indiana_j: (Default)
There's a community called [livejournal.com profile] 50bookchallenge and it's pretty much exactly what it says on the tin - you try and read 50 books in a year.  In 2009, I read 82 books (I didn't track prior to that) but over the last two years, that's dropped down to 44 and then 45.  Not horrible but I know I had long dry spells of no reading at all and it's nice having an actual number to try and hit.

I don't know if I'm going to join the actual challenge comm or not but I'll keep track of it here, at least.

1.  Cold Fire (The Spiritwalker Trilogy, #2) by Kate Elliot

The follow-up to Cold Magic and probably every bit as good as we continue to follow Cat and her cousin Bee as they try to get to safety following the fall out from the previous book.  It obviously didn't go as planned.  It's an alternate universe that, in the author's own words, is an "Afro-Celtic post-Roman icepunk Regency fantasy adventure".  It can get kind of convoluted at times and a little overbearing but, all in all, the characters are great, the magic system is interesting and the romance is very nice.  (Also, there's a free 'chapter' on Elliot's blog that, um, expounds upon one romance scene.  *fans self* ;) )

I essentially read it in less than 24 hours and it's been a long time since I've done that.
indiana_j: (Default)
I'm not sure why The Hero of the Ages (book 3 in the Mistborn trilogy) took so long to get through even though I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I mean, it's not like the other two were that much different in length.  There was just something heavy about this one in a way that I didn't get with the other two.  The 'problem' with these books is that while there's hope - there's always hope - 98% of the time you're reading people who are really not certain they're going to be living much longer.  And that's really, really noticeable here.

But I kept reading because of that tiny thread of hope, knowing (praying) that this was going to turn out well somehow.  For someone.  At least one of them?  Sanderson really doesn't believe much in the sanctity of his main characters and anyone, at any time, is fair game.  We learned that very clearly in Mistborn, the first book.

I might talk more about this series in length when I'm not so saturated in it (I had to finish tonight.  If I didn't, I would have screamed).  This last book made me want to throw it against the wall, it made me laugh, cry and make high pitched noises that would have only been heard by dogs.  The entire series spans 2,130 pages and there's not a page in there that I didn't think was worth the slog through.

God, I hope they never put this into one book.  It was hard enough carrying around just one of them.
indiana_j: (Reading)
Do you know what I've done for the last 3 1/2 hours?  I sat down and I read.  And I read.  At one point, I got up to use the bathroom before making a stop in the kitchen - and decided that food could wait.  And I went back to my book.  In my little reading nook which I haven't used in far too long, despite not having turned down the A/C (the chair is right next to the unit).  At the start of my book, I had a beer that I only managed to drink by flailing around blindly with one hand as I was far too engrossed with the book in my other hand to bother looking up for it.

Surprisingly, I'm not talking about my normal reads.  It's not a fantasy, horror or, god forbid, even those rare romances that sneak their way into my hands.

Nope, it's a book that was cheerfully pushed on me by [livejournal.com profile] incandescently - Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim.  If people can find me more hilariously and well written auto-biographies, I will take them!  I haven't read one so well written in, well, a very long time.

It's an amazing, hilarious, touching and, at times, heart breaking read.  She does talk about being a victim of child abuse - it's horrific, as it should be, but never graphic.

I watched this show (on reruns) when I was a kid and, like most people, hated Nellie.  But now I think I'll be looking at her with some fresh perspective.

Also:  the real bitch on the show wasn't Alison Arngrim who played the meanest character. ;)

So yes, thanks Lauren, for being the book pimp.  I haven't lost an evening with my nose in a book in so very long and I didn't know how much I really missed it.
indiana_j: (Reading)
Well, I certainly made some headway this month...

1.  Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next, #2) by Jasper Fforde.  As much as I loved the first one, I was terribly disappointed at how long it took me to even really enjoy this one.  Ultimately, I thought it was a great read but I had to plow through the first two or three chapters because I even got into the swing of the story or enjoyed it.  I had liked the other one right off the bat and I don't know why it took me so long to get into this one, maybe because it had been a while since I'd read the first or maybe because it wasn't as good as the first one.  It was pretty good but ultimately a little forgettable in the flow of the books this month, which is a bit sad.  I think my biggest issue is we don't really get to know a lot of the characters in the book - Thursday's husband suffered from this the most, but this also came from the first book, too.  However, once Thursday got back into the books, the story certainly picked up.  If you read this, suffer through until our girl Next goes back to book jumping.

2.  The Protector's War by S.M. Stirling.  Oh.  My.  God.  I devoured this book on my flight to California and I'm so glad I picked it up.  Everything that I loved in the first book came roaring back, with a vengeance, in this one.  And we're introduced to my favorite character ever in this series, so far, Sir Nigel Loring.  There's a part in the book that almost made me cheer and jump around, no matter that I was on the metro.  It still falls into some of the issues the first book did and I think it's just generally Stirling's writing - drowning in the details.  I skimmed over a few sections because I desperately wanted to find out what was going to happen next and I was getting bogged down in all the little pieces.  A lot of times, though, the thorough detailing helped, especially in the fight scenes that just made me wince because they were so real that they lept off the page at me.  This was, I think, a different book from the first one as the first one really was the apocalyptic scenario, even in the later parts of the book.  This was more fantasy as the horrors, mostly, of the old world dying have been dealt with.

3.  A Meeting at Corvallis by S.M. Stirling.  I couldn't help it; I had to read the next book in the series.  There's not much to add from the paragraph above except - as much as I love his heroes, damn, Stirling's villains are a thousand times more interesting.  (Well, not Nigel.  I love Nigel.)  And I only hope I get to see more of Sandra and Tiphaine in the next book(s).

4.  Another Fine Myth by Robert Lynn Asprin.  I went into this a little bit leery as I'd read Piers Anthony growing up and had grown, at a very early age, irritated by puns in stories.  But I'd heard a lot about it and I know that later editions have the folks doing Girl Genius doing the art, so I gave it a shot.  It's very cute - and short, like 200 pages - and after a bit, I did rather get into it.  It's very light hearted and, after the previous books, I sort of needed it.  It felt a bit one dimensional, all things told, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.

5.  Myth Conceptions by Robert Lynn Asprin.  Ahh, now this, while still short like the first book, was more enjoyable.  I think the supporting cast was a lot more fun (though I adore Gleep in both) and thought out than the first book.  I'll probably continue with the series but only through paperbackswap.  I don't know if I'd pay to get these.

6.  Odd Thomas (Book 1) by Dean Koontz.  I've never read anything by Koontz outside of his Frankenstein series (which I do really like), so I got this not knowing if I was going to like it or not.  ...holyhellIlovedit.  Why I hadn't read it earlier is beyond me.  Odd's story was funny, touching, horrifying and thought provoking all in one read.  And while I saw the twist at the end as I approached it, it didn't diminish the impact for me at all.  It's hard to dislike the main character (though I have in the past, trust me) but I just adored Odd and I found it very refreshing that Odd is, for the most part, settled in with his powers and already had a group of people who knew/mostly knew and cared for him.  I love the ones where people grow into their powers/gather people around them but it was nice to have that already established and be able to move onto other aspects of the book.  I'm waiting on the second one in the mail.

7.  Trick of the Light (Trickster, #1) by Rob Thurman.  As delightful as this book turned out to be, Rob Thurman's overall writing is equally as delightful - I shouldn't have been surprised that I loved this book just as much as her Cal series.  I was as happy reading Trixa's story as I have been reading Cal and Niko (though none shall take the place in my heart that Nik resides in ;), equally as happy with aspects that I enjoyed with Odd's journey (Trixa already had a family gathered around her).  The differences between the two stories were obvious but enough similarities that reading this new story was like reading an older, familiar one.  Thurman's book was one of many delights this month but, I think, on top of the heap for sure.  And, oh, the twists nearly made me drop the book at the end of it.

8.  The Buried Pyramid by Jane Lindskold.  I adored Lindskold's Child of a Rainless Year ([info]heatherly, if you haven't read this, I think you'd like it) but, for some reason, I never read any of her other books.  Another PBS 'purchase', as soon as I started reading this, I was loathe to put it down.  Lindskold has such a way with words that she draws you in until you're completely submerged in the story and characters; none of the characters are perfect, especially the two main characters, but they're delightful and you root for them and hope they grow as people.  The supporting cast of characters was everything that I could want in one, the bad guys delightful but still oh so very human.  And like Child of a Rainless Year the magic in this book doesn't really appear until the very end but by then, it's simply a natural step for it to take, not out of place at all.


9.  Fortune and Fate (Twelve Houses, #5) by Sharon Shinn.  *throws up hands*  Yet another author that I'm just kicking myself for not reading beyond a single novel (that, again, I adored).  Shinn shares Lindskold's craft of language in different ways, perhaps, but just as strong ones.  I didn't know this was in a series but found it didn't really hurt the story that much (though I need to get the other 4 now).  Flawed or, I suppose, more broken main character who still maintains her strength and you just can't help but root for her to heal her wounds and move on.  And when she did, I flailed about in my room, giggling because the scene was just so awesome.  Every character who had more than a page in the book was wonderfully fleshed out in their own ways and you grow to quickly love the supporting cast.  When they're under attack, it was hard not to flip through to find out who made it and who didn't.  This was the kind of book that I wanted so badly to reach the end to see what happened and yet was horribly disappointed when it was over and the story was done.

What do I recommend?  Hoo boy, this was a very, very good month.  Without a doubt, if you want urban fantasy you need to read Rob Thurman.  *pause*  Anything by Rob Thurman, for that matter.  Shinn and Lindskold are high, high recommendations - I mean, these are some fantastic authors.  Stirling and Koontz of course.  The others are good, too, just not in the stand on a rooftop and throw books at people to make them read like Thurman, Koontz, Shinn, Lindskold and Stirling are, IMO.

 

indiana_j: (Reading)
So with me winging off to California tomorrow, I'll be doing the rest of the icons for people when I get back. :D  And now, my books for August.

I really do have to get over the "only really read during commutes" thing as August was sadly depleted (well, okay, Dexcon, moving, furlough - I only really had two weeks where I did any reading).

1.  Jericho Moon by Matthew Stover.  I had actually started this in July and it did make the trip up to DexCon with me - saved my butt during the boring wait at the border, that's for sure.  Doqz managed to get through half of it on the car ride though I don't know if he was cheating and just skimming. ;)  This is a direct sequal to Iron Dawn and I do have to say that I enjoyed the first book in the series more and I don't quite know why.  It's still an incredibly good read and [livejournal.com profile] nute was right in that I cried during the Jericho scene, the bastard.  I do really enjoy that both books do not make it easy for our heroes - they are beaten down, broken and pounded into dust before they can get back on track.  I'm not really up on my Bible history, though the names were familiar, so I'm not sure what vein Stover took them in but I will admit that I started to skim the sections that didn't include our trio (Joshua was awesome but I grew weary of slogging after a while).  Over all, I really enjoyed it but I didn't devour it like I did the first book.

2.  A Madness of Angels: Or the Resurrection of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin.  This was apparently Griffin's first foray into adult fiction and I think it was a really successful first book.  It was ... okay, the beginning was very strange and it did take me some time to get into it.  Matthew Swift - dead for the last two years - has been brought back against his will and brought back changed.  The confusion of the main character so off the bat, where he tries to come to terms with what happened and even who he is, really threw me off but in a good way, I think, as I was just as confused as Matthew was.  And the way he talked "I was walking but then we noticed someone was following" for example was grating until you realized there was a reason for that and then you started to pay attention.

Also, in a time where urban fantasy is the new It thing in writing these days it's wonderful to come across a magic system that's similiar but fresh at the same time.  I finished reading the book and felt like I'd been emmersed in London for the past week.  Griffin falls into the listing issue quite a bit but for the most part makes it work.  Her secondary characters are wonderful even if they aren't likeable and you love them all the more for it.  Also, not many books have you sort of rooting for the villain (in a sense).  A book to pick up if you like urban fantasy, London and plots that are twisted.  I can't wait to see what she does next.

3.  A Monstrous Regement of Women (Mary Russell Series, #2) by Laurie R. King.  I can see some of you roll your eyes and the others wave your hands about with me. ;)  I read this (and the first one) back when I was in HS and I just fell in love with it.  I can easily overlook the Mary Sue tendancies of Mary Russell simply because King just brings Sherlock Holmes to life in an amazing way.  There are some things wrong with the book but like I said in that one post, it was like finding that well worn coat in the back of your closet - there are holes in the elbows and in the pockets but it's warm and comfortable.  And then you find the $20 bill you forgot about.  I had completely forgotten the majority of the real plot, apparently, and was delighted to be surprised all over again.  The writing is very solid, the main characters so well fleshed out - I wish for more secondary characters but this was written some time ago and she is still producing so I'm going to have to check out the rest of the series, I think.

4.  The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern William Goldman.  So I was glad when Ben told me he had done the same thing - I originally had tried to read this when I was younger but was horrified that this Goldman character was taking out what he thought were the 'boring bits'.  I couldn't believe someone could do that and so I just never read the book.  XD  Overall, it was a cute book but I have to say this is the one instance where I enjoyed the movie more.  Buttercup wasn't the best character in the movie but man, I couldn't stand her in book.  Everything else was more or less the same but I'll stick to the movie in the future.

What do I recommend?  Without a doubt pick up A Madness of Angels: Or the Resurrection of Matthew Swift and check out Jericho Moon if you like the grittier higher fantasty stuff.



indiana_j: (No head)
I'm all moved in, just with no 'net at home right now (Cox is looking at it today) and utterly exhausted.  I have no brain power to do much beyond this list right now.

1.  The Trouble With Demons (Raine Benares, #3) by Lisa Shearin.  Aww, one of my favorite fantasy series! *snuggles*  Raine is back and is in even more trouble than the last two books - the pacing is still strong and there are enough hooks and twists to make this very entertaining.  Also, many props to Shearin because this is one of those romance-y books where I'm "No, pick them both!  BOOOOTH!"  Mmmm...

2.  Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.  I saw the Miyazaki movie a while ago and was thoroughly enchanted by it.  The book did not disappoint and while the differences stuck out, I think I enjoyed the book just as much as the movie for different reasons.  If anything, the book was more fantastical than the movie in terms of scope and such.

3.  Dead to Me (Simon Canderous, #1) by Anton Strout.  So this is the one that I had the signed copy for ... even that didn't save it.  If it's not purple prose, it's listing that just makes the writing awkward and bad.  I don't know if this was Strout's first book but it certainly felt like it was.  I didn't like any character, main - in fact, I sort of hated the main character - or secondary, and finishing it was like swimming through concrete.

4.  The Stepsister Scheme (Princess, #1) by Jim C. Hines.  This was such an awesome little novel!  A retelling on the princess fairy tales, you wind up with not just one but three off shoots of kick ass princesses (Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty).  After the struggle with Strout, it was such a relief to read a book that flowed so well.  I can't wait for the next book in the series.

5.  Bestial by Ray Garton.  I had NOT realized this was a direct sequel for Ravenous and the moment I did realize it my exact reaction was pretty much "Aaaaaagggh!".  We're shown more from the bad guys point of view in this and it had less side characters than the first one had - the ending wasn't as much of a gut punch as the first one was, that's for sure.  It was still a strong novel but in regards to the first book, I think it's the weaker of the two.  It didn't scare me quite as much as the first one did but it's still fairly strong.

6.  Here, There & Everywhere by Chris Roberson.  I picked this up because it was the story of one of the more fascinating of his characters in The End of the Century, Roxanne Bonaventure.  True to form, everything that was character specific was great, especially the section where she teamed up with Sanford Blank, and I devoured it.  But when we started to get into the meat of the plot near the end, I was lost.  Right over my head, weirdness sort of thing.  I think I just kind of want a book on the adventures of Bonaventure and Blank and nothing else, sadly.

7.  Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  My very favorite FBI is back. I'd hug him but I don't think he'd like that. ;)  I've adored the Preston and Child collaborations since Relic and this book didn't disappoint.  I wouldn't rate it as good as the Diogenes series - those (technically) three novels just can't be beat for the villain and the rising conflict between the two brothers.  That's the only thing I think the future non-Diogenes series might suffer from - we're lacking a cohesive villain to make us really, really worried that Pendergast wasn't going to make it out alive.  Still, this was very enjoyable and continues the theme that Smithback can never, ever, catch a break.

What do I recommend?  Howl's Moving Castle and Cemetery Dance make the top of the list this month.  Do not read Dead To Me - maybe he gets better but I don't want to bother finding out.

indiana_j: (Reading)
1.  Blood Price (Victoria Nelson, Book 1 by Tanya Huff.  It's been ... years since I've last read Huff but I've known abut this series for what felt like forever.  I decided it was a good time to try the series and I found it to be pretty good.  It stuck out more for me than some of her other books (I don't even remember most of her other stuff) and I found the characters to be pretty interesting.  The end was more than a bit predictable but it was still fun.

2.  Murder on St. Mark's Place (Gaslight Mysteries #2) by Victoria Thompson.  Can I jut say how much I enjoy this series?  The characters are well fleshed out and the mystery is enjoyable (something that sometimes falls a bit flat with my other 'new' favorite mystery series).  The only thing I could wish more for would be more side characters but the two main are great, so I'll have to deal.  This tends to be one of those read in one sitting kind of books; not only because I really like it but also because it's not the heaviest material in the world. ;)

3.  Street Magic (Black London Novels) by Caitlin Kittredge.  A little back ground about this.  While this is the first book in the series, this was not the first time that we, I, were introduced to these characters.  She'd written a piece for My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon that featured Pete and Jack after this book - it was a bit jarring to read a short story based on a book that hadn't been printed yet but it was good enough to leave an impression on me.  This was no different.  I found it to be incredibly interesting, and darker than I had expected, and the characters were still as intriguing as I had found them a year or so ago.

4.  Iron Dawn (Heart of Bronze, #1) by Matthew Stover.  *grins*  Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] nute, for telling me I should get this book.  I read Stover years ago but he'd dropped off my radar - oh man, do I need to put him back on!  This was a great adventure novel that was just different enough from the normal adventure fantasy books to stand out.  I cried in places, I laughed and I shrieked at a few.  It was really not what I was expecting and I can't wait to read the sequel.

5.  Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling.  NGGAAAGH.  I made that noise a number of times while I was reading this (and note - do NOT read this while listening to Repo The Genetic Opera; the dreams were FREAKY WOO WOO).  I thought it was a biiit long but it didn't really detract from the enjoyment for me, just dragged a slight bit in some of the day to day things.  I adore end of the world as we know it books and I really just ate this up.  Even if it scared the bejesus right out of me.

6.  Heroics for Beginners by John Moore.  I'm so sad to say that I really didn't enjoy this as much as I had been hoping.  After Dies the Fire (Not Die in a Fire ;) ), I had wanted something funny and this was amusing in places but it had been done so much better in Never After.  I found it to be so heavy handed and not in a way that was actually funny.  I laughed at some places but spent most of it kind of going 'eh'.

7.  Magic to the Bone (Allie Becktrom, Book 1) by Devon Monk.  This was a fairly decent urban fantasy book - it had an interesting magical set up and the characters were interesting.  I found it dragged around the middle, where they went out of the city, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at some of the romance stuff (I'm not a big fan of love being found within such a short period of time) but I enjoyed it and I'll probably pick up the second one.

8.  Ghost Ocean by S.M. Peters.  This is, I believe, Peters second novel.  I ADORED Whitechapel Gods, a steampunkish take that had me clinging onto the story from page one to the last page.  I ... wish I had felt the same with this one.  It was really good (and don't get me wrong, the writing is incredibly strong) and then I just ... got lost.  The plot kind of went out to outer space and while I followed it, I didn't really enjoy where it ended up going.  I didn't really care for any of the characters, not even Te the main character, with the exception of Yun who we didn't see enough of.  The writing wa solid and strong but I just didn't enjoy it as much.  Peters has one hell of an imagination, that's for sure, though.

What do I recommend?  Street Magic for those who like gritty urban magic with characters that you like even while knowing they can be kind of awful people.  (Yeah, [livejournal.com profile] deathpixie , you might like this one.*grins*)  Iron Dawn and Dies the Fire for sure.  Skip Moore's book.  And pick up Whitechapel Gods - yeah, I read it ages ago but it's FANTASTIC.

indiana_j: (Reading)
Apparently I don't read on vacations or during my down time.  So weird.  Instead, I read on the metro and at lunch during work - this explains a bit why this was a small reading month.

1.  The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia.  I had previously read The Alchemy of Stone by this author and, despite the fact that it was a kind of odd book, I really liked it.  I picked this one up based on the strength of the other book and it was pretty good.  To be honest, I didn't care for any of the main characters all that much - they were pretty much beaten down by life and not the nicest of people, all in all - but the writing was superb and the 'other world' was incredibly interesting.

2.  Brimstone Kiss (Delilah Street, book 2) by Carole Nelson Douglas.  Ugh.  I vaguely remember her mystery books (didn't she write ones with cats?) and I got this one because, generally, I enjoy a good urban fantasy romp.  My current urban fantasy authors have spoiled me rotten, seriously.  I hadn't realized this was the second book in the series but since she sums up everything in the prologue, there's really no reason to go and buy it.  It.  Just.  Was bad.  I hated the main character and the only enjoyable part of the book was the whole 'old stars brought to life' aspect but since you had to experience it through Delilah's eyes ...  just a very boring book.

3.  Never After by Rebecca Lickiss.  This was pretty cute.  The 'prince charming' of the book discovers, to his chagrin, that the castle with a sleeping princess actually holds three princes and returns with his stubborn cousin so that she can kiss the guys awake and he can move in on the hot princess asleep in the dining hall.  They join forces with three wizards and all of them come afoul of a cranky, misguided fairy godmother who forces the Princess in question to endure princess tests.  Again, I disliked a majority of the main characters with the exception of the guy who comes to the cousin's rescue and the cousin herself.  However, I suspect Lickiss planned it that way - the prince charming was a doofus and the magicians weren't much better.  Tongue in cheek from start to finish and a very easy read.

4.  Mulengro: A Romany Tale by Charles de Lint.  I've never read de Lint before and apparently this is one of a handful of his darker novels.  I'll say.  It was an incredibly enjoyable story that got bogged down towards the end, I think, but not so badly that it completely ruined it for me.  I was never truely scared but the suspense was kept up quite nicely until the end.  The view into Rom culture was incredibly fascinating.

5.  Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin.  The journals of Dr. Jekyll's maid, Mary Reilly, give a new and rather creepy insight to the good doctor and his not so good alter ego.  It was an interesting book, in part because I knew what the ending was going to be.  But seeing it from Mary's point of view was incredibly interesting.  Knowing what the ending was going to be meant it wasn't really a scary book but there was some suspense and a good build up to what you knew what was coming.  I was told there was a movie, checked it out online - and I'll stick with the book, thanks.

What do I recommend?  All of them are good reads, for different reasons, with the glaring exception of Brimstone Kiss.  The star was probably Mulengro.

indiana_j: (Reading)
1.  Dragon Lovers by Jo Beverly, Mary Jo Putney, Karen Harbaugh, and Barbara Samuel - A book with a few shorter stories and I have to say, I wasn't blown away by most of them.  I really did love 'Anna and the King of Dragons' by Harbaugh the most; out of the other stories, it seemed to be the one that was written the best, I actually cared and enjoyed the characters and the plot was really nice.  I'd go so far as to say I want to check out some of her other work.  The rest of the book was decent but not enough for me to really wave my arms about.

2.  The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner - This is a more realistic look at taking a girl in a period setting where women don't wear pants, were they don't learn to swordfight and were marriage is one of The top priorities and making her learn the sword, wear men's clothing and generally turn her world upside down.  It was a refreshing change of pace from the "I'm a girl and I can sword fight and it's AWESOME" in that the main character struggles to come to grips with her new life and the life of an eccentric uncle that she's never met.  It's wonderfully written and even though it's apparently a follow up to another novel, it's not so telling that you can't read it.  The characters are incredibly fun to read and they're all so well-fleshed out that even the minor characters come to life on the page.

3.  The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen - After reading The Glass Harmonica I was a little leery about getting into another book that skipped between two different time periods.  I should have read this first because this is how you do it.  The mystery, and horror, of what happened in the past resonates in the future when a woman finds a skeleton on her new property - this simply fleshes out the growing horror story when you read the story from those that lived that tale.  It was very well done but it was also pretty graphic, especially the first few scenes of the birthing wards.

4.  Emperor Norton's Ghost by Dianne Day - My fluff read, pretty much.  Still as well done as the first set, I stil love that she brings back characters from previous books and it's still fun.

5.  Ravenous by Ray Garton -  Holy crap.  This book scared me to death - incredibly graphic, incredibly brutal it's really not for everyone.  Especially considering the end.  Very well written horror novel with a new twist on the werewolf scene and I couldn't put it down even when I really, really wanted to.

6.  Turn Coat by Jim Butcher - Everything I want to say is spoileriffic. ;)  Needless to say, this was just as good as the rest of the series, if not better.  It seemed like 90% of the cast had turned out in this at one point or another and even as Butcher finally gave us some answers, he left us with a few more questions, the bastard.  As wonderfully entertaining as always.

7.  Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer, Book 4) by Karen Chance - What can I say besides the fact that I somehow didn't know that the next book in one of my favorite series had been out?  I did a dance.  Chance continues the Cassandra Palmer books in style and I ate up any section with Pritkin, as is my wont. :D  (Seriously, for the most part I've grown tired of the triangle's and whatnot in these urban fantasy books but I'm cheerfully screaming at this book "No, no, pick him!  Don't pick him!")  The only stumbling block for me was when I found out that only a month has lapsed since the first book and this one - it threw me as I really wasn't expecting it.  It's pretty minor and I got over it.

8.  Deathwish (Cal Leandros, Book 4) by Rob Thurman - Remember when I said I did a dance with Chance's book?  Well, I had her book in hand and turned around and saw Deathwish and did another dance. :D  Two of my favorite series in one go, mwahaha.  *cough*  I think out of the last four books in this series this one is my favorite and it's not just because of the writing or the story.  I loved that we suddenly got chapters from the perspective of Niko, Cal's brother.  It was wonderful to see behind his eye's and see the brotherly bond from his end and not just Cal's.  I laughed outloud, I screamed outloud at one point - the great thing about this series is that former characters are never forgotten.  We still have references to the doctor from the first book and considering my EXTREME LOVE for secondary/side characters, this makes me happy.  *flails with the book*  *flails with it*  (And my love for Robin grows and grows and grows.  ...that's what she said. :D)

9.  Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler - Er, man, this was a weird book.  Very well written but I really didn't care for it.  I can't deny that it was well written or that a lot of other people might get into it but I just really couldn't and I don't know why.

Wrapup and recommendations!  I recommend pretty much everything but Dragon Lovers and Kissing in Manhattan - if you're looking for good urban fantasy to get into, go and read the Cassandra Palmer series and the Cal Leandros series.  Jim Butcher rocks my world as always.

indiana_j: (Reading)
1.  Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones Book 1) by Amber Benson - Yes, that Amber Benson from Buffy.  *grins*  It's a fairly good book - first person urban fantasy about Death's daughter getting dragged back into the family business when her dad, sister and the Board go missing.  It's amusing and has a few nice twists in there.  My only big problem was I kept visualizing the main character as Tara.  XD

2.  Watchmen by Alan Moore - Ben loaned this to me the day before we went to see the movie.  I really enjoyed it, even if it did screw with my head.  That really wasn't helped by the fact that I read it in one day (ride to and from work and lunch) and then saw the movie the very next night.  I could see what the fuss was about.

3.  The Glass Harmonica by Louise Marley - Okay, I would have been really happy if half the book hadn't happened.  I thought it was at least 50 pages too long, I really didn't connect or care for either of the main characters and even my love of historical figures in fiction couldn't float me through this.  Very disappointing.

4.  Fire and Fog by Dianne Day - Book two in the Fremont Jones   Just as much fun as the first book, though I have a feeling that the supporting cast is going to keep changing with every book - not all, though.  The mystery part of it was more central to the book, which was nice.

5.  End of the Century by Chris Roberson - This was a very, very fun book.  It spans across three points in time (in the times of the 'real' King Arthur with the focus on Galaad; 18th Century England with Sandford Blank and Roxanne Bonaventure; and now with American teen Alice Fell) and it neatly ties clues and hints in each section.  All the characters are fun, though I'll admit that I wasn't as in love with Galaad and his adventures.  Also, [livejournal.com profile] deathpixie , Alice is like an American Amanda!  The end got REALLY weird and gave me a headache but it was still a really good book, even if the explanation gave me that headache.

6.  Nightingale's Lament (Nightshade #3) by Simon R. Green - Ah, the magically inclined detective.  So over done - and, yet, I think Green makes his corner of the genre shine.  I like him almost as much as Jim Butcher; it's more like reading Constantine.  I haven't read the Nightshade series in a while but it was nice to pick up the book and be sucked right back into it.

7.  The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade by M.J. Trow - Awhile ago, [livejournal.com profile] doqz  recommended this book to me after I bemoaned the treatment of Lestrade in the makings of various Sherlock Holmes movies/books and it finally appeared on paperbackswap.  I really, really enjoyed it.  It made Lestrade very human but very smart, Holmes was amusing and yet very sad when he appeared in the book, and the seemingly unconnected mysteries at the start proved to be very connected and very intriguing.

8.  Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez - Okay, I just love this author.  I've loved everything I've read by him and my enjoyment just grows and grows.  The Earl of Vampires, who happens to be named Earl, and a Duke of Werewolves, who likes to be called Duke, wind up at a diner that's having a spot of supernatural trouble.  Soon they're up to their necks in evil teenagers, a take no prisoners waitress, zombies, ghouls and ghosts.  And it's completely cracktastic but believable as well.  My hat is off to Martinez for taking two of the most overdone types of characters (werewolves and vampires) and making them fun characters while laughing at the pretty boy images.

9.  The Bohemian Murders by Dianne Day - Book 3!  Once more, very much in love with the two main characters - and there are hints at returning supporting cast, which I love - and loveable new supporting cast.  It seems with every new book, Day's mysteries blossom and grow from the previous two books.

What do I recommend?  Everything but The Glass Harmonica; what I would recommend the most, however, are End of the Century, Gil' All Fright Diner and The Adventures of Inspector Lestrade.

Book Recs

Sep. 8th, 2008 06:13 pm
indiana_j: (Default)
Bitten to Death (Jaz Parks, Book 4) by Jennifer Rardin

Bitten to Death )
Moonshine (Cal Leandros) by Rob Thurman (Book Two)

Moonshine )

Pandemonium
by Daryl Gregory

Pandemonium )
Heaven's Bones by Samantha Henderson

Heaven's Bones )

indiana_j: (Default)
Lately, I've been reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series.  To be honest, it sometimes takes quite a bit to get me really into high fantasy in the last few years - I'm much more into urban fantasy but I'll give high fantasy a try now and again if the concept is interesting.  Or if a favorite author is putting out books.

I think I stumbled onto Mistborn: The Final Empire completely by accident.  Borders had a 'buy one off this shelf, get something else off this shelf half off' sale.  I can't remember what else I picked up but that's the book I got on sale.

The entire premise is "What what happen if the big bad guy won?"  Not only did the big bad win but he's managed to set himself up as god and he's been ruling over the entire world for over a thousand years.  The people are subjugated to the point where most of the serving class (ie, 90% of the human race) don't ever think there's another way because there really isn't.

The magic system is unique - there are people who can do "magic" but it's by using, or 'burning', an outside source.  Metal that the Allomancer's swallow.  Each metal is paired up with another and each metal does something different.  If you burn Tin, your senses get enhanced.  If you burn pewter, you get stronger and hold up against more damage.  Those that can burn and use all of them are Mistborns - most people can only burn one metal (pewter burners are Thugs, etc).

The main characters make up a skaa (the lower class) thieving crew who's latest gig is to take down the Final Empire.  Kelsier, the leader and a Mistborn, takes Vin under his wing and into the group - the story is mainly told from their perspectives as an entire year of planning and working goes by.

Now I LJ cut for the second book. ;)


The only bad thing about the book is that the third installment, The Hero of Ages, isn't out until Oct. 2008.

If you're looking for a fantastic fantasy series with well-fleshed out characters, interesting twists on some of the common themes, and some good world-building...yeah, go get these.

(The only thing I sometimes noticed was that it, at times, would get a little bogged down in detail because there's just so much going on.  The second one more than the first because then you really get into the workings of the government.)

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