Archive | July, 2010

July, 29, 2010

29 Jul

Currently Playing

It’s nearly a month now that I quit playing Runes of Magic. A few days ago I read that they improved the account system. It seems it’s now possible to use different passwords for all the accounts you create by signing up for the game + the number of failed logins is restricted now. I don’t miss the game so I won’t go back. Besides, I still have other, equally serious, issues with it so no.

Anyway, I’m playing something else at the moment: Torchlight. It’s a Hack&Slay and looks and feels like the Diablo games but I don’t mind, I love those games. To be able to play an updated version is fun.

Here’s the trailer on youtube:

New Books

Last week I was tempted into buying books because I had a 11%-off coupon available. I wanted to buy much more books actually (for ~ 60€) but I managed to tame my “me-want!” side down to books for 30€. Phew!

Here are the books I bought:

Demon Blood by Meljean Brook

My favorite paranormal series.


There’s nothing more to say.

Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher

I really liked Furies of Calderon, the first book in the Codex Alera series. So much that I wanted to read the next one right away. Of course I couldn’t because I never (well, at least I can’t think of an example) order several books of a series before I’ve read at least one book in it. But I was very tempted to order all the remaining books in this series together with Academ’s Fury.

The Lawman’s Redemption by Pam Crooks

I like to read Western romances now and then and this sounded interesting: the hero is “as wild as the fierce Montana landscape he roams”* while the heroine is described as “all fine city clothes and polite manners.”* Plus, I like to try new-to-me authors from time to time.

*from Harlequin’s website

One Unashamed Night by Sophia James

Again, a new-to-me author. What made me take notice of the book is that the hero is described as slowly losing his eyesight. I also liked the excerpt = buy.

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas**

I like Kleypas’s contemporary voice and so it was only a question of when I would buy this book. I bought it this time because it was the only book I wanted that was in stock. I have to wait around three weeks for the others to arrive in my “me-want!” hands.

**already read


Anne Stuart – “Fire And Ice”

10 Jul


In the wake of a failed love affair, brainy beauty Jilly Lovitz takes off for Tokyo. She’s expecting to cry on her sister Summer’s shoulder, then spend a couple months blowing off steam in Japan. Instead, she’s snatched away on the back of a motorcycle, narrowly avoiding a grisly execution attempt meant for her sister and brother-in-law.

Her rescuer is Reno, the Committee’s most unpredictable agent. They’d met once before and the attraction was odd– tattooed Yakuza punk meets leggy California egghead–but electric. Now Reno and Jilly are pawns in a deadly tangle of assassination attempts, kidnappings and prisoner swaps that could put their steamy partnership on ice.

Fire and Ice is the fifth book in the “Ice” series and it’s the story of Jilly and Reno. They met for the first time about two years (I think) before the start of Ice and Fire in Ice Blue, the story of Jilly’s sister Summer and Reno’s cousin Takashi. It was just a short meeting, more a glimpse, but they were both equally fascinated by each other, as unlikely as that seemed based on their outward appearance and their differences in background. Then Reno also was present in Ice Storm, the story before this one, and Fire and Ice starts where Ice Storm ends: with someone after the agents of the Committee. And that’s why Takashi and Summer are not where Jilly expects them to be when she drops by for an unscheduled visit* and why it’s up to Reno to see that nothing happens to Jilly.

I thought Fire and Ice could be interesting with the pairing of the carefree, no rules apply Reno and the brainy, unsure of her appeal Jilly. And it worked for some time for me. But not enough to make me not realize that Fire and Ice is basically a damsel-in-distress story. That’s what keeps the story together because otherwise, the plot is all over the place. First Jilly and Reno run from someone who works against the Committee, then there’s trouble within the organization of Reno’s grandpa, and then there is last part that happens in the US and that feels like it’s an afterthought to make the story longer based on a rather flimsy connection to what happened before. Hmm.

Sidenote: Jilly is supposed to be incredible brainy but other than telling that it is so, there was no evidence of it. This is no dig at the damsel-in-distress slant of the story: Jilly’s clearly out of her depth in nearly all situations and besides the kind of smarts needed there is a different kind of smarts than she’s supposed to have I think, so I didn’t mind that most of the time. I just would have preferred more than the mere mentioning of degrees or field of studies to show that Jilly is indeed an egghead (especially because there are times she could have acted a bit smarter; see below).

As for the romance, amidst all that running, Jilly and Reno are afraid to admit they are attracted to each other. Jilly thinks she’s unattractive – tall for a woman and a kind of recluse thanks to her being so smart she always was years ahead in school compared to kids her age. Reno is a firm believer in “sex, not love” and fears Jilly is different and not just because of the dire warning from his cousin, the husband of Jilly’s sister, to stay the hell away from Jilly. And even if Reno respects nothing, he at least respects family. Which means his cold behavior feeds Jilly’s insecurities about herself even more. Much angst ensues.

But yes, amidst all that running, Jilly and Reno fall in love. At least the novel’s end says so. I have to admit, I don’t know why. As I said, I enjoyed their “romance” (and the angst) in the beginning but no matter how much they worried about the futility of their attraction, it didn’t show me when or why their fascination with their differences turned into love so uhm…at the end of the novel, Jilly and Reno’s romance still only was a strong fascination with each other’s differences in my eyes.

And yet oddly enough, I liked this novel better than Ice Storm despite Ice Storm having the more convincing romance and the tighter plot and Fire and Ice having a heroine who throws the gun at the villain instead of firing it.

On its plus side for me: the angst-ing in the beginning, the Japanese background and setting, and – I suspect – the fact that Reno is based on a character from Final Fantasy: Advent Children, a movie which in turn is based on Final Fantasy VII a video game for the PlayStation (see more here – link to “The Final Fantasy Wiki”). If I should name one thing that shaped my love for games it would have to be Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VIII to be precise (more on that in a later post perhaps). So that’s why I suspect that I’m a bit forgiving for Fire and Ice‘s shaky plot and romance: Fire and Ice gets a (major) point for “coolness” from me.

* Funny: In Ice Storm the reason why Reno shows up in London is that Jilly is coming to Japan to visit her sister for some time. The story in Ice Storm covers only a few days and Reno leaves at the end of it to look after Jilly in Japan, but in Fire and Ice Jilly’s visit to her sister is unplanned?

~ * * * ~

I think I’m done with novels by Anne Stuart. The only problem is, I loved Black Ice, the first novel in this series, and now I’m afraid to read it again and find it lacking.

June 2010

1 Jul

* * *Books* * *

Books bought / ordered:
Sue Grafton – R is for Ricochet
Kristin Hardy – The Boss’s Proposal
Susan Hill –The Vows of Silence
Carla Kelly – Marrying the Royal Marine
Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant – The Faceless One
Sarah Mayberry – Her Best Friend
Lucy Monroe – The Shy Bride
LaVyrle Spencer – Sweet Memories

Books read:
Helen Brooks – The Millionaire’s Christmas Wife (3/5)
Teresa Medeiros – Charming the Prince (3,5/5)
Sarah Mayberry – Her Best Friend (4/5)
Robin McKinley – Sunshine (3,5/5)
Patrick Rothfuss – The Name of the Wind (3/5; I plan to write a comment)
Anne Stuart – Fire and Ice (3,5/5; I plan to write comment)
Anne Stuart – Ice Storm (3/5)

  • TBR pile: + 1
  • I think I’m done with novels by Anne Stuart (except maybe one of her older historicals)

Favorite novel: no particular favorite this month

New-to-me authors: Robin McKinley, Patrick Rothfuss

New-to-me authors I would read again: Robin McKinley, (Patrick Rothfuss)

Comment: Books

  • Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry
    I enjoyed reading this novel. I liked the characters and the history and connection between Amy and Quinn. They are truly friends and the conflict revolves around the question if it’s worth to risk such a good friendship by admitting to the sexual attraction between them. I also liked that Quinn’s ex wasn’t painted as a bitch. Quinn’s marriage was a love marriage and this wasn’t glossed over, and yet despite that, it didn’t seem like Amy was only second best. How nice. Her Best Friend is a good friends-to-lovers story.

    Funny thing, when I hear Sarah Mayberry I think Blazes. While reading Her Best Friend I often wondered about the “tameness” of the story. The fact that it isn’t a Blaze registered only very late (I was nearly finished with the novel). Doh!

  • Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros
    This was one of the first books I bought in my romance reading life. After almost ten years (OMG…), I decided to read it again. The interesting thing to me is that my impression stayed nearly the same. I wasn’t wowed then, I’m not wowed now. I still think it is a well written novel but the humor is still too “silly” for my taste. For example, the heroine and the hero’s children play pranks like putting flour in his helmet to make the hero surrender (or whatever). Fortunately, these episodes don’t take up all of the novel’s pages so I wasn’t “annoyed” to much. Overall, the novel was too light for me, probably because the humor didn’t completely work for me. There are touches of Cinderella in the story and it’s nice that both the hero and the heroine kind of grow (he learns that love isn’t something to fear; she learns to stand up for herself, especially against her step-mother). Charming the Prince was an enjoyable read but there is nothing special that compels me to read it again soon.

* * *Games* * *

Games bought:

Games played:
Runes of Magic (PC)
Persona 4 (PS2)

Comments: Games