Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer

Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Phyllida Nash
When Kitty’s cantankerous care-taker insists that one of his own nephews marry Kitty for her to inherit his fortune, three of them rush to Kitty’s home to propose. When she spurns those three, they patiently explain that she must marry one of them or else she will be left destitute. Kitty hatches a plan (which the reader is left only vaguely aware of) to free herself from these constraints – but it requires her to go to London for a few weeks. That’s where her cousin Freddy comes in. He didn’t propose – had no wish to propose – but only came because he was curious what this big summons from his uncle was about. In secret, Kitty convinces Freddy to propose marriage so that he could take her to London. Of course, she’ll break it off when the few weeks are over….


This is my first book by Georgette Heyer. I’ve heard so many great things about her that I wanted to see for myself. At first, I wasn’t too pleased with the book, but I warmed to it once time had passed, and Kitty matured in London. You see, I didn’t like Kitty at first. She seemed so manipulative – getting Freddy to propose when he clearly didn’t want to. And it seemed her plan could end up destructive to both of them – even if we didn’t know what the whole plan was about. I realized as she grew that the plan was just naivete and not pure manipulation, but I still found all the dangerous lies a bit disturbing. Regardless, everything turned out well in the end, and I was left with a warm fuzzy feeling about the novel. 

Heyer’s writing is delightful. She mixes humor with the beloved Regency Romance genre, and she’s often suggested to readers who have finished all the Jane Austen novels. They definitely have the same feel as an Austen, though the humor has a slightly different tone. Austen has more sarcasm in her books. Both writers have a mixture of wit and silliness. I will hopefully have time to read another Heyer soon. Just think, a brand new author to explore!


The Chimes, by Charles Dickens

The Chimes, by Charles Dickens, narrated by Richard Armitage
When Trotty’s daughter brings him a happy surprise (tripe and news of her engagement for the upcoming New Year), he is quickly disillusioned by a group of wealthy people who delight in “putting-down” poor folk. That evening, Trotty explores his beloved bell-spire and sees things that he never expected to see. 

This story was hard to read at first because it was so darned depressing. I mean, here Trotty was as happy as a clam (because we all know clams smile all the time) and suddenly these horrible wealthy men stomp all over his happiness. As the story goes on, the family becomes even more downtrodden. In fact, I was wondering if the story was going to turn around into a happy Christmas story until the very end. 

This wasn’t my favorite of Dickens’ works. It’s nice to read another of his lesser known Christmas stories, but I guess it’s lesser-known for a reason. It was quaint and a good poke-in-the-eye to the strong who “put-down” the weak. But other than that, it was kind of a “meh” book for me. 


Shada, by Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts

Shada: Doctor Who, the Lost Adventure
By Douglas Adams and Gareth Roberts
Narrated by Lalla Ward and John Leeson

Shada is a novel tie-in to the popular TV series Doctor Who. Specifically, it is based on the screenplay (written by Douglas Adams) of an unbroadcast eighth doctor story arc.  The Doctor, Romana, and K-9 go to visit an old friend, Professor Chronotis, after receiving a distress signal. It turns out that Chronotis had stolen a dangerous book: The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. All the Time Lords have heard of this book, but none of them quite seem to remember what it’s for. When the book is accidentally borrowed by a post-doc, the Doctor and Romana must find the book and keep it out of the hands of Skagra, an evil genius bent on becoming the universe. (Important distinction here – he’s not taking over the universe; he’s becoming it.) 

This is the first time I’ve ever read a novel tie-in to a show or movie. My opinion has always been that books can become movies but movies shouldn’t become books. You have to add in so much information for a TV novelization to be a good book. When I read a book, I’m not just looking for a story, I’m looking for beauty. For art. For characterization. These are things that this book did not particularly have. You knew who the characters were, after all. Why develop them? You knew about the world in which this story was taking place. No need for world building. So, in that way, the book isn’t what I’m generally looking for in a book. 

That said, this book did have humor, excitement, and familiar friends going through wild adventures. It was Doctor Who, after all, how could I not like it? 

The book was well-read – narrated by the actress who played Romana in the TV show. K-9’s voice was John Leeson, as well. So that was a very nice touch. This is my first time listening to a dramatization with sound effects. I’ve heard multiple-reader dramatizations, but never with footsteps, creaking doors, etc. It was kind of fun. Maybe I’ll try something like this out again. 

I’m going to have to give this book 3.5 snowflakes because I prefer books that have more characterization and world-building. But I also recognize that this is not what tv novelizations are meant to have. 

Let Me In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let Me In, by John Ajvide Lindqvist, narrated by Steven Pacey

Oskar, a 12-year-old boy, is bullied by his schoolmates. He spends his time fantasizing about revenge and stabbing trees with a knife. He obsesses about violent crimes, keeping a notebook of newspaper clippings. One day, a strange girl and her father move in next door. She seems quite unaware of social norms and completely immune to getting cold. Her father and she argue loudly and frequently, which Oskar can hear through his wall. Despite the fact that she tells him they can’t be friends, Eli and Oskar soon form a bond. She encourages him to stand up to his bullies, and he starts growing in self-confidence. But strange murders are suddenly occurring in his neighborhood, and Oskar begins to suspect that Eli is more than he thought she was. 

I have been interested in reading this book after reading a fascinating short story of his a few years ago. This book did not disappoint. It was eerie and consuming. It was also very gruesome, and it has some graphic child-sexual-abuse scenes, so beware. Luckily, I had read reviews of this book beforehand and already knew about the child abuse, so I was not quite as repulsed by it. However, this book lost an entire star because of the child-sexual-abuse, which didn’t appear at all in the movies and wasn’t absolutely necessary. The child abuse did help develop the character of Eli’s father as a disgusting and pathetic failure, but I think both attributes could have been manged in other ways. Or, at least, without the graphic scenes.

In general, I am pleased with Lindqvist’s style – it is mysterious and flows well. The characters were well-drawn and believable (in a there-be-vampires sort of way). There dark, dreary mood was set early in the book and retained steadily throughout. There was nothing particularly original about Lindqvist’s vampire, though Eli had some original personality traits and circumstances. Also, I’ve seen this book described as a romance, and I don’t agree with that. Yes, Oskar asked Eli to “go steady,” but that was about it. I mean, he was 12, and those feelings were very naive and not pronounced. This was a book about friendship, not romance.

Overall, I was pleased with the book and would read another by Lindqvist, though I’ll probably wait before I can get through another that has sexual abuse in it. The audiobook was well-read – the voices were distinguishable and the pacing was quite reasonable.
3.5 stars for flow, eeriness, mystery – star lost for child sexual abuse



Bloodchild and Other Stories, by Octavia E. Butler

Bloodchild and Other Stories, by Octavia E. Butler

This is a book of horror / dark fantasy stories by the amazing author Ocativa E. Butler. Believe it or not, this is the first book by Butler that I have ever read, and I was amazed at her brilliance. 

Her stories were incredibly creative. They covered important issues like race, slavery, sexuality, and identity, all in the guise of alien occupation or dystopic disease and other dark fantasy themes. Her prose was smooth and eloquent.

The most interesting of the stories was her novella Bloodchild, which is about a child that is about to be “sexually” adopted by some alien worm-thing. The story encompassed the feelings of the boy, his mother, and the alien – providing some very startling insight. 


After each story, Butler included a short essay of what she intended the story to mean or background in her life when the story was written. These brought further understanding to the story, though I was a little skeptical when she insisted that she hadn’t intended Bloodchild to be about slavery. But, I guess, sometimes meanings creep in there unintended. And there’s also something to say for the readers’ interpretation regardless of intended meaning. To me, slavery was one of the many underlying themes of the story. 

At the end of the book, Butler included a couple of essays about what it was like being an African American science fiction author, and encouraged young people to follow their dreams and become authors. Finally, there were a couple of never-before-published stories. 

This little book is well worth your time if you are interested in deeper cultural issues of race, slavery, and sexuality – possibly even if you are not specifically interested in science fiction and fantasy.

For pure brilliance



This post is for R. I. P. X @TheEstellaSociety and the 2015 Halloween Reading Challenge @ReadingEverySeason. It is also for #Diversiverse, @BookLust, which is all about reading books by people of a variety of ethnic/racial backgrounds, so I will provide tell you a little about the author, Octavia E. Butler.

Octavia E. Butler was born in 1947 into an impoverished African American community to a 14-year-old girl. Despite struggling with dyslexia, she had a passion for reading and writing ever since she was very young. As a teenager, she started attempting to publish her stories, despite the extreme difficulty for African Americans publishing science fiction / fantasy. At the time she was one of only a couple African American sci-fi writers. Despite being taken advantage of by money-hungry agents, she finally published Patternmaster in 1976. This book was praised for its powerful prose, and she ended up writing four prequels. She finally became mainstream upon publication of Kindred in 1979. Butler died outside of her home in 2006.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black



2015 Media #6 / Book #3: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black 

Reason for reading: This was the January pick for my bookclub.

Summary: In this near-future book, vampires have emerged into the public eye due to an outbreak started by a sloppy newly-made vampire who left his victims living instead of completely draining them. Vampires, and the Cold (people infected with the vampirism disease, but who haven’t yet tasted the blood of humans and so haven’t turned) are forced to live in ghettos called Coldtowns. In this setting, the story starts out with Tana waking up to a vampire-related disaster, which begins both a physical journey away from the disaster and a spiritual journey of self-discovery.

What I thought: This book was fast-paced and difficult to put down. It asked some interesting philosophical questions. Do we all have monsters within us? Do we crave immortality and beauty at the price of humanity? If not, why are so many people attracted to paranormal romances? Is it because we want the ultimate bad-boy? Or, in the opposite line of questioning, why do so many people seek good in what seems evil?T

Fire & Ash



Fire & Ash, by Jonathan Maberry

Reason for reading: This is the fourth and final book in a series that I’ve been reading. I’m making a goal this year to get farther in / finish as many series as possible

Summary: In this fourth and final book in the Rot & Ruin series, Benny, Chong, Lila, and Nix battle the genocidal Reapers while keeping the zombies at bay. But they might have to become monsters to fight monsters. And who is more of a monster: The zombies or the humans? 

Thoughts: This book was filled with action and adventure with a dash of intrigue. Like most Maberry books that I’ve read, the action got a little too much at times, to the point of feeling a little B-rate. But Maberry has some interesting plots and his philosophy about who really is the monster is quite interesting. Overall, a good finale. If you liked the first three books, you’ll like this one as well.