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05:27 pm: I didn't quit reading (promise)
So, yeah, mostly junk. I've got a monstrous appetite for junk these days. All but one fiction this time.

Two Maya Banks this time, both from her KGI series (spy/adventure-romances): No Place to Run and Whispers in the Dark. Neither particularly plausible, both pretty well written. And sex. I like sex.

Robyn Carr's My Kind of Christmas is another holiday romance. My standards are lower for them, but I do think this is a sweet story. There are brothers, which is promising (I do so like series).

Lee Child writes a compelling book, but I have very mixed feelings about Killing Floor. Reacher's an interesting guy, the plot moves along, but there's a very, very nasty description of a prison death (not one that takes place during the book, but one that Reacher's reminded of) that I can't shake out of my brain. I don't need that kind of shit in my head, thanks. Essscaaaape!

Two Janet Evanovich books this time 'round too: Notorious Nineteen, the latest Stephanie Plum, which I think is my favorite in the series so far. Lots of Ranger or Morelli, with some critical information on why each is compelling. Good stuff, if light.

Not as light, of course, as an old straight romance that was re-released - Love Overboard. It's written well enough, I suppose, but OY is it idiotic. REALLY idiotic.

I did re-read all Diana Gabaldon's Jamie and Claire books (in anticipation of the new one scheduled to come out early in 2013, though her website now says fall - blargh!), as I mentioned . They're such a curious mix. I don't always love them page by page, but I do love them chapter by chapter and book by book.

Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With once again features people I just don't like. They're ultimately more complex than your average chick-lit heroines, and perhaps more realistic, but not likable. I find myself angry when I read her books, which is not generally my goal (though I do want to read Bad Pharma, which I understand has the same effect).

I love Caitlin Moran. She's funny as hell. I agree with 95% of what she writes. But she also takes occasionally extreme positions (perhaps for humor, perhaps for real) and sometimes over-simplifies very complex issues. And that sometimes irks me. Moranthology is a compilation of her columns for the Times of London. And she makes grammatical errors now and then, which I must admit sets my teeth on edge.

(I saw a lot of similar errors in the comments to Michael Calleri's guest post on Roger Ebert's blog. When I checked last, the vast majority of grammatical errors were written by allegedly professional writers. Blech.

Carly Philips' Serendipity reminds me suspiciously of something else I've read recently, about a woman who moves home to fix all her daddy done wrong despite the hostility of the victims. Meh. Not a lot of sympathy here for anyone involved (neither the victims drawn into a Ponzi scheme because they liked the too-good-to-be-true promise of extraordinary financial returns, nor the completely innocent bystander who had no way of stopping - or even knowing - about her father's misdeeds but takes on all his guilt).

Three Nora Roberts' books (4 actually, as one is two novellas): The Perfect Hope (book 3 of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogoy), which is lovely; Blue Dahlia, a new novel that is OK but not great; and First Impressions (bundled with Blithe Images), which is pretty appalling. The writing's not bad - well, the sentences aren't, anyway, but the plotting is idiotic and the characters absurd. Turns out Roberts wrote them years ago (1981, I think).

I had occasion, several years ago to stick my foot in my mouth, when I said less-than-flattering things about Nora Roberts who, it turns out, is published by the gentleman to whom I was talking (a very nice man indeed, which makes the foot insertion all the worse). He asked about Roberts, and I said I'd just never found her to be a very good writer, which was true at the time, but I should've kept my yap shut. In any case, when I tried Roberts again a couple of years ago, I was retroactively mortified to have been not only rude but also wrong.

Well, turns out I agree with my original judgment of her older writing. I still should've kept my mouth shut though. What an idiot.

Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette is wonderful. Hilarious. Moving. Go read it.

I'm a sucker for holiday romances, and Lori Wilde's A Cowboy for Christmas is a reasonable version. Not much sex, but kinda sweet.

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