Friday, April 13, 2012

Update and Copper Beach Review

1. Dear Google, I hate Blogger's new dashboard.  It sucks.

2. Well, as to where I've been the last few weeks, I've either been obsessively studying for prelims, taking prelims, or obsessively checking my email waiting for preliminary exam results.  The good news is that I passed the written exams!  I take my 18th Century oral exam on 19 April, and am still waiting for the Victorian exam to be scheduled, but I feel much more confident going into orals than I did going into the written exams.  It's one last hurdle.

3. In the meantime, I've really got to get cracking on my dissertation prospectus, as it's due at the end of the month, but let's face it, I kick ass when it comes to deadlines.

4. In other news this week, I was also awarded the McDaniel Award for Excellence in Teaching by my department, which recognizes excellence in teaching by graduate students.  This was a huge honor, and I was blessed to have a good friend and mentor present me with the award at the Liberal Arts Award Ceremony yesterday.  I certainly could not have asked for a better role model as either a grad student or a teacher.  Love you, A.T.!

5. I have so many reviews to catch up on.  In the next few weeks, I have several galley reviews to post for the following books:

Gravity: How the Weakest Force in the Universe Shaped Our Lives by Brian Clegg
Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live Action Role-Playing Games by Lizzie Stark
Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise by Mark Clark
Scotsmen Prefer Blondes by Sara Ramsay

So those are on the immediate to-do list for the next few weeks, starting with Brian Clegg's Gravity.

6. I've been able to take some really good advantage of the used bookstore and the used book section at Hastings recently.  I've come up with the first novels in some series by Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole, I managed to find my own copy of The Help, which I've been dying to read.  I got an awesome book called Star Trek and Philosophy: The Wrath of Kant (yes, it was the pun that won me over).  And I found one of Stephanie Lauren's Cynster novels that I've NEVER read.  I didn't think there was one out there I hadn't read, but I have a copy of it now too!

Plus, the university library has opened a new popular reading collection for new books that come in, which makes just browsing the shelves looking for something to read much easier.  Right now, I checked out Sherrilyn Kenyon's Retribution (again, since I didn't get to it last time) and Charlene Harris' Dead Reckoning.  Oh, and did I mention that I finally found a used paperback copy of Janet Evanovich's Smokin' Seventeen?  I realize that a lot of time my reviews are way behind the publication dates of novels, but there you go.

And--let's not forget that I've read Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz recently too, and I need to review that as well.

7. Well, on that note, there's no time like the present.  So, Copper Beach!  I borrowed this from the library's popular reading collection as well, and I did enjoy it.  It's the first book in Krentz's Dark Legacy Trilogy and the plot is fairly standard--Abby is a rare book seller with psychic powers, Sam Coppersmith is after a book to help his family understand/keep bad guys from getting the power to unlock the psychic power in certain rocks his family owns.  The characters are your stock romance novel characters, and that's just fine--after all, that's what we read romance novels for--the feisty female who needs protection but doesn't want it, and the alpha male who is determined to provide that protection, be it from physical or emotional bad stuff.

What was difficult was transitioning from Krentz's Arcane Society series to this one, as this one doesn't seem to fit into the Arcane Society universe.  There is no mention of the aforementioned Arcane Society or Jones and Jones.  But Krentz seems to still be using a lot of the same ideas about psychic phenomenon that she developed while writing the Arcane Society books, such as dreamlight energy.  This makes me wonder if this will intersect back in with Arcane Society or if she's working on creating a new universe here.

To be honest, I'm not upset that Krentz is moving away from the Arcane Society.  The last few novels have been somewhat disappointing: you can see my reviews of Quicksilver and In Too Deep and  Canyons of the Night at the links provided.  But especially after reading In Too Deep and Canyons of the Night, I had really started to wonder if the Arcane Society stories were kind of played out, especially after In Too Deep, which just fell kind of flat for me.  Copper Beach was much more--I keep wanting to type flavorful here.  Flavorful in that you got lots of stuff besides the romance and mystery.  Sam had to come and help rescue Abby from her insane family, for example.  There was much more depth to this novel than there has been to the last few Arcane Society books, and that's a definite improvement in my view.

Copper Beach - B+

ETA: I should also note that I need to review Laurie King's Pirate King, but that'll have to wait until later.  :D

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