Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Club Bait

Last night, I finished reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh's debut novel 'The Language of Flowers'. This is one of those books that has been hyped so much that I went into the reading experience with unnaturally inflated expectations. And, for a book that is so obviously aimed at readers whose tastes are very different from mine, I found myself enjoying it more than I expected to. To me, it wasn't necessarily deserving of all the excitement surrounding it, but, as I said, I'm really not the target audience for this kind of book. There were some parts that did not ring true to me (aside from the fact that the protagonist apparently had some sort of flower magic, because I can totally get behind magic) and those are the things that kept this from being a book I could heartily recommend. It's a good read, though, and one you could share with your mom or your grandma or, you know, your Book Club.

I also just finished reading Darynda Jones's 'Second Grave on the Left' and I'm feeling kinda "meh" about it. I really want to love this series, since it has so much that would normally really appeal to me in a paranormal romance or an urban fantasy, but I don't think it's quite settled on what kind of series it really wants to be. There's always a good mystery at the core, and that mystery is completely mundane and not connected to the supernatural, except in that our protagonist, Charley Davidson (Yeah. I know. I hate these kinds of "clever" names, too. Go on, roll your eyes. You can bet I did the first time I saw it.) is not only a P.I., but also the Grim Reaper. And, she's madly attracted to the actual Son of Satan, whose body is, for various reasons, out of reach, but he comes to visit her in spirit and still manages to do naughty things to her girly bits. And the covers are flat-out awesome. But, although the mystery/urban fantasy elements work well, the central "romance" doesn't, quite. And, to be brutally honest, the books are published initially in hardcover, even though they feel very much like they should be, at best, trade paperback originals. I can see this series developing quite a following if it had started out, like Patricia Briggs or Kim Harrison, as paperback originals and graduated to hardcover releases once its audience had been established. But, that's not Ms. Jones's fault and the books are entertaining and worth a few hours of your time. I'd just recommend waiting for the paperback or getting them from the library.

Since I finished 'Second Grave' while I was on the train home, I now need to go scan my TBR stack to figure out what to read next. I'm just not sure what I'm in the mood for, so who knows what I'll write about tomorrow.

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