This was an enjoyable read. I haven't really read anything classed as "chick-lit" before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. My pre-conceived ideas included lots of ultra-rich women in their late-twenties to early-thirties with high powered jobs and designer clothes, told first person with lots of sparkling wit and humour. The Pact includes most of these, but manages to be a nice, solid mystery story as well. It is more serious than I expected, and because of that, also a little heavier, but not necessarily in a bad way. I liked all the characters and agreed with the narrator, Rachel, that none of them could possibly have been the murderer. Her mistakes are reasonable - except for the 'big misunderstanding' between her and the potential love interest where she jumped to a conclusion that I felt wasn't exactly warranted. Or at least, that the evidence was ambiguous enough that I could see that it would turn out to be a red herring and I felt Rachel was portrayed as smart enough to figure that out as well. Of course, then she wouldn't have called 911 on Peter and needed to make up for it afterwards. I didn't pick the murderer, although all the clues were there in hindsight, and it was a well chosen conclusion. For me, not working it out actually means a good book as I'm too caught up in the story for my subconscious to be wasting its time trying to solve the mystery. These days I prefer to sit back and enjoy the ride rather than feeling a need to work everything out in advance. I don't know if this book is typical of the genre or not, but I enjoyed it. Rachel is going to have another literary outing in December and I think I'll be going along for the ride. However, I still detest the Australian release cover and may have to buy in the next one from the US, just to have something pretty on my bookcase. I'm sad that way.
Dead Until Dark - Charlaine HarrisSouthern Vampire, Book 1; Fantasy; reread; 7/10I'd read this book before and wasn't inspired enough to continue on with the series. Then I listened to a recording of Charlaine Harris at a reading/signing and found myself interested in trying again. However, since I remembered next to nothing about this first book (usual for me) I decided to reread this one, then decide if I wanted to continue with the series. My response was still lukewarm, but I liked it enough to want to continue. These books make good book for reading while I sit with Marcus as he has his bath (he gets to play for a while before getting washed) and know I'm likely to be interrupted. I prefer to have a less "favourite" book for that, especially as it's likely to get splashed with a bit of water.
The Changeling Sea - Patricia A. McKillipYA Fantasy; reread; 10/10When I realised I couldn't manage to read some of the more detailed books I had on the TBR at this time, I went down to the library room and pulled out some old favourites that I'd like to reread. The Changeling Sea has always been my favourite Patricia McKillip novel but I hadn't reread it in years. I was a little concerned it might not stand up to a reread, but it it absolutely did. This is just a gorgeous story about love and loss, told in beautiful, lyrical language that is a delight to read. I still think this is McKillip at her best and highly recommend it to anyone. And if you like dragons (and princes), you'll just love this one. It's beautiful and soulful and wonderful. (This book was my last read for the Here Be Dragons challenge that finished today and it was a great way to finish it.)
Hostage to Pleasure - nalini SinghParanormal Romance; Psy/Changeling, Book 5; 9/10Nalini Singh continues to develop the characters and world of her Psy/Changeling series. This time the book focuses around Psy Ashaya Aleine and Changeling Dorian (can't remember his last name). When we first met Ashaya in the previous book, I didn't think I was going to like her. She seemed cold and harsh and I couldn't see how Singh was going to turn her into a sympathetic character for her own book. Of course, I should have had more faith. Ashaya turns out to be a fascinating character, one way on the outside and another completely on the inside. She needs to learn to integrate the two and slowly does so over the course of the book. What is different about Ashaya is that she has chosen Silence (or an approximation of it) for herself and Dorian has quite a job to convince her the alternative is an option for her. As for Dorian, the Changeling who cannot change, I loved him the first time I met him, way back in Slave to Sensation and I love him just as much here. He's carrying a lot of rage and guilt and to find himself attracted to a Psy just exacerbates both, meaning he too has a significant journey to make before he can find a happy ending. Singh does her usual wonderful job of blending world-building, outside plot, character development and relationship development without going to extremes in any particular direction. I also loved the ending of the book. She had a choice to make on whether or not to allow Dorian, latent since birth, to gain the ability to change shape. To have him learn to shift would really have been too pat considering he'd been latent all his life, but while making him stay latent would probably be more realistic, it would also be desperately sad for Dorian (and for me the reader, who wanted him to learn to shift, but didn't want it to feel like Singh was tying up the resolution with a pretty ribbon for the sake of it). Again, I should have trusted more. Singh finds an alternative solution that works perfectly. Now I'm hanging out for her next books - Angel's Blood, which is the start of a new series that sounds like it has an equally unique spin on the world-building, and Branded by Fire the next Psy/Changeling book, both due out next year. (Although I do have to say that the think the titles to the Psy/Changeling series are pretty awful.)
Paradise - Meljean BrookGuardians short story (in Wild Thing anthology); Paranormal Romance; 7/10I read Meljean Brook's Demon Moon ealier in the month and decided I should go back and read this story of Selah and Lucas, since they appeared or were mentioned in Demon Moon. It was a good little story, although nothing amazing. It's worth reading if you're reading the series, but if you're wanting to try Brook out, don't pick this one. Go with Demon Angel or Demon Moon.
Majipoor Chronicles - Robert SilverbergMajipoor, Book 2; SF; 7/10I read Silverberg's first Majipoor book, Lord Valentine's Castle, many years ago and really liked it, but I never got into this book of short stories. I reread Lord Valentine's Castle again last year and bought myself this book to have another go. It turned out to take me a long time to read my way through - I'm really not a short story reader - but I actually really enjoyed my trip through the past of Majipoor. It's not a totally amazing book, but explains and expands on a lot of things mentioned briefly in the first book. I'm now planning to go on and read the third in the trilogy, although I don't know when that wil be.
The Vor Game - Lois McMaster BujoldVorkosigan, Book 4; SF; audiobook; reread; 9/10I love Bujold and I love this series. I started listening to the audiobook of The Vor Game and loved it all over again. Then I hit a stage where I couldn't concentrate on much of anything (a theme you've probably already seen in these comments) and started listening to shorter podcasts instead of the book. It had been languishing for a while when I added it to my books to finish list for the Wind-Up Book Chronicle challenge. That encouraged me to go back to it and I thoroughly enjoyed finishing it up. It was geat to go along on another crazy adventure with Miles and I like the look we get at Gregor in this book, where he becomes much more of a person to the reader and not just a cut-out emperor. I'm now tempted to move on to Cetaganda but I'm going to listen to a couple of other things first. I can't recommend Bujold's work highly enough and encourage anyone who hasn't discovered Miles Vorkosigan to give his first book, The Warrior's Apprentice, a try.
Heart Fate - Robin D. OwensFantasy Romance; Celta, Book 7; 8/10I found this latest book in Owens' Celtan series to be slow going. I wasn't quite sure if it was me, a flaw in the book or intentional. I have come to the conclusion that it was intentional. This is a slow, gentle book without the swifter more dramatic action of some of the others in the series. Both the main characters are wounded and this book is as much, or possible more, about their healing than it is about their romance. Lahsin is only 17 but was married to a brutish older man at fourteen. As the story begins she runs away, determined to escapse and make her own life. Tinne, the hero, is a little older and, as the story opens, forced to face up to the fact that his marriage is over. The two, HeartMates although only Tinne knows this, meet at a hidden, abandoned estate where both find a sanctuary and a chance to heal. They do so slowly, neither interested in another relationship but gradually discovering a precious friendship with the other. This is a romance as well, so it isn't a spoiler to say these two end up together, but for all that it was relatively quick I didn't find it rushed. It worked well for me, that their HeartMate bond pulled them together even as they were both cautious about another relationship. And in the end it is Lahsin that makes the decision for them, simply by choosing to follow her heart. But she had to do the work first be to in a position to do that, as did Tinne. So a quieter, slower addition to the series, but one I enjoyed. I do like these books and I'm glad to hear Owens has sold several more.
Nightkeepers - Jessica AndersenThe Final Prophecy, Book 1; Paranormal Romance; 9/10I thought this looked really interesting when I first heard about it. Sure, it was the start of another series about warrior brothers fighting evil, but it was based of Mayan mythology for a change and the end of the world had a fixed date, four years from now. I read Andersen's excerpt on her website and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did and I enjoyed the book a lot. Again, it's a "go along for a fun ride" book more than anything else, but there's nothing wrong with that. While it is marketed as a romance and does indeed feature a main couple, this book is really more about the overall story and setting up the book's universe than a close study of a couple's relationship. Strike and Leah's romance is well-written and I enjoyed it, but it is part of the book's story, not all of it. It's very well integrated, but you need to want to read about the Nightkeepers as a whole rather than just a single couple or you'll probably be disappointed. I'm planning on reading the next in the series when it comes out.