Saturday, September 29, 2018

Recent Thriftbooks Book Haul

I haven’t done a book haul in a hot minute.  I haven’t actually WRITTEN a blog post in an extra hot minute.  So I said, “what the hee-hah”.  I’ll combine the two forces (go Captain Planet), and see what the hell I can get out of the experience.  Mainly, I’m looking for my mojo for writing blog posts back.  I miss it.  And, considering in July I paid for another year of ownership of my domain name, I’ve got to get something here back in order...

(Already it feels good pounding on the keys.) 

So I’m going to share my recent purchases from Thriftbooks.  I have a few criticisms with the site–as a consumer.  Yet, I still use it because the books are in fairly good condition.  Also they're cheap and you get free shipping on orders $10 and over, which takes some of the guilt of purchasing books you'll take forever to even read away.  So they–essentially–have your ass over a barrel.  Anyway, I was inspired by these picks for a few different reasons, and I’ll share those reasons as I move along in the post.  And as always, for those of you who are familiar with the books, drop me a comment concerning your thoughts (though try not to spoil them) on each.  I always love hearing from other readers.

So one overarching reason I purchased at least three of the books is because I checked them out from my public library–though I never found myself in the mood to read them.  Or, in the case of Moon Called, I started reading the book a day before J. D. Robb’s latest release [Leverage in Death] came out.  Which, essentially, halted the whole process because everything stops with a new In Death release.  And I mean EVERYTHING, bih.

Nonetheless, here goes…

1.  Trading in Danger (Vatta's War #1) by Elizabeth Moon
"Kylara Vatta is the only daughter in a family full of sons, and her father’s only child to buck tradition by choosing a military career instead of joining the family business. For Ky, it’s no contest: Even running the prestigious Vatta Transport Ltd. shipping concern can’t hold a candle to shipping out as an officer aboard an interstellar cruiser. It’s adventure, not commerce, that stirs her soul. And despite her family’s misgivings, there can be no doubt that a Vatta in the service will prove a valuable asset. But with a single error in judgment, it all comes crumbling down."
I initially picked Moon's Trading in Danger up at my public library–upon the recommendation of another BookTuber sharing her favorite space opera titles.  With that said, after having read three books in author Tanya Huff’s Valor Confederation series (much more on my love of that series later), featuring a female space marine, I disappointingly found myself dropping out of Trading in Danger 100 pages in.  

The main protagonist, Kylara was about as bland and dry of spirit and personality as mawkish grits.  No butter.  No salt.  Hell, no artificial flavor.  I was bored with her, as well as the story.  And for a science fiction book driving through the expanse of space and its infinite realms of exploration, I never felt its character.  Adjacently, I was missing the tech!  When reading science fiction I want my tech!  Wow me.  Woo me.  Open the ignorance of my brain.  Needless to say, I was prepared to give this book up.  But I reconsidered a couple of things.  Given I’m new to the space opera sub-genre, I decided to buy a copy of Trading in Danger for the future instead.  To, at least, get past the first book and follow through with my instincts that the series gets better throughout subsequent titles.  I'm determined to find a happy space in reading space operas.

2.  Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs
"Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, and while she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.
But Mercy’s two worlds are colliding. A half-starved teenage boy arrives at her shop looking for work, only to reveal that he’s a newly changed werewolf—on the run and desperately trying to control his animal instincts. Mercy asks her neighbor Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for assistance. 
But Mercy’s act of kindness has unexpected consequences that leave her no choice but to seek help from those she once considered family—the werewolves who abandoned her..."
I’m semi-sorta late when it comes to Patricia Briggs's urban fantasy skinwalker series (the main protagonist is a female were-coyote).  The truth is I bought this book way back in 2007, during the wake of discovering staple urban fantasy authors like Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison.  It didn’t take long for me to return Moon Called to get my money back–without having read it.

I think at the time I was just swamped with reading Hamilton (both her Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series simultaneously) and Harrison (Rachel Morgan series) that I had no room for another urban fantasy set.  Nonetheless, Briggs has always been on my mind.  She's also been recommended to me countless times throughout the years.  Finally, after a decade, I'm giving her a proper chance.  Especially considering how I pretty much can’t stand Harrison and Hamilton’s work now.  This may very well be right on time to supplement my lost urban fantasy itch.

3.  From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell

"There is nothing extraordinary about Margaret Parsons, a timid housewife in the quiet town of Kingsmarkham, a woman devoted to her garden, her kitchen, her husband. Except that Margaret Parsons is dead, brutally strangled, her body abandoned in the nearby woods.  
Who would kill someone with nothing to hide? Inspector Wexford, the formidable chief of police, feels baffled -- until he discovers Margaret's dark secret: a trove of rare books, each volume breathlessly inscribed by a passionate lover identified only as Doon. As Wexford delves deeper into both Mrs. Parsons’ past and the wary community circling round her memory like wolves, the case builds with relentless momentum to a surprise finale as clever as it is blindsiding." 

I haven’t read many mysteries this summer (choosing to take on sci-fi and urban fantasy for a change).  However, I did manage to squeeze in the third book in English crime writer P. D. James’s Adam Dalgliesh series.  And boy let me tell you how I finally fell in love with Dalgliesh.  Not that I dislike one of the most prolific writers and characters in this genre.  A few years ago I simply struggled through reading the previous book in the series, A Mind to MurderUnnatural Causes exalted that struggle.  

Anyway, a switch finally pulled in my brain how it was time to give the equality prolific and incredible (as well as English) author Ruth Rendell her due.  Beginning with the first book in her 1964 Chief Inspector Wexford series, From Doon with Death.  I didn’t get to finish it per a library check out, but now I have my own copy to fulfill my thirst for Rendell on my own time.

Crazy fact: Apparently Rendell and I share birth dates.  Cool shit.  I guess...

"This prequel to The Trade Pact Universe series begins in a time before the Clan had learned how to manipulate the M?hir to travel between worlds. Aliens have begun to explore the world of Cersi, upsetting the delicate balance between the Clan and the two other powerful races who coexist by set rules. And one young woman is on the verge of finding the forbidden secret of the M?hir? a discovery that could prove the salvation or ruin of her entire species."
I spent the summer trying to find my place in sci-fi/fantasy novels.  Many came.  Many failed.  Many got sold the hell off.  Jean Johnson bored me to tears with the first book in her Salik War [The Terrans] space opera series.  Anne McCaffrey bored me with the first book in her Catteni Sequence Series, Freedom's Landing.  The ever transcending Grass by Sheri S. Tepper couldn’t keep my eyes open.  And I got to the last 100 pages of Sara Douglass’s The Wayfarer Redemption before I realized I actually didn’t even care about the characters or book.  Needless to say, the struggle is real.  Czerneda came to my radar while still in the browsing phase for more science fiction reads to… well… click with me.  I saw a book of hers at the bookstore, noted the name, did research, and saw that Reap the Wild Wind sounded like it had potential.  Now let’s see where it goes…

"When Marti MacAlister and her partner Matthew "Vik" Jessenovik respond to a report of skeletal remains found on a wooded piece of land, the pair has no idea it's just the first indication of a convoluted case of murder and conspiracy dating back hundreds of years. The skeleton turns out to be quite a mystery in itself, leading Native American groups and historians specializing in the Underground Railroad to flock to the site. 
Unfortunately for all involved, the violence associated with the area is not confined to the distant past, and soon reports of mysterious accidents and suspicious deaths are coming in faster than Marti would like. A small contingent of locals even swears the land is haunted by a ghost intent on exacting a vicious revenge for some unknown grievance. Marti knows there must be a more traditional explanation, and it's her job to find out what it is. Eleanor Taylor Bland is at the top of her form in this taut, well-researched, suspenseful entry in her award-winning Marti MacAlister series."
Probably the only author I’m familiar with on this list is Bland.  As many of you know I celebrate black women authors taking on the mystery genre.  Having recently finished the debut of Tracy Clark’s new series, Broken Places (A Chicago Mystery), I found myself back in the crave of Bland’s long-running also Chicago-based series.  Bland is an icon here.  I’m only three books away from the end of the series and felt moved to take another step.

And that's it for my latest Thriftbooks purchases.  Still got plenty in cart awaiting that one BUY click.  That'll have to wait until another time, though.  So many books.  So little time.  And so much coffee on the side.

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