February Reviews: Part 1

Okay, I knew I was a reading addict, but even I'm a bit dazed by the number of books I've read in the last week or so. (12 since last Friday alone... ahh!)

There are some good reasons for the sharp uptick though.

1. Vacation. Two six hour car rides, waiting for my husband to finish a hour-and-a-half meeting, and one glorious Sunday afternoon with few interruptions. As far as reading time goes, it was practically Mecca.

2. Recovering from vacation. I did not (for various reasons) get much sleep last weekend. And while I got a lot of reading time, it was almost always in the presence of other people.

In fact I was not alone for more than an hour the whole four days. (The Shrinking Violets would be horrified!) So of course the first thing I did when I got back was take some serious alone time. With a book or two, of course...

3. Mystery series, plural. That's all I've been reading lately: the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus books, the Rabbi Small mysteries and the Meg Langslow bird series by Donna Andrews. And when I'm reading a series, I tend to be very focused. Not to mention that mysteries are not generally heavy reading. (Especially the Rabbi books.)

None of this of course changes the fact that I've read 11 new books since the beginning of February.

Wow, I just read that sentence again. *shakes head* And the number of new books is going to go up because I just put a bunch of books on hold at the library.


The upshot of all of this is that is I have to spend the next two or three blog posts giving you reviews. So I apologize ahead of time...

Let's get started:

Click Here For Murder (Turing Hopper, #2) Click Here For Murder (Turing Hopper, #2) Donna Andrews

I see by scanning past posts that I have not reviewed the first book in this new mystery series, which means I read it in 2008. So a brief recap: Turing Hopper is an Artificial Intelligence Personality who has achieved both sentience and the ability to think critically. After solving the mystery of her disappearing programmer in the first book, Turing wants to download herself into a different system to attain a measure of protection and independence. But when one of her co-workers is murdered, her plans are put on hold, as she tries to solve the murder, and protect her system from a ruthless and determined hacker.

I really like these books. Donna Andrews does a fine job of creating a likable protagonist, despite the limitations of having her be a computer program. These limitations are more apparent in the second book, and some of the novelty has worn off. However, a lovely plot twist at the end left me anxious to read the next book in the series, so all is not lost.

Rating: 3 stars

Incantation (Hardcover) Incantation Alice Hoffman

I found it very hard to critique this story--set in 16th century Spain--about a girl named Estrella who discovers that her family are secret Jews. It's an vivid story that starts with a book burning and goes through love, betrayal and tragedy.

This is one of those rare books that I liked mainly for the language. The plot didn't grab me as much as I wanted it to, and I had a hard time getting invested in the character. However he prose itself is detailed and lovely and resonates with passion. It was the passion that stayed with me. Two weeks later I couldn't remember the main character's name, but I can still remember the emotions I felt while reading the book.

Rating: 3 stars

Garden Spells (Hardcover) Garden Spells Sarah Addison Allen

Speaking of lovely prose, I was very impressed with this book. It's about a family with odd magical gifts, the garden they take care of, and the town that they live in. The gifts were my favorite part: there's an older woman who gives you exactly what you need before you know you need it, a woman who can read people from their hairstyle and a little girl who always knows where things--and people--belong.

The book is incredibly balanced between utterly believable and sympathetic characters and subtle dreamlike fantasy. I picked it off the Newer Reads rack while waiting in line at the library, and now the author's on my must-read list. I only hope she wrote more...

Rating: 4 stars

Okay, I declare this post to be long enough. I'll be back on Wednesday with more books, and you can all enjoy my current mystery obsession.

In the meantime, can anyone tell me WHY February has that awful extra r?


  1. Because everyone loves exceptions to the rule! It makes us feel smart!

  2. But misspelling February because I forgot the "r" doesn't make me feel smart at all! :-) I seriously almost titled this post "Febuary reviews" because my spellchecker doesn't to titles. THAT would have been funny...

  3. You are a book reading fiend!! Someday I hope to have a book of my own in your stack! :)

  4. Hecks, yeah! Suitably autographed of course...

  5. Wow, you're lucky to find all that reading time! It seems I'm always trying to sneak in a page or two at most here and there in my day. I like what you said in your second review, that you couldn't remember the character's name, but remembered the emotion you felt while reading. Sometimes that seems like what really matters with a book, the way it moves you, more than anything else. Transporting you somewhere, somehow, literally or figuratively.

  6. Here and there is how I read a lot of the time. On my ten minute break at work, right before I go to bed, at stoplights, etc. There's always a book somewhere about my person, so if I have to wait in line or get stuck somewhere, I have built in entertainment!

  7. It's Wednesday, my friend. Where's your post??? :)

  8. Coleen- Ah, but think of all the adventures you're having!

    Amy- It's coming, it's coming... :-)


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