That’s what I’ve either been reading or wanting to read.

First, the cyber punk: I picked up Nylon Angel by Marianne de Pierres a few months ago. The back cover blurb appealed to me even though it’s not my normal genre. I’ve recently been inundated with romances- I spend my day staring at the words of romance novels and I’ve been feeling the need to clear my brain. So I read Nylon Angel and thoroughly enjoyed it. It features a kick ass heroine, Parrish Plessis, living in a chemical ravaged future Australia, trying to free herself from the bonds of her “employer” while working as a bounty hunter. There’s some mild romance but the character that really yanks Parrish’s chain, so to speak, is more of an anti-hero. Parrish is easy to root for because she’s tough, but not too tough and she’s got human quirks and fallacies.

I liked the book well enough that I went researching the next in the series, Code Noir Ack! Turns out it doesn’t have a release date. In the US. But that one and the third, Crash Deluxe, have been released overseas. So, as a measure of how much I liked the first book, I went ahead and ordered the next two from a seller in England (if you’ve ever paid to ship to or from England, you’ll know I must have been interested in reading them).

I read Code Noir last week and enjoyed it just as much as I did Nylon Angel. Parrish Plessis is an interesting heroine. And the world Marianne de Pierres has built is intriguing and complex. I’m moving on to the last book this weekend!

I read Sharon Shinn’s book Archangel over the weekend. It’s a copy I bought at RT last spring and is signed by Sharon Shinn. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t love it. I know a lot of people like her books quite a bit and this is the first I’ve read from her but it didn’t really strike the right chord with me. I thought the heroine, Rachel was not very likeable and rather than finding her independent and spunky, like I suspect I was supposed to, I found her to be selfish and bitchy.

I was also surprised because the book had significant religious and moral overtones (albeit a religion of Shinn’s making) and is somewhat mired in theology and dogma. The theme of the book is faith. A bit of a “left behind” and judgement day type feel to it at the end.

It was interesting enough to keep me reading until the end, but I really felt, in the relationship between Gabriel and Rachel that it was quite unequal. I got this feeling of a sense of entitlement from Rachel. That her life had been so hard and horrible, so it was up to Gabriel to make all of the concessions and sacrifices. It made me quite dislike her and very dissatisfied with both their relationship and the end of the book.

Of course, other people really like this book (it gets 4 1/2 stars on Amazon from 121 reviewers), so I think it’s all subjective, as all books are. Mine is just one opinion but I don’t think I’ll run out and buy any more books by Sharon Shinn unless someone can recommend one that doesn’t deal with the world she built in Archangel and doesn’t have overwhelming religious overtones.

And because it amused me, I want to excerpt one of the reviews on Amazon:

I typically stay away from science fiction, avoid books centered around romance, and scoff at the idea of angels and other religious matters. I picked this up only because I had liked Shinn’s The Shape-Changer’s Wife and was badly in need of something to read. Needless to say, no one was more astonished than I was to find that I loved Archangel. It definitely ranks among my favorite five books.

Part of Archangel’s appeal for me is inexplicable, but some can be attributed to the incredibly rich and intriguingly different world building (complete with legends, religion and economy) that never feels pointlessly detailed. Another factor was that Rachel is the one character in all my reading with whom I have best identified. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the romance very much; it is done with extreme skill, which is a major change from multitudinous, anonymous bodice-rippers.

**emphasis mine in both italics and quotes.

The bodice ripper quote amused me, of course. And then the fact that this reviewer loved everything I disliked about the book. See? Subjective.

I’ve been contemplating delving in to the world of manga for some time now. Someone recommended Vampire Hunter D in the comments of one of my posts here on this blog. I looked it up on Amazon, toyed with the idea of ordering, decided I’d like to actually look at it in a store before purchasing and then asked Mel to ask Goose if she’d read it (since she’s a big manga fan). Goose hadn’t. So, I put it on my wishlist on Amazon but hadn’t forgotten it.

Then last week, manga came up again in conversation and I realized that this might be a good time to try one, since I’m exploring other genres. So once again I have to get my manga expert on the line (that would be Goose) and she says that Full Metal Alchemist and Ranma 1/2 are THE BEST right now. Given that Goose is a teenage girl, her tastes are probably slightly different than mine. However, she’s smart as a whip, got a fiendishly delightful sense of humor and is nicely rooted in reality. So I’m going to trust her and pick up at least one of those on my next trip to the bookstore.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Charli seconded the recommendation for Ranma 1/2 πŸ˜‰

I’m on a bit of a romance “pleasure” reading hiatus for the moment but I still keep my wishlist updated on Paperback Swap (which, of course, swaps all types of books, not just romance, but my wishlist is predominately romance). And holy Moses, do I love Paperback Swap. I haven’t been buying books but I get one a day delivered. Of course, I’m clearly never going to EVER find time to read them, but it’s fun to hoarde such a large TBR pile (aka two bookshelves full of books. Not shelves. Bookshelves.). I love, love, love that I can just post my wishlist and the books just appear in my mailbox πŸ˜‰ Okay, it’s not that simple but it sure feels that way! Anyway, there’s a link at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in checking it out. And I’m putting the graphic in the sidebar too. If you click from my links and join, I earn a free book credit, so it’s not a selfless act. Purely in my own interests πŸ˜‰

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