Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book 62: Letters From a Woman Homesteader

Letters of a Woman Homesteader
Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart was a gem of a book. I loved it. The only downside to the book was it was on my Kindle app on my phone, so I could put it down and forget about in a way that never happens with a real book in your hands.

The series of letters was just phenomenal. I’m so glad that they have been combined together and preserved for history. There is just so much to gleam from it. Everything from the beauty of the untamed west, meeting mormons and other men along the way, and just about daily life. You would have never thought that an ex-laundrywoman would have written the book. There is just so much insight in the book about culture and people that she met while she’s telling her former employer everything. I really liked how she said in one letter, “It has always been a theory of mine that when we become sorry for ourselves we make our misfortunes harder to bear, because we lose courage and can’t think without bias.”

As a letter writer, I couldn’t help to relate to how she would make apologies for her babbling, her forgetfulness and her tone of writing. She tells about her daily life and her adventures. It’s rather neat since I do the same thing in my letters.

One of my favorite letters though was the one her daughter sent. It was a thank you note for Black Beauty mixed with her tale of her mom dealing with a runaway animal. It was special. Then the note afterwards from Elinore was great since she apologized for the grammar errors and the misspellings in her daughter’s letter but seemed to find amusement that her daughter sent the letter without her knowing about it (Jerrine apparently would write many letters to Ms. Coney that were never sent due to the misspellings). It made me wonder if my mom ever wanted to help rewrite a letter I wrote when I was little if only to help perfect the spelling and grammar but not the nature of the letter. Plus it makes me wonder if I had children if they would write letters to my best friend just like their mama.

I feel horrible. I started reading this book over a month ago. It’s a short book and highly pleasurable. It’s extremely easy to read. Given those facts, it seems crazy it would take me so long to read it but I did since it was an electronic book. It wasn’t in a book I could see sitting next me to or I had to actually tote around. I would forget to use my Kindle app unless I was too lazy to turn on the light at night when my insomnia kicks in yet I still want to read to tire my mind out.

I’m glad I actually read a more serious book again where I learned a lot. I really got to balance out my reading selections again since I loved to learn. I highly recommend this book. Get it especially if you have a Kindle! It’s free and fantastic. Just don't forget to finish the book

Product 33: Pre de Provence Vanilla Sandalwood Bubble Bath

Pre de Provence Bubble Bath, Vanilla/Sandalwood, 8 ounces Bottle
It’s weird, I never blogged about the Pre de Provence Bubble Bath in the Vanilla Sandalwood scent even though the bottle is halfway used. I guess I kept meaning to do it but I put it off and after a while I thought I already blogged about the product. But I guess that comes with how the bubble bath makes me feel overall. It’s not bad but it’s not a stand out product.

I love the way the Pre de Provence bubble bath smells. It’s a sophisticated smell where the sandalwood is perfectly balanced by the vanilla. It’s something that’s just pleasurable in the evening since it’s so relaxing but it’s not overwhelming to the senses. So you could just chill out for the evening.

Now the most important part of a bubble bath is the way it foams. The first bath I was severely disappointed. But then I learned to put the liquid extremely close to the running water just like you do with a normal shower gel. After the first two baths, I was finally getting those bubbles that I craved.

It’s weird, I didn’t notice a vast improvement between the bubbles from the Pre de Provence Shower gel and the bubble bath. I’m glad they are exactly the same price. I’m just wishing that there was more difference between the shower gel and the bubble bath other than the bubble bath doesn’t work super well in the shower.

Overall, it’s a good product. It’s something that is relaxing and works well as long as you place it underneath the spout. I enjoy it and in a short period I’ve used up over half the bottle. It was another fun by from Schiller’s.

Product 32: Ponds Cleansing Clothes

Ponds Orginal Clean Wet Cleansing Towelettes, 30-Count (Pack of 4)
In my product trials, Ponds Cleansing Cloths are hands down the worst product I’ve sampled thus far. I hated them big time.

Extreme Couponers confuse me so much. I just don’t get why you would stock pile products you never tried just because you have a coupon and they were on sale. Now I do use coupons and I will combine my coupons with sales so I can get the best deal possible. When I saw the Ponds Cleansing Cloths coupons, I decided to cut out a couple coupons for them. Thankfully it was only two coupons, and I don’t have a stockpile of products I hate. Instead it’s less then 60 cloths all together.

When I clipped out the multiple coupons, I figured what that the cleansing cloths would be like the other three brands I’ve used: BR Collagen wipes, Basis Wipes and Lemon-Lime Handi-Wipes. Those three brands worked very similarly where I feel clean and refreshed after using them and they would remove the oil slicks from my face.

Opening up the Morning Fresh cloths, I thought great since I could see that they had some exfoliating beads. If only that excitement would have lasted. Instead I actually used them.

After pulling out the first cloth, I realized I wasn’t a complete fan of the way it smelled. But I figured it can’t be that bad. I just have to get past it. Plus I figured it was just the Morning Fresh scent, that the regular cloths would be fine. But that wasn’t the case. The other ones also had an off putting aroma for me. If it was a true citrus smell, I would have been in love but there was something a bit medicinal about it.

My biggest problem with both the regular Ponds Cleansing Clothes and the Morning Fresh flavor was the fact they didn’t really clean my face. Instead I could feel a layer of something actually being deposited on my skin. That is NOT what I wanted when I have acne problems. That will only increase them. Which after a couple days of use, I did break out more.

It really got to be a battle of every time I used a cloth, I went “Gosh I really hate using this.” This is not the way you want to do a beauty regime. You should love using the products. They should make you feel pretty and clean. If they don’t you shouldn’t use them. But I have basically a full packet left of clothes left. I force myself to use them so I didn’t waste my money.

So for those couponers out there, make sure you know you love the product before you buy too much of it. I’m all for the deal. But I definitely got stuck with too many Ponds cloths thinking that all cleansing clothes would be about equal. This is not a product I would recommend.

Book 61: Crimson Wind

Crimson Wind (Horngate Witches)Not all books make you want to write a glowing review or a review panning the book outright. Crimson Wind by Diana Pharaoh Francis is one of those books to me. It’s just a blah book that held a lot of potential.

I blame part of the blahness on the raised expectations that I have in my pet genre (if you don’t read my blog much, that’s the occult/paranormal fiction). Carrie Vaughn, Nancy A. Collins, and Kay Hooper books were so good that I wanted the rest of my books from my Black Bond Books and Borders trip to continue that trend. While the Caitlin Kittredge book did lower the standards some but they are still pretty lofted.

One of my biggest problems was the main character. Max, the alpha/prime shadeblade, could be either a strong alpha character with attitude for miles or the meekness of a teenager trying to find herself. I wish she was stronger but I don’t what her to be an uber-witch. She needed to have faults and a soft side but it was too soft.

I knew that this book was a sequel of some sort since it was part of the Horngate Witches series. But I didn’t read any of the earlier books. But I had a hard time finding my footing in the book without reading Bitter Night (but it would have been nice if the book would have said that BitterNight was in the same series instead of saying it was just by the same author). At times the book felt like it had developed characters and at other times it seemed like they were still being fleshed out. The book probably would have been helped if I read the first book.

I did enjoy the books action and the push/pull relationship between Alex and Max. The actions pace in the book was nice. There was a lot going on. Now I wish parts of it was better written since some of the fight scenes were written a little too quickly. But a real strength of the book was relationship between Alex and Max. It was great. They definitely had issues to work out since they were both primes (when typically there can only be one Prime so Alex had to be careful not to challenge Max). But they also got each other on a level most others couldn’t even come close.

So all in all the book was okay. It’s not stellar but it’s not bad. Definatly worth a read.

Letters: 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 and 56

Sorry I have a back log of letters that I sent out.

Letter 49: Just catching up

Letter 50: Another cute letter to a friend

Letter 51: The mate in the set, I love this set since it has a fuzzy texture. Oh and of course, the white and black dresses.

Letter 52: If you can't tell I like Parisan style when I write notes to friends and family.

Letter 53: Another notecard from one of my many Paris themed notecard sets, this time complete with paper that I got from Otakon. A card to one of my best friends.

Letter 54: A birthday card. I love the message in this card. "Whatever you wish for your birthday, I'll be wishing with you." Just a sweet message that is completely true.

Letter 55: Another birthday card. This time for one of my guy friends. But the inner message says "Enjoy doing what you want on your birthday."

Letter 56: An 50th Anniversary card. Now talk about the perfect reason to send out a letter full of loveto some family members. As the toast says on the inside "Here's to you, the love you share, and the life you've created together. Happy Anniversary".

*Sorry the orientation on the last two cards got messed up. Sometimes when you upload photos, weirdness happens and I can't take new photos since I sent out the cards. Oops. Will do better next time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Product 32: Crabtree and Evelyn Evelyn Rose Shower Gel

Crabtree & Evelyn Evelyn Rose Bath & Shower Gel 8.5 OzA little while ago, I picked up a bottle of the Crabtree and Evelyn Evelyn Rose Shower Gel from Schillers when it was half off. It’s sad to see that the company is going to be limiting production yet again but at the same time it’s understandable. Customers are straying away from the rose scents and leaning more towards lavender or new fresher scents.

Evelyn Rose has a very special spot in my heart. Back in the day on my first trip to England, I went into my first bath and body store by myself. I could get anything I wanted. I will be honest at eleven, I was overwhelmed by the selection and the options. But I found an evelyn rose soap box that seemed pretty. That was my first and really lone Crabtree & Evelyn purchase until now (I was a Bath and Body Works girl until I started to work at Schillers). So now when I smell evelyn rose, I think back to my first trip to England.

But to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of rose smells. It’s better than lavender by far (but a lot of lavenders will give me a headache). Yet the Evelyn rose is nice since it’s a softer rose and has a little bit of peony in it. So I only use the Evelyn Rose shower gel once in a while.

The shower gel works well as both a shower gel and a foaming bubble bath. It lathers well and leaves the skin feeling soft. There isn’t a sticky residue or anything afterwards. Plus the scent is subtle so it won’t interfere with any perfume but you feel clean afterwards.

Although the way it works reminds me a lot of the Bath and Body Works type product. Which isn’t a bad thing. It just shows how similar the two companies are in the basic product. It’s the scents that distinguish the two brands and in all honesty I like the clean blends in Crabtree better if you are looking a specific floral where Bath and Body Works you can tell have been completely blended together. Thymes, Crabtree and Evelyn, Bath and Body Works actually have the best combo of a foaming shower gel and bubble bath where you get that nice layer of suds around while still able to layer up in a loofah.

It was a great change up in my bath rountine. I loved how it nostalgic the smell is for me. The Crabtree and Evelyn shower gel works well for both a bath full of suds and as a shower gel. But it’s not a shower gel I can use everyday since I’m not a rose fan. I want my citrus or sensual scents for an everyday shower gel.

Book 60: The Portable Dorothy Parker

The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)Few books have much mileage on my bookshelf as the Portable Dorothy Parker. This has been my favorite book for years by my dead author. What continues to amaze me is how deep and amazing this little book is.

I wasn’t expecting to pick up the Portable Dorothy Parker but then I read my last book. I hated that one so much that I needed to have the perfect quotes to just slice apart the book and I went to my mentor. So if you read my last book blog, you would have seen a couple quotes pulled out of book reviews by Dorothy Parker. But reading the book reviews, made me want to pick up the whole book.

One of the fun things about rereading this book was seeing all the pages I had marked. Some pages are permanently dog-eared while others were dog-eared only temporarily. It’s amazing how in the past year or so, the poem ‘Post-Graduate’ has really hit home when I marked it I wasn’t never that broken hearted. I’m glad that’s in the page marked with a permanent dog-ear. I was surprised that my other two favorite poems (‘Indian Summer’ and ‘Philosophy’) wasn’t dog-eared but I could tell it was one of the pages that I did mark.

I’ve always thought that Dorothy Parker’s writing seems both timeless and set in time. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not. When it comes to the setting and descriptions of clothes, it marks it in the 1920s. But the way the streams of consciousness and how girls think about guys, that hasn’t changed. Sitting by a telephone and waiting for him to call, that hasn’t changed one iota. It’s why I keep going back to her.

I’m always amazed by how much I pick up every time I read the Portable Dorothy Parker. Some things like ‘Post-Graduate’, it was because I had my heart truly broken and I really learned at Sorrow’s knee that it’s all the self-same lore. Other things, I picked up more from getting more and more into history books. So my love of reading just feeds into the knowledge.

I knew this review would be glowing. But if I didn’t enjoy one of my favorite books, something is wrong with me. It was great reminder why I loved the book in the first place.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book 59: Bone Gods

Bone Gods (Black London)My trend of reading great books that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next has ended. I was severely disappointed in Bone Gods by CaitlinKittredge. More then disappointed. I hated the book with a passion.

To borrow a critique from my favorite author, Dorothy Parker: “It is second only to a rubber duck as an ideal bathtub companion. It may be held in the hand without causing muscular fatigue or nerve strain, it may be neatly balanced back of the faucets, and it may be read through before the water has cooled. And if it slips down the drain pipe, all right, it slips down the drain pipe.” Now I will take this idea a tad further, there was times I wanted to drown the book and turn it back into pulp. I haven’t had this kind of reaction to a book in a really long time.

But there is so little that I actually enjoyed. The characters and the interactions with each other was awful. There were times I swear they were talking to themselves. It didn’t matter their so called friends were sitting/talking next to them. They just responded with whatever. The “We need to go” fails when Pete finally gives an moment where you go ‘aww she’s not just a raging psychopath with a bad attitude who could burst into tears over her dead boyfriend by opening up with her dad.’
As I mentioned Pete has a major bad attitude and swears more then anything I’ve ever seen. I’m rather European when it comes to swearing. Most of the time it doesn’t faze me because it can be a great descriptor especially four letter words starting with s and f. But to steal another gem from Dorothy Parker “obscenity is too valuable a commodity to chuck around all over the place; it should be taken out of the safe on special occasions only.” This is definitely true of cunt but Bone Gods used it on practically every page. I wish I was exaggerating but it was completely over used and used in sentences where it just didn’t’ make sense.

I hate how easily I bought into the book cover. If I would have gotten that story, then I would have enjuoyed the book more. Instead the first third of the book was sheer torture. I would hardly call two deaths and a religious organization trying to talk people out of being involved in the magic world a series of witchtrials. It was more of a bad set for the other part of the book that was advertising the returning “different” boyfriend that Pete has to deal with and necromancers. It was awful to read about how Jack was different but it was only described as that. Not why he was different. Just that he wasn’t normal until the end when he turned on Pete in a way.

All in all, I hated this book. I really forced myself to finish this book. But on the plus side, it did get me to start rereading The Portable Dorothy Parker. So soon you will see why I love Dorothy Parker.

Product 31: Smudgees

Smudgees Portable Single Serve Eye Makeup Smudge Removers - Great after a massage, workout or overnight stay!Smudgees is a great beauty secret any girl who wears eye make ups should have. Literally. It’s fantastic. They are little make up removers on a little stick. I’m glad that Schiller’s sells them.

Okay I will admit this product sampling took forever to write. But that’s due to my amazing Blinc eyeliner. Once it sets, I don’t get any smudge marks around my eyes. So the little touch-up stick for the eye makeup, just doesn’t get used all that often. And I wanted to be fair in the trial. So it took me a while.

But I love Smudgees. They are just that quick fix. They are all set to go. Just open, apply to the stray makeup and you look amazing again. Easy peasy. No need to have that smoky eye just falling apart and looking like what he cat dragged in.

Smudgees also has something going for it. Great packaging. They are so cute in their little packages in a demin print that say Smudgees on a brown faux leather mimicking a jean tag. It’s just adorable in a way. It’s simple but it could easily look awful.

Product 30: Eye Mask from Old Navy

One of my new favorite things is a slumber mask from Old Navy. To be honest, I always wanted one of them but I just never got around to getting one. But now that I used it once, I’m slightly addicted to it by grabbing it every morning.

For a birthday/Christmas gift from a very good friend, I finally got my elusive slumber mask in a great little travel set. So whenever I travel can have a pink fuzzy blanket, a slumber mask or have a little pillow; all of which can connect to my suitcase. Extremely convenient. Such an awesome gift.

Traveling via Megabus overnight meant I needed a sure-fire way to sleep. For me it meant the fuzzy blanket, my bears grasped in my hand under the blanket and the slumber mask. It was actually really great. I could shut out the world and get comfy in the seat. And I got a decent night’s sleep.

But the mask didn’t end up being just for travel. Unfortunately for me, I had a nasty bug that forced me to get some rest after work. With it being summer hours and I’m not a fan of sleeping during the early afternoon, the slumber mask was a way for me to fool my head into thinking it was nap time. So I could get a ton of extra sleep that I needed to help my body. Yay to the sleeping mask to rescue!

For some reason lately I keep waking up about two hours before my alarm. So as I just grab my sleeping mask and I can instantly fall back to sleep until my alarms (yes plural since I’m paranoid about over sleeping) wake me up. I’ve enjoyed just grabbing it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book 58: Kitty's Big Trouble

Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Norville, Book 9)

I was lucky enough to go from one Carrie Vaughn book to the next. I devoured the newest Kitty Norville novel, Kitty’s Big Trouble. It was the ideal way to spend an evening alone- to be completely engrossed into a book I love while being sprawled about a big red chair.

I was surprised how the themes carried over from Discord’s Apple to Kitty’s Big Trouble. Kitty’s Big Trouble in the ninth book in the Kitty Norville series while Discord’s Apple was a standalone book. Both books was about mythical Gods not staying in the realm of myth. Plus it was interesting to see how throughout both books you saw the idea, ‘Gods are powerful but they are still like normal “people”.’ But I loved how in this book, you saw Kitty’s reactions to meeting the Monkey God (Sun Wukong) and Mother of the West (Xiwangmu). She was shocked to see gods existed, mocked herself for being surprised (since she is a werewolf named Kitty), her trepidation to eating foods from the Gods and disappointment that it was only the best tasting food. That’s stuff I would do. But that’s why I always loved Kitty. I relate to her when she isn’t in werewolf mode.

But I loved this book. It’s back to full blown Kitty and the Midnight Hour Swing. The last couple books were good but not amazing like the first four books. But this one had what I loved in the early ones. The self-deprecation, the fun and awe of other magical creatures, and great characters. Plus it’s memorable. I hate to say it. Kitty Goes to War barely stands out in my head. But I won’t have that problem with Kitty’s Big Problem.

The only problem with the Kitty Norville books are the titles. They are just so blah. It’s easy to mock the book and know a good deal of what is going to happen. But the contents in the book is so magical that it makes up for the bad titles. Cause you want to see what happens to Kitty.

As I’m typing up this book, I realized I missed one of my favorite things about a Kitty Norville book-the werewolf perspective. I love that perspective yet at the same time, I wasn’t missing it in the book. I don’t think it would have fit. For Ben to change, that made sense but it didn’t make sense for Kitty to shift. It took me a day to realize it was missing from the book. By taking so long to register in my brain, I really wouldn’t say it’s a complaint.

This was a such a fun book. I would definitely recommend this book . Thank you for another magical book in the Kitty Norville Series. Also thank you for giving me one of my favorite moments by having a vamp calling Ben, “Mr. Kitty”. That was classic and makes me want a significant other get called “Mr Kathy” but of course I have to do something to warrant the name. Can’t just call a guy “Mr. Kathy” without having basis.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book 57: Discord's Apple

Discord's Apple

I just read a wonderful Carrie Vaughn book called Discord’s Apple. This book surprised me in so many different ways. But I loved the creativity that blended together Greek mythology with other fairy tales in a modern setting It was so well done that it didn’t feel bad.

I wasn’t expecting to get Discord’s Apple over Fourth of July Weekend. Instead I was planning on getting Carrie Vaughn’s new book, Kitty’s Big Trouble. But alas, my book store failed me with that book but pleasantly surprised me with Discord’s Apple in paperback. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to buying books, no hard cover books except in very rare occasions of ‘I have to have this’ or if priced at the same price of paper backs. When I first read the preview chapter in one of my Kitty books, I liked Discord’s Apple but I didn’t have to have it so I’ve been waiting.

This book was amazing in the end. I was just captured by it. The creativity. Plus it made me want to read the Aeneid and the Illiad. I really want to know Sinon’s journey. I know the events of the Trojan War but it’s always nice to actually read the events. Somehow, I read the Odessey a half dozen times but never read the prequel to it.

I absolutely loved the balance in this book. It was great to see how Miss Vaughn brought in Sinon, Hera, a Warehouse 13 vibe, King Arthur and Merlin, and set it into a militaristic future. In so many ways that’s a diverse elements to try and play together. But it works through the use of plot and flashbacks. The characterization was great. I connected with Evie as she tried to figure out everything including trying to trust Alex/Sinon since after all he is known as the liar throughout history.

The only thing that I am not sure I’m in love with was the ending. It was what I wanted in the end yet it fit in too well. It’s one of those rare things where you get everything you thought you wanted and yet you are deflated. But I don’t want to see the ending be changed in many ways since it was the happy ending. I guess it’s because it tied things up almost too neatly.

I adored this book. It was fun and educational. I couldn’t wait to see what was happening and loved the flashbacks (which ties together the timelines and hints into the different characters). It makes me want to read more too. What more can a girl ask for… I know another book involving Alex/Sinon and Evie.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Book 56: Right Hand Magic

Right Hand Magic: A Novel of Golgotham
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins was a book that had a magical atmosphere around it. I say that sincerely. The world of Golgotham was so spectacular with a feel of both old world charm and supernatural gritty edge. To place that in the middle of New York City was well slightly genius since you wouldn’t think about it. The rest of the book was solid although more of a fluff easy read.

The thing that captures you with Right Hand Magic is the setting. A small neighborhood of New York that is pretty much untouched with age since the eighteen hundreds. It was lively and fun. Plus to have the fact the entire neighborhood was nothing but supernatural characters were fun. Centaurs and Satyrs run the cab services since automobiles are banned. There are magicians and witches on every corner thanks to the high Kymeran population. There are even some ghouls and leprechauns.

Then the rest of the book just sort of follows. At times the plot can be a wee bit predictable with an villain who tells his secret plans, a love story (well two really but one is more just kitty love), and girl getting her footing in the way of life. But it was still a really enjoyable book. Halfway through the book, I went to search to see if there were more books about Golgotham (there isn’t yet but Left Hand Magic is in the works).

I also liked the characters. There is Tate, the human artist who moves into Hexe’s boarding house in Golgotham. Hexe is the friendly hunky hero of a land lord who shows the nump (human) around the neighborhood in between clients. Then there is Lukas, the were-cougar, who got kidnap by the magical mafia and force to fight until he escapes and nearly kills Tate. Lukas also becomes a tenant to the boarding house due to his wounds from the Malandanti and you can see his soul and how he’s just like most teens.

Right Hand Magic does have some great moments. Either she just puts in a word or two that just makes you go good word (snarky in one case) or good description. Plus this book reminded me of something. Were-cats aren’t the only things that purr when they are happy.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The atmosphere and the set up is what makes the book.

Letter 46, 47, and 48

Letter 46: Letter of hello

Letter 47: Letter of touching base

Letter 48: Thank you note Kat style.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book 55: Enterprise By The Book

By the Book (Star Trek Enterprise)

I just finished another Star Trek book, this time it was Enterprise: By The Book by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. This was an unexpected treat for me.

I was not expecting a fictional book when I got the book. In fact I was expecting that it was a reference book to the Enterprise series. That’s what I get for not doing any research and letting titles do all the enticing (I got the book from a free book giveaway from my Star Trek role playing site). So when I opened up the box of books, I was a little surprised to see that it was fictional book. I just put it on my shelf until the mood struck me.

Since I was in the mood for Trek and had a ton of fun at a Star Trek Convention thanks to two Enterprise actors (Conner Trinneer and Dominic Keating), I decided to dig into By The Book. The title ended up being a little misleading. A little hard to do a first contact by the book when there isn’t a Prime Directive and a book to follow for first contact situations.

One of the things I really liked about By The Book is how well the characters read. I literally had Scott Bakula’s voice giving me Archer’s, Keating’s British accent for Lt. Reed, and Conner’s take on a Southern accent for Trip, and the list goes on. This went on page after page. I love that when I read novelizations related to TV shows. They should sync up well and this one does.

It’s interesting that my last two Star Trek books are related to first contact situations. While first contact is a huge part of Trek, it’s ironic that my last two books take the same theme and run with it in two different directions and have opposite limitations. Over A Torrent Sea had the Titan crew being limited by the Prime Directive and their abilities to communicate in the first contact situation. But since Enterprise takes place so much earlier on the Star Trek timeline, there isn’t even a Prime Directive and the Enterprise crew is winging it.

First contact doesn’t go over easily for the crew. In fact it was pretty disastrous after Archer spoke out turn to the Fazi. So that leaves him scrambling on how to fix things. Plus there was a second race on the planet to deal with in the first contact situation. So the Enterprise crew is trying their hardest to learn everything that is necessary about both races in order to salvage and have a successful first contact situation.

One of the things I really liked about the book was the use of a roleplaying subplot. I thought it was a fun little distraction for me and the crew members involved. Of course I was drawn to the idea that little game in part because of my own interests (since I do role play Star Trek). But I also really liked how it showed the crew interaction away from the bridge. Initially it had two show members and two non-show members, but then Hoshi’s duty/workaholic ways pulled her away from the game. So it became three non-show members and Mayweather trying to make their ways through Mars and gather pieces of a Universal Translator. But it was great to see how involved they got from the game and how their different skills/ideas really added to the game. It was like watching a mini away mission inbetween the major action of the book.

All in all a fun read if you are into Star Trek.