So I've read several books since last posting. I haven't done great reviewing them as I read them, so anyway here goes.
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas
Read this number for book club. It's an odd little book, part horticultural thriller (no, seriously) and part political intrique and part love story. I believe it's Dumas' last book and it's definitely not the swashbuckling tale of derring-do on par with The Three Musketeers. I enjoyed it and it's a free Kindle book, so that was a bonus. Some good guys die, another good guy is wrongly accused, the bad guy ultimately gets his just deserts, and the lovers end up together. Three stars.
A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin
After watching the boob-riddled HBO series, I was eager to read the book (which has significantly fewer boobs). It's better than the series (shocker), though the TV series more or less follows the book blow by blow. It's written from a variety of perspectives a la Faulkner As I Lay Dying, and it's remarkably effective. I dare you not to love Arya. I double dare you not to hate Joffrey. I'm reading the second right now. The books are gigantic, so it's taking some time. Four stars.
Dispirited by Luisa Perkins
I read this because it was reviewed by a blogger I follow. I doubt I would have stumbled across it otherwise, but I'm glad I did. It's a surprisingly well-written book of speculative fiction. Dispirited is written by an LDS author and that will likely be obvious to anybody familiar with our theology—she draws some aspects of the fictitious world directly from LDS concepts of heaven and hell.
Like the review I read, I'm impressed with how well the author is able to write from the perspective of teenagers and children without them coming across as precious or annoyingly precocious. The main character is a fairly typical teenager but she's clever and well-read and resourceful and I like her. Anyway, it's a quick read and deliciously creepy if you're into that kind of thing. Four stars.