Sniper's Wife, Mayor has shifted Joe to the back seat and has written a book featuring Gunther's usual sidekick Willy Kunkle- who isn't nearly as nice but is a lot more interesting to read about.   It's got clues, it's got action, it's got complex motivations, and if there were a few details about the ending (which happens to be set in an area I'm extremely familar with) that are more dramatic than realistic, it's okay- I didn't really notice until afterward because the narrative had my full attention.   A good read.

96.  The Living God by Dave Duncan
In any multibook fantasy you have the problem of repeating yourself, and this series, A Handful of Men (sequel to the four book series A Man of his Word)  does suffer a bit from sameness.  At the same time, it has the satisfying quality of returning to likeable characters some years later and seeing what they've done with themselves.  Basically- another fantasy quest, with some of the same players and some new ones.  Very enjoyable and entertaining.  And if the climax wasn't much of a surprise...it was at least very well executed.    If you liked the first series, you'll probably enjoy this one as well, and if you haven't read the first series, that's definitely the place to start.  Also- get all four books in a section before starting the first- between book cliffhangers are pretty much the rule.

97.  Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Second in the Temeraire trilogy, this is unusually a coming of age story... for the dragon.  The story moves a bit slowly, but is saved by the charm of Temeraire himself, and the appealingly honorable Laurence.  It is considerably more idea-focused that most fantasy.  I'll be interested to see what is done in the third book.

98.  The Bad Place by Dean Koontz
A reprint of one of his early novels, it's his trademark mix of horror and SF.   Interesting characters make it more appealing than the usual horror midlist,   The violence was unusually graphic for Koontz.

99.  The Conspiracy Club by Jonathan Kellerman
One of Kellerman's standalone novels, and a clever and twisty thriller.  Very enjoyable.

100.  Monster by Jonathan Kellerman
This is #13 in his Alex Delaware series.  Competent and workmanlike, and certainly a good beach or plane ride diversion, but it irritated me that I had figured out the plot by the middle of the book.

101.  Mind Prey by John Sandford
Exquisitely craftsmanlike, very well paced, it's the perfect blend of a thriller and a police procedural.   Extremely well done.  On the downside, there was a considerable amount of crude language and I didn't especially like or identify with any of the characters.  But this is clearly a middle book in a series and I might have found the detective more sympathetic if I'd read some of the earlier books.  I will likely seek out at least one more of these.

102.  Break In by Dick Francis (reread)
103.  Bolt by Dick Francis (reread)
104.  Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
This is the latest installment in the Harry Dresden series, and as usual, Butcher delivers an enjoyable read.    This one explores some of the consequences of the last book, but keeps you on the edge of your seat regarding Harry's ultimate fate.  Absolutely not a good place to start the series; the Dresden series benefits from being read in order, and the last several books in this series have absolutely depended on the reader being familiar with the previous work.
105.  Simon's Cat, Beyond the Fence by Simon Tofield
Okay, to say I 'read' this is kind of an exaggeration, but for fans of animator and cartoonist Simon Tofield, this is another charming collection of acutely observed and lovingly drawn cat cartoons.   I am hard put to choose a favorite, but cat crop circles are way up there.  Go and enjoy. 

106. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (reread)
107. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (reread)
108.  Grave Peril by Jim Butcher (reread)

109.  From the Corner of his Eye by Dean Koontz
Although I'm not really a horror fan, I do make an exception for Dean Koontz.  His horror often tends to the science-fictional (which this isn't), but more importantly, his work generally features appealing and extraordinary characters, is written with a craftsman's knowledge of plot and pacing, and is simply an entertaining read.   Plotwise, this wasn't his strongest effort, as the vastly elongated timeframe, and historical notes made the pacing a bit odd, but it was made up for by a largely quite charming lot of characters.  I give it three stars. 
110. Timecaster by Joe Kimball
If you're looking for a fast-paced SF-flavored thriller with lots of sex and violence, on about the level of an action movie, this will do very well.  Unfortunately I bought it hoping for a classic puzzle-type SF mystery.  Oh well.  I'll know better next time.

111.  A Civil Campaign by Lois Bujold (reread)
112.  A Clutch of Constables by Ngaio Marsh (reread)

113.  The Battle of Britain, Five Months that Changed History; May-October 1940 by  Tom Holland
This was a fascinating read on many levels;  it showed both the point of view of the policymakers and of soldiers and civilians, all based on thousands of hours of interviews letters and diary accounts.  It showed the attitudes of both sides- as many Germans as Britains.  And it chilling painted a picture of history balanced on a knife edge- there were many points where things could have turned out differently; had one mistake been made or rectified, had the weather been different--as well as the larger systemic reasons that history turned out the way it did.  Despite being a dense and often technical account, Holland has a clear and vivid style of prose, making this as accessible to the casual reader as to the armchair historian.  He does a good job of bringing a broad confilct to life while making clear the complex of causal factors that drove events.

114.  Crossfire by Dick and Felix Francis
A definite step up from the last father and son effort; this benefits from much stronger plotting.   It still has some ways to go to match Francis pater's best efforts -  characterization remains a bit thin- but I'm rather encouraged by the continuing improvement.  I will at last check the next Felix Francis novel.

115.  Flying Finish by Dick Francis (reread)

116. Ghost Ship by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

117. Gamble by Felix Francis

118.  An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire

119 and 120.  Radius of Doubt/Path of Fire by Charles Ingrid (omnibus of first two novels in Patterns of Chaos series).

121.  Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (reread)

122 and 123 The Downfall Matrix/Soulfire by Charles Ingrid (omnibus of third and fourth novels in Patterns of Chaos series).
This aspired to be a sweeping science fiction epic, and it had a lot of fun elements, but it didn't quite manage to make it all come together at the end.

124. A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge (reread)

125. Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
126. Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
127. Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik

128. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings (reread)
129. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings (reread)
130. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings (reread)
140. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings (reread)

141. Children of the Sky by Verner Vinge
This wasn't as outstanding as the prior book, and it suffers considerably from many plot threads being left for the next book to resolve. However, an adequate Vinge novel is a lot better than average, and I did enjoy this one. I'm just hoping it doesn't take another ten years for the third (and presumably final) book.

142. The Good Friday Murders by Lee Harris
This had a good setup, some interesting detection--and then the story completely fell apart and had a thriller-type ending tacked on. Quite disappointing.

143. Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
This was a cross between chicklit and a mystery, and worked better than I was expecting. Although I tend to regard the fashion-and-appearance conscious female characters as an alien species, it was light and entertaining. The mystery was rather pedestrian, but carried out in a craftsman-like fashion.

144. Search the Shadows by Barbara Michaels
A rather slight entry into the Michaels/Peters oeuvre; the mystery was reasonable but the character was uninteresting and the obligatory romance unconvincing.

144. Enchanter's Endgame by David Eddings (reread)

145. Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot
146. Big Boned by Meg Cabot
Two more in the same series as 143. Less fashion, more murder and the quirky cast of amusing characters. Lighthearted fun.

147.Access Denied by Donna Andrews
148.Click Here for Murder by Donna Andrews
149.Rules of Prey by John Sandford

150. Reamde by Neal Stephenson

151. Shadow Prey by Neal Stephenson

152. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

153. When the Tide Rises by David Drake (reread)

154. Into the Darkness by Barbara Michaels