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  1. #641
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    Anyone ever read Juliette Benzoni historical romance novels? I recall going through my grandmother's set of the Marianne series at the family cottage one summer as a tween and quite enjoyed them, not so sure what I'd think now. The heroine, as you may expect, is devastatingly beautiful, smart, speaks several languages, is a master swordswoman, etc etc. Takes place in the time of Napolean, originally written in French. I think her Catherine series was the bigger one but I never read those.

  2. #642
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I know people who say they don't do any of those things, and I believe them unless I have good reason not to. Why not? We all have different tastes.
    Who said I don't have good reasons not to?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    Anyone ever read Juliette Benzoni historical romance novels? I recall going through my grandmother's set of the Marianne series at the family cottage one summer as a tween and quite enjoyed them, not so sure what I'd think now. The heroine, as you may expect, is devastatingly beautiful, smart, speaks several languages, is a master swordswoman, etc etc. Takes place in the time of Napolean, originally written in French. I think her Catherine series was the bigger one but I never read those.
    I have.
    I began them when I was in my teens, like you.
    I enjoyed them, also.

  4. #644
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    This was kind of interesting: The 24 Words That Are Most Known To Only Men Or Women

    I know the words on both lists, but I surely am much, much more familiar with the words on the women's list--some of them exclusively from books.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  5. #645

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post

    Moving on to the last volume of Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy which has been on the TBR pile for quite some time now.
    I've had the Balkan Trilogy on my must read list for years. I know Volume I is lost somewhere in this apartment. What do you think of it?

  6. #646

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    Currently reading Paul Cornell's LONDON FALLING, which is Mystery/Urban Fantasy mix. Really enjoying it. A friend recommended it to me after I zipped through Ben Aaronvich's "Peter Grant" series. Both series (LONDON FALLING is book one) are about hardboiled cops having to deal with supernatural events in London.

  7. #647

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    Quote Originally Posted by emason View Post
    I've had the Balkan Trilogy on my must read list for years. I know Volume I is lost somewhere in this apartment. What do you think of it?
    I have mixed feelings about Olivia Manning. I think she’s an excellent writer. I think she did, on the whole, paint a marvelous picture of expats in Bucharest, a city on the edge. I have trouble with the two protagonists, Harriet and Guy, who, still in their 20s, met and married and moved to Romania, all in about a month. I don’t really like either of them (Guy in particular) but they interact with a number of other, more interesting characters. Manning sums up the major problem in their marriage as follows:

    “…In Bucharest, where [Guy] continued his classes for Jewish studies in spite of Fascist demonstrations, said: ‘They need me. They have no one else. I must give them moral support,’ yet he seemed unable to understand that, living as they did, [Harriet], too, needed ‘moral support’. As she met every crisis alone, it seemed to her that she had been transported to a hostile world, then left to fend for herself…”

    Harriet’s the clear-eyed one, although her vision is often blurred by middle-class British provincialism and colonial-era prejudices. She views the Romanians as “foreigners” even though she, technically, is the foreigner. They are, in her eyes, barely European, decidedly “other”, and therefore suspect. To say nothing of inferior. Romanian history, language, culture just weren’t worth bothering about. I particularly remember a scene in the first novel where Manning was describing/denigrating a performance by a lautari singer who I’m sure was Maria Tănase.

    But I digress. Apologies if you made it this far. Something about this trilogy draws me in every time I pick it up, and for some reason, I have no trouble remembering where I left off, as annoying and slappable as Harriet and Guy may be. Harriet might be alarmed and repelled by the Balkans on the eve of Nazi invasion; she's not the most reliable or sympathetic narrator; still, there's something compelling readable about this trilogy, a combination of time, place, and literary talent.
    Last edited by Nomad; 06-25-2014 at 01:13 AM.
    My job requires me to be a juggler, but that does not mean that I enjoy working with clowns.

  8. #648

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    Nomad,

    Thanks so much for the reply. I remember not liking Guy and Harriet very much in the TV version, but I will definitely hunt out my copy of the first volume and put it in my TBR pile.

  9. #649

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    I'm whipping through Evanovich's "Top Secret 21" - which is basicall a verbal comic book - all dialog and action, with little description. The charm of "the Berg" seems to be missing entirely and even the main characters have become caricatures of themselves, shallow and predictable. Stephanie is still wallowing in Morelli/Ranger indecision. I still get a giggle now and then out of Stephanie's inept investigations but I'm questioning whether I will continue to buy the series in hardcover anymore, even from the discount warehouse.

    Thanks to the church garage sale, I have an embarrassingly large stack of TBRs waiting for me.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  10. #650

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I'm whipping through Evanovich's "Top Secret 21" - which is basicall a verbal comic book - all dialog and action, with little description. The charm of "the Berg" seems to be missing entirely and even the main characters have become caricatures of themselves, shallow and predictable. Stephanie is still wallowing in Morelli/Ranger indecision. I still get a giggle now and then out of Stephanie's inept investigations but I'm questioning whether I will continue to buy the series in hardcover anymore, even from the discount warehouse.
    The Stephanie Plum books were fun at first, but they are so repetitive that I gave up after 7 or 8. I also think that Stephanie needed a career change at least 10 years ago, nobody can stay that inept for that long. Wouldn't it have been fun if Evanovich had made her a crime reporter or something like that?

    As for Morelli/Ranger, I can't believe that's still being dragged out.

  11. #651
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    The Stephanie Plum books were fun at first, but they are so repetitive that I gave up after 7 or 8.
    I thought One for the Money was one of the funniest books I have ever read (I got kicked out of bed for giggling too much, IIRC) and it seemed to me that Stephanie did improve as a bounty hunter there for a while, but then Evanovich seemed to kind of get stuck in place. rfisher says that Evanovich's daughter is writing the books now, which I believe because even before she posted that I had thought there had been an abrupt change of voice in the books (and not for the better), so I stopped reading them, too.

    I'm reading Vienna Waltz, which is kind of cross between a Regency romance (there's a marriage of convenience that might be more than that--in more ways than one) and a spy novel/murder mystery, with lots of gossip and double dealing and those who are not as they seem. I can't decide if I like it or not; sometimes I do and then something will come up that makes me go . I figured out the relationship between the male protagonist and the murder victim chapters ago; the only mystery is why it's such a secret he can't even tell his wife/spying partner. But I guess that's why I keep reading, so I can find out.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  12. #652
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    The switch came when they co-wrote that short lived series about the girl in FL and race car driver. You could tell the two inputs and then the change in the Plum series. JE had been essentially phoning it in after the 12th book (the last I bought was 13 which was pitiful). Now, they are just recycled crap. The Plum fan sites were the first to pick up on the daughter's take over. JE is co-writing with Lee Goldberg (I think the 2nd or 3rd in the series is out this month), but I haven't read any of them to see if she's better. It's really strange that JE was a moderately successful romance writer for years (she's recycled all those into Plum as well), then wrote OFTM which was new, different, well written and established a new character for mystery fans. She always said she wrote romance for money and mystery because she like it. I think the real problem is she liked the money better. Once the fan base grew, she and her publisher realized, she didn't need a plot and could just write the same thing over and over and as long as she kept the fans on the Morelli/Ranger fence, they could keep making money. There's no way she'll choose until she writes the last book because that's really all that's left.

    Contrary to JD Robb/Nora Roberts Eve Dallas series which continues to be readable 20 some odd books in. Some of them are better than others, but there's usually a plot, the series moves forward to some degree, and I'm still willing to buy and read. Which is odd because I can't stand the Nora Roberts books.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  13. #653
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    Contrary to JD Robb/Nora Roberts Eve Dallas series which continues to be readable 20 some odd books in. Some of them are better than others, but there's usually a plot, the series moves forward to some degree, and I'm still willing to buy and read. Which is odd because I can't stand the Nora Roberts books.
    I've often wondered if these really aren't twins, masquerading as a single person. Love JD Robb, don't care for Nora Roberts.
    If this is to end in fire
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  14. #654
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    The Kite Runner is faaaaaaantastic. I couldn't put it down at ALL. I had to know what happened next THAT'S a good book!!
    Have a nice day!

  15. #655
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    This was kind of interesting: The 24 Words That Are Most Known To Only Men Or Women

    I know the words on both lists, but I surely am much, much more familiar with the words on the women's list--some of them exclusively from books.
    I know the words on both lists too. I guess because I had to learn to talk shop and watch a lot of action films? "Mascarpone" I surely learned from Gordon Ramsay?
    Have a nice day!

  16. #656

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I'm reading Vienna Waltz, which is kind of cross between a Regency romance (there's a marriage of convenience that might be more than that--in more ways than one) and a spy novel/murder mystery, with lots of gossip and double dealing and those who are not as they seem. I can't decide if I like it or not; sometimes I do and then something will come up that makes me go . I figured out the relationship between the male protagonist and the murder victim chapters ago; the only mystery is why it's such a secret he can't even tell his wife/spying partner. But I guess that's why I keep reading, so I can find out.
    I've read all the Teresa Grant books except "Vienna Waltz" and enjoyed them mostly. I think C.S. Harris does the Regency mystery genre better though; I love her Sebastien St. Cyr series to death and hopes she can continue to develop the characters foir a long long time.

    As for Nora Roberts, I used to enjoy her single-title mysteries more than the trilogies but that stopped a few years ago. Some of her triolgies weren't bad but I got tired of always having to wait for third one to come out to finish the story. I still read the JD Robb ones in hardcover but I'm not as fanatic as I was earlier on. The only thing that still surprises me is how little actual time has passed in the Dallas world over the 20+ books - something like three years?
    Last edited by zaphyre14; 06-26-2014 at 01:22 PM.
    I'd rather be thought of as absolutely ridiculous than as absolutely boring.

  17. #657
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I've read all the Teresa Grant books except "Vienna Waltz" and enjoyed them mostly. I think C.S. Harris does the Regency mystery genre better though; I love her Sebastien St. Cyr series to death and hopes she can continue to develop the characters foir a long long time.

    As for Nora Roberts, I used to enjoy her single-title mysteries more than the trilogies but that stopped a few years ago. Some of her triolgies weren't bad but I got tired of always having to wait for third one to come out to finish the story. I still read the JD Robb ones in hardcover but I'm not as fanatic as I was earlier on. The only thing that still surprises me is how little actual time has passed in the Dallas world over the 20+ books - something like three years?
    Each book is a month past the previous, but it's interesting to look at the progression in technology within the books (early 1990s to now). Even though they are set in the future, there are definite changes in technology available to her "e-men" and Roarke over the course of the series. I looked back through the series for when changes occurred. It's less obvious if you've read them for years, but quite jarring if you read the series straight through.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  18. #658
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    You can, IMO, skip The Bees by Laline Paull. The synopsis calls it "The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games." I'd call it more like "Watership Down meets Divergent ... and not nearly as good as either" (and I didn't particularly love Divergent all that much).

    I really wanted to love this book, and the premise is great. However the execution does not deliver. My biggest problem was with the mix of real-life zoological facts with ridiculous anthropomorphism. The bees eat off plates and use brushes and dustpans to clean up, to name but two. And while I had no problem whatsoever believing human-relatable motives and reactions in rabbits, or elephants (The White Bone) ... I just found it eye-rolling with bees.

    There are some interesting ideas buried here about belief/faith, as well as individual identity in an interdependent society. And the real-life dangers facing bee populations around the world are made graphic and personal. But there was so much wrong with how these themes were dealt with, I just can't recommend this one.

  19. #659
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    If you have gone the long way around Stephen King since "Carrie," I suggest you try his new one "Mr Mercedes." So far it's quite normal and very well written. He really does know how to write.
    Have a nice day!

  20. #660

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    On the plane, I finished Game by Barry Lyga. It's the second book in the I Hunt Killers series? trilogy? Not sure. Anyway, I liked I Hunt Killers a great deal, and Game starts off well, but then the writer has his characters go do stupid stuff to advance the plot. I'll probably read the next one, just to see how the stupid turns out (both main characters should be dead, but I'm sure they will worm their way out somehow...) and the character of Howie is hilarious.

    Oh, and I highly recommend The Charm School. One of my favorite books, which thankfully has never been ruined by a bad movie.

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