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October 30, 2008

Ah, the joys of playing catch-up.  I seem to be doing WiB in bursts during my daughter’s various social activities.  This time, it’s sewing lessons, for I am about as domestic as…now I’m trying to remember if Bridget Jones was totally crap at keeping her house up.  I bet she was.

Domina by Barbara Wood isn’t unlike another one of her novels, Soul Flame, which might have been the first thing of hers I’d read.  (It’s also possible I read Butterfly before that, but I had no idea it was her because she was using a pseudonym because the book was totally awesome trash, from what I remember, and I will remember more soon because I found it at the used bookstore the other day.)  Both books revolve around women interested in medicine, Soul Flame in the time of Caesar Augustus, and Domina in Victorian England.  Domina follows Samantha Hargrave, who is, of course, extraordinarily beautiful, as she struggles to be accepted as a doctor by a society that considered women physically and mentally incapable for the job.  In so many ways, the Victorian era is even more repressive than Ancient Rome.  Oh, how we love to go forward as the human race, don’t we?  Domina and Soul Flame shared enough plot points that I felt that I could predict where the book was going, but I’d be lying if I said Wood didn’t manage to surprise me at times.  Other than that, it’s an engrossing read–oh, and a gross read at times as well.  There was one part where I just had to skim, practically skip, but I’m a big wimp now.  Loved this book.  Highly recommended, especially for those who grew up in the ’80s reading the big, time spanning dramas.

Vampire Loves by Joann Sfar was a cute graphic novel about an old-fashioned vampire in a world of ghouls, monsters, and tree people.  However, don’t confuse “cute” with “childlike.”  There are a couple of adult themes going on.  It’s nice to read something translated every once in a while, especially with graphic novels.  A great pick-up for Halloween, e-friends!

Let’s see, what else: I read In Milton Lumky Territory by Philip K. Dick, one of his straight-up fictions (rather than his usual sci fi).  It’s always strange to read a new PKD, because you assume that after an author dies, only a few works will show up in your library, not a VC Andrews amount.  And SHE’S got a ghostwriter.  But that’s just my paranoia, I suppose.  This is the fairly depressing story of a traveling salesman who ups and marries some chick sort of randomly and quickly and then they try to figure out what’s up with them and his job.  If there’s one thing that’s annoying about PKD books, it’s the passivity and manipulation in the female characters.  Is it the time period, or Dick?  I don’t know.

I decided to switch it up a bit by reading Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Running Out of Time.  It’s one of the few of her books I haven’t read (besides the Forbidden Children series, of which my old library system didn’t have the SECOND-what the heck?), and I was looking forward to it.  It’s another one of those books where I wish I hadn’t read the back–and I seem to be saying that a lot lately–because I would’ve like to have been surprised.  So I will not surprise you myself; I will just give you the bare facts, easily read in the first couple pages: Jessie lives with her family in a small village 1840s Ohio and some of her classmates are starting to get sick–really sick–and it falls to Jessie to help them.  LOVED this book.  It was a fast-paced read from start to finish, great for reluctant young readers.  

Then I finally got my hands on Jinx, the third Bigtime book by Jennifer Estep.  I loooove Bigtime.  Romance + superheroes + old-school superhero cheese = superfun!  Jinx builds on Estep’s universe where superheroes are…pretty much the people you expect, and yet somehow no one really notices.  Although I have to say, she got me once with this one, but I won’t tell you which character.  Silly me!  The signs were there, but I just didn’t want to see it.  In this book, fashion designer Bella is the “jinx.”  Luck powers–could there be anything weirder?  The Marvel Universe has its own “lucky/unlucky” characters in the Scarlet Witch (unlucky in her WRITERS, am I right??) and Domino and Longshot, and then you have, uh, Jinx in the DCU, but I still feel that Estep does a great job with a very unusual, and often badly-written, power.  I liked the hero too.  Psyched for the next one.  Always psyched for the next one.  Plus, Ms. Estep helped me out with one of my thesis papers (she was originally a big part of my introduction, but was unfortunately cut for a less anecdotal approach) and she’s offered me some bookmarks!  YAYYYYY!  Er, but I am not saying this is a great book because I’ve been offered stuff.  (For those of my friends who get the joke, HA.)  I’m saying this because these are as close to a guilty pleasure as I get.  I rarely feel guilty about reading anything, except maybe Princess Ai, but there’s just something about getting into the more cheesy superhero universes that makes my superhero-lovin’ self twitch.  Early collections of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, etc?  *TWITCH*  But hey, this is my favorite, and maybe only forever, paranormal romance series.  I can live with that.

Hm.  I seem to be out of time again.  Ah well.  I got some good stuff up.  More next time!  I’ve still got so much to tell you about!

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