reading

D is for Death Scenes

adult_human_skull_-_asian_male_thumbnail__60388.1530765307.500.659Death scenes should be meaningful, yes? I think so. If not meaningful, they should at least be memorable. They stick with you. Maybe you return to it, over and over again in some fashion.

These are some of the most memorable death scenes I recall.

  1. Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. I read this book over and over again in childhood. The death of Charlotte – the first time I heard it, it was very shocking. Less shocking, obviously, the second and third and fourth time I reread it. But I think her death is one of the reasons why I reread this book so often.
  2. Sergeant Bothari from the Miles Vorkosigan books. He was both a rapist, and if I remember the books right, a victim of rape. He was a torturer and also mentally disabled. He also protected Miles throughout his childhood. Yet I feel his death was just. Perhaps his life is a tragedy, always heading that since birth.
  3. Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife. I had a lot of problems with this book, but for some reason Henry’s death sticks out in my mind. Henry loses his feet and then is shot to death while time traveling by his wife’s brother. His death seems more memorable to me then the whole book.  Which is a bit odd, I suppose.
  4. Rue from the Hunger Games. Really, there were a lot of deaths in this series, but who can forget this scene? And how important it was to the rest of the series?
  5. Dorothea from Black Jewels. Anne Bishop does revenge really, really well. Dorothea is enemy number one in this series and her death was perfect.
fantasy · reading · science fiction

List of Favorite Fathers

Today is Father’s Day. Which got me thinking about the fathers in the books I read.

If I had to pick three fathers from the books I have read, what would I pick?

After some thought I came up with these:

  1. Aral Vorkosigan from the Miles Vor series by Lois McMaster Bujold. He has his own book and is the father to one of most amazing characters I’ve read. Fathering Miles has to be a difficult task – he was born disabled and is wilful and is hardly ever as careful as he should be.
  2. Saetan Daemon SaDiablo. He is the father of three main characters in the Black Jewels series by Anne Bishop – one my favorite series ever.
  3. Moon from the Raksura books by Martha Wells. This is one of the most creative series I’ve ever read and well-written, too. The guy had a few kids when the last book starts and they had been trying for the last couple of books. So that was nice. I would have liked to see more interactions with the kids – but I don’t suppose babies and adventures go together very well.

 

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General

Z is for Zippy Last Lines

Ten of the zippiest last lines you will ever read! They are all from my favorite books. The Black Jewels trilogy, some from the Vor books by Lois McMaster Bujold and some books by Joey W. Hill. I have read all of these again and again and again.

  1. His heart held on fiercely to Jaenelle‘s soft, sighing caress of his name. Everything has a price. – Daughter of the Blood, book 1 of the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
  2. Gathering up his shredded courage, he walked toward the voices, toward the promise. Walked out of the Twisted Kingdom. – Heir to the Shadows, book 2 of the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
  3. This time, when she said his name, it sounded like a promise, like a lovely caress. – Queen of Darkness, book 3 of the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop
  4. It wasn’t your life again you found, going on. It was your life anew. And it wasn’t at all what he’d been expecting. His slow smile deepened. He was beginning to be very curious about his future. – Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold
  5. Really? You’d – you’d – yes, I’d be interested.” Kostolitz feigned a casual air. “Sure.” He looked suddenly much more cheerful. Miles smiled. – The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
  6. “They must be rounding up the strays for dinner. Shall we go in, milady?” – A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold.
  7. Miles settled back with slitted eyes, and watched the shining circle spin like planets. – Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold.
  8. In that moment, he knew any words of his would honor the truth as much as those flowery sonnets. “I think we did that.”  – Vampire Trinity by Joey W. Hill
  9. Strong, sexy exterior and steel core, with a generous, shy heart that was all his. Forever. His family. – Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill
  10. He grinned, caught her lips in a kiss, swung her up in his arms. “Try it, sugar. Just try it.” – Natural Law by Joey W. Hill

The End

What are some of your favorite last lines?

General · reading

Favorite Reads of 2011

John is hosting a bloghop where you list the best books your read in 2011. Not books that were published in 2011, but ones I read this year. That’s good, as I read a few older books this year. 😉 I am listing them randomly.

I was going to post ten, but I can’t make up my mind on the last one. Decided to leave it out. I was between Bound by a Vampire Queen by Joey W. Hill or New York to Dallas by JD Robb.

  1. Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton. In high school, the Anita Blake series was on my automatic read list. (I spent months waiting for the library to get me her backlist! Months!) But not lately because, well, the sex kind of took over. But this book is different; there is only 1 sex scene and there are signs the old Anita Blake is back. I put this book is on this list out of sheer relief. Hit List isn’t my last AB book! Plus, Edward and Olaf are in it. My favorite assassin and the smitten serial killer.
  2. Play Dead by John Levitt. This is the fourth and possibly last book in this series. Play Dead is on this list because he totally destroys his characters at the end. He takes away their magic. How many urban fantasies are there where the main characters lose all their magic? Not many. Got to admire that. Plus, it’s just a really good adventure.
  3. Twilight’s Dawn by Anne Bishop. This is a short story collection by Anne Bishop, set in her Black Jewels world. It is fantastic. It came out this year, but I’ve already reread each story several times. I even blogged about it here.
  4. Divide & Conquer by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. This is the fairly intense romantic suspense,  fourth in the series and the last one Madeleine Urban is cowriting. Abigail Roux is on her own from here on out. The main characters, Ty and Zane, are FBI agents and partners. Zane finally admits he loves Ty. Ty thinks it’s passion talking at first, but he believes Zane the second time. 😉 IMO, it’s got just the right mix of romance and suspense. Bombs and robberies and mischief. Plus, Ty comes out to his friends from when he was a marine.
  5. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay. This is the first book I’ve read by him and it blew me away. It’s hard to describe.  The world is inspired by China’s Tang dynasty. The premise sounds ridiculous – a gift of 250 horses turns the main character  into a target – but it’s not. The world is gorgeous, I like the main character. It’s not the fastest book in the world and the ending is a bit rushed, but it is still pretty amazing. The way he switches between present and past tense is pretty interesting. I am going to read his other stuff soon.
  6. Carnelians by Catherine Asaro. This is the latest in a series I’ve been following for a long, long time. Don’t recall how many books there are, but a lot. It brings together ideas from books she wrote a long time ago. With this book, I can believe peace is finally possibly in this world. Maybe not in the character’s lifetime, but at some point.
  7. Dune by Frank Herbert. Still as good as the day it was first published. 😉
  8. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. This is the book I wanted all of last year (and the year before that!). It is a middle book and has some of the symptoms of a middle book, but I am not disappointed. Considering how long I’d wanted it and how excellent the first book was, that’s saying something.
  9. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen. I posted something on G+ and a few people recommended this book to me. I read the preview on Google Books and then decided to get the whole thing. I learned lots and lots of things I never knew before. Some of it bears a little more investigation on my part, but still worth reading.
fantasy · General · reading

Teaser Tuesday: Kaeleer’s Heart

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I was rereading this yesterday.

My Teasers:

Moon’s blood only throws my offstride three days out of a month. A cock makes a man potentially stupid at any hour of the of any day.

– Kaeleer’s Heart by Anne Bishop

Book Review · fantasy · reading

Book Review: Twilight’s Dawn

Twilight’s Dawn is the latest in the black jewels series. Twilight’s Dawn is not stand alone,  but I don’t think it was supposed to be. It is an anthology and it has four stories: Winsol Gifts, Shades of Honor, Family and The High Lord’s Daughter. Fair warning, there are lots of spoilers.

They are all good, but Shades of Honor is probably my favorite. For one thing, it answers the question raised in another Black Jewels book: what did Falonar do? Well, it turns out Falonar is a perfect ass. He’s not totally without honor (if he was, Janelle would’ve known) but he has a very different interpretation of honor from Lucivar. I think Lucivar should have killed him, but the death Daemon gave him is probably better. Lucivar would’ve given him a cleaner death. Second, I really loved Rainier here. He enters a new phase of his life. I, personally, would love to see a whole novel about him. Third, I liked the glimpse into Eyrien society.

The High Lord’s Daughter probably caused the most furor in the blog-sphere. I don’t get it. I really don’t get why people are upset. Jaenelle dies. But she was always going to die. And she was going to die before her first century, because (1) she is from the short-lived races and (2) the short-lived races die before their 100th birthday. That was stated from the first, and Anne Bishop is too good a writer to finagle a way around her own words.

Another reason a lot of people got upset is that Surreal married Daemon. This surprised me, but I went with it. Okay, so she’s not the great love of Daemon’s life, but Jaenelle is dead and he deserves better than to be alone. Surreal deserves better than to be alone, too, and most men are wary of being with her forever and ever (because is a mixture of long and short lived races, and she said no man wants that for his children).

The best thing about this story is their daughter, Jaenelle Saetien, and the fact that she is also dreams made flesh.

Plus, the black jewels books are not romances and I can’t say I ever really expected a happy ever after for the characters.

Winsol Gifts is a sweet story, but a little disappointing. Best part is when Daemon realizes Tersa is both his and Lucivar’s mother. It is worth reading for that alone. But the ending is disappointing because it seems incomplete. I mean, Daemon gets a present from his father and can’t open it because it is locked and he doesn’t have the key. I really want to know: what present did Daemon get? It’s driving me crazy.

Family is good, too. Mostly because Jaenelle goes back to being a Queen.

A lot of people think this is the last book in the series, but I disagree. There are decades between Family and The High Lord’s Daughter. There have to be lots of stories in that time period. And there is Rainer. He lives and dies and that story hasn’t been told, either. Besides, as important as Jaenelle as to this series, there are other characters (The Invisible Ring doesn’t include Jaenelle at all!) Ms. Bishop can write stories about any of them.

fantasy · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Twilight’s Dawn

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

But whether they resented her, were relived for themselves, or were happy that the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan had a steady sexual companion, they had all been careful of how they approached her.

Not because they felt threatened be her, Surreal thought with a dollop of resentment, but because the consequences of pissing off Daemon or Lucivar right now were bound to be painful – and messy.

– Twilight’s Dawn, The High Lord’s Daughter, by Anne Bishop