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 (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.