The January Unfinished Files. Plus, Paks is Coming!

A while back, I promised to start blogging about books that I have not finished reading for one reason or another. Since I have not traded or given these away yet, I have not given up on them entirely.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. Someone at the London publishing house (Harper Press) sent me this novel, and I really feel bad for not finishing it, but I’m finding it kind of strange. It’s written in the present tense — which I often find difficult outside of the thriller genre — and the plot was a bit meandering. Since last spring brought on a crush of novels in the mail, I tended to set aside novels that I found too difficult to get into. However, if I was not a reviewer, I probably would have kept reading. Here’s the blurb:

Look into the lace . . . When the eyes begin to fill with tears and the patience is long exhausted, there will appear a glimpse of something not quite seen… In this moment, an image will begin to form . . . in the space between what is real and what is only imagined.

Can you read your future in a piece of lace? All of the Whitney women can. But the last time Towner read, it killed her sister and nearly robbed Towner of her own sanity. Vowing never to read lace again, her resolve is tested when faced with the mysterious, unsolvable disappearance of her beloved Great Aunt Eva, Salem’s original Lace Reader. Told from opposing and often unreliable perspectives, the story engages the reader’s own beliefs. Should we listen to Towner, who may be losing her mind for the second time? Or should we believe John Rafferty, a no nonsense New York detective, who ran away from the city to a simpler place only to find himself inextricably involved in a psychic tug of war with all three generations of Whitney women? Does either have the whole story? Or does the truth lie somewhere in the swirling pattern of the lace?

Now of course, this book is a big bestseller. I do plan on finishing it one day.

Griffin’s Shadow by Leslie Ann Moore. I really enjoyed the first book, Griffin’s Daughter, and I recently promised the author’s publicist that I would try reading this novel again in anticipation of reading her third. I find it hard to give the reasons why I stopped reading this one without giving a lot of plot points away. Basically, I found the main character quite sympathetic in the first novel, but her situation has changed in the second novel, and I’m not as compelled. Plus, it’s hard to keep a romance interesting once the two characters have married.

Long ago the world was saved. The key to destruction was hidden. Now it is back concealed in a young girl.

Griffin’s Shadow continues the adventure of Jelena, a mixed race outcast raised as a servant who has found a new home among the elves. But her peaceful life is shattered as war looms and the power of the Nameless One grows. Set amidst shocking betrayals and uneasy alliances, hers is a story of courage and enduring love in the face of adversity.

Griffin’s Shadow is the second book in the award winning Griffin’s Daughter Trilogy. This epic tale tells of a young girl trying to find love and acceptance in a world of magic and adventure.

Publishers Weekly gave this novel quite a good review.

The King’s Gambit by John Maddox Roberts. I’m still barely into this one, but it’s slow going. The setting of Ancient Rome is quite attractive to me, and it’s the reason I bought the first two books in the series. However, I’m having a hard time connecting to the main character. He has surprisingly few connections, there are no female characters so far, and the mystery he is involved in isn’t very compelling to me. I do intend to keep reading.

Blackmail, corruption, treachery, murder–the glory that was Rome.

In this Edgar Award-nominated mystery, John Maddox Roberts takes readers back to a Rome filled with violence and evil. Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike, so the garroting of a lowly ex-slaved and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy. But Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger–highborn commander of the local vigiles–was determined to investigate. Despite official apathy, brazen bribes, and sinister threates, Decius uncovers a world of corruption at the highest levels of his government that threatens to destroy him and the government he serves.

The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner. I really loved the first book in this series, The Journal of Curious Letters, and this is the second book. I’m finding it very bleak, and without a lot of the charm from the first novel. The main characters find them in one awful situation after another, and it is getting wearying. It feels a lot like plot filler at this point. I know. That was harsh. But this is often a problem in second novels.

For some reason, I was unable to find a blurb for this one.

A Cavern of Black Ice by J. V. Jones. This is actually my second reading. I wanted to reread this book so I can read the second book, A Fortress of Grey Ice. However, I am finding this thick book a very slow read. There’s a lot of character introspection that just gets wearying after a while. In one scene, a villain is climbing down some stairs while thinking dastardly thoughts. And he climbs. And he thinks. And he climbs. And he thinks. For pages and pages. I find it hard to believe that this is the same author who wrote The Barbed Coil, a book that I love very much. Maybe she wanted to join the Bookstop Fantasy Novelist club.

And dang, that came out snarky.

New topic!

The new Paksenarrion novel — Oath of Fealty — is coming out soon, and I am so looking forward to reading it. When I think of all the wonderful novels that Elizabeth Moon has written since her original Deed of Paksenarrion, and when I think of how much her writing has undoubtedly improved since then (The Speed of Dark was wonderful) I am just all a-twitter. The cover is so beautiful; check it out at Barnes & Noble.

The first novel in the first series, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, is available for download at the Suvudu Free Library!

Hmm. I’m wondering if I should do the ultimate fan thing, and re-read (and review) all of the novels in anticipation of the big release? If I didn’t have all these other wonderful novels that were sent to me for free, I would seriously consider it!

7 thoughts on “The January Unfinished Files. Plus, Paks is Coming!

  1. The Roman mystery sounds interesting to me. Thought whether I’ll look it up, or just re-read every Gillian Bradshaw book I own is up to debate. (Pauses to reflect, once again, on the brilliance of Gillian Bradshaw.)

    • That’s my job! And my hand is twitching even now, reaching for that omnibus edition of The Deed of Paksenarrion, wanting to read it through one more time. Really, how long can it take? It’s only about three inches thick . . . in trade paperback size. . . .

  2. Oh, and did I mention? The cover is not only beautiful, but the girl on the cover looks just like Paks! The cover artist must be a fan or something, because he or she really nailed it.

    An excerpt is at Barnes and Noble. I didn’t see that before!

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