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Calling on Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede: I liked this even more than Searching for Dragons. I loved that Morwen and her cats were the POV characters and I loved that Cimorene still got to do a lot of cool things, even though she was pregnant. I couldn't wait to start the final book because of the massive cliff-hanger at the end of this one. BTW, Fiddlesticks was my favorite of Morwen's cats.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: This was my second favorite Austen book behind Pride and Prejudice. I admit that Marianne got on my nerves after a while and I still think Willoughby is a jerk! I listened to this on my iPod while I was out walking every day and I'm sure some people in my new city think I'm completely mad because I walked around smiling or laughing. Jane Austen's books are so much fun and I love her sympathetic characters, although I've really hated some of her villains.

Dragon Harper by Anne and Todd McCaffrey: The less I say about the Pern books involving Todd McCaffrey the better. I really don't like some of the ret-conning that has gone on in these books, the same plot keeps getting recycled, and Kinden is such a Mary Sue/Gary/Marty Stu. I also thought it was ludicrous that not only were apprentice harpers given no adult supervision, but the fact that Kinden single-handedly saved all of Pern and he wasn't even an apprentice healer was ridiculous. The only bits I liked were the poignant moments when Kinden lost people close to him and the end. I also think Todd deals with gender issues better than his mother (I am not of the opinion that Anne wrote strong female characters).

Talking to Dragons: One fascinating thing about this series is that the King of the Dragons can be male or female. I really liked the way gender was handled in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This was a satisfying conclusion to the series (although technically it's the first book). I would have preferred a female lead, but Shiara was a great companion to Daystar.
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Fruits Basket Vol. 17: It's been so long since I read it that I forgot entirely what this volume was about. I'm still enjoying the manga though and I look forward to finishing it up.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: I decided to listen to this because I loved the miniseries. I enjoyed the book and I think the comparison between Gaskell and Jane Austen and Charles Dickens is appropriate. I will have to actually sit down to read this book sometime because some of the various readers were very distracting.

Heaven Chronicles by Joan D. Vinge: I prefer Vinge's novels to her short fiction but I did enjoy this. Most of the SFF authors I love have been described as being stealth feminists, but I thought the feminism stood out here. I thought the reasons for group marriage in this made much more sense than they did in Gail Dayton's Luna/Juno series.

The Sharing Knife: Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold: There aren't enough words to describe how much I love Bujold's books. I love that this is a fantasy series that takes place in a world much like frontier America. Bujold's characters are the best. I'm looking forward to the final volume of this series- and anything else Bujold writes in the future.

Searching for Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede: I read the first book of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles several years ago and the reason I never got back to the series until now was that Dealing with Dragons was an average read for me. But I liked Searching for Dragons much better. I'm reading the third book now and I'm enjoying that a lot more too. I think I needed some good YA reading because I've kind of gotten into a reading slump lately. It's not that I don't want to read, but I'm just so tired that I can't manage more than a chapter or two a day in a longer, more complex book. This series is cute and charming and there's dragons and cats, plus competant, strong women.

To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn: I like her Bridgerton books better than anything else I've read by Quinn. It's not that I'm wishing her other books were Bridgerton stories, it's that there's something very grating and annoying about Brighter than the Sun, Everything and the Moon, and To Catch an Heiress. I didn't find them as witty and funny as I was supposed to and I found the battle of the sexes aspect tired and infuriating. Caroline does stupid or dangerous things just to be corrected by the (of course) smarter hero and I'm sooooo sick of the virginal heroine and experienced hero trope. I think I should just stop reading romance altogether, but there are a few I love and I want to find more books like those.

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster: This book wouldn't have made me think nearly as much if it had been written by a woman. But the fact that a novel about a woman's search for identity and an equal partner was written in 1908 by a man is pretty mind-blowing to me. Especially considering the sex divide that is currently going on in American entertainment. BTW, I saw the new movie on Masterpiece after I listened to the book, and I hated it!
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I finished both challenges- barely.

I decided to do two other challenges, in addition to the usual 50 Book Challenge. I was going to do the Chunkster Challenge last year but never signed up, although I did read a few 400+ page books. So I've signed up for this year's Chunkster Challenge.
My list:
The Eye of Night by Pauline J. Alama
Path of Blood by Diana Pharaoh Francis
The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain
To Trade the Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

I finished Here Be Dragons!
Here's my list for that:
Dragon Harper by Anne and Todd McCaffrey
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

I've also issued myself a personal challenge over the past few years to finish shorter series within a year of starting them and to read one or more books in bigger series each year. I have so many unfinished series that I actually tagged all of them on LibraryThing so I remember to actually read the books. I'm a bit scared to start new series until I finish off some of my others first unless they are four or less books.
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I forgot I hadn't posted my thoughts on The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett before moving. And now, of course, it's been a while and I had a major life change in the middle, so I can't think of what to say. I liked the book, but not as much as the other two Discworld books I've read. Although I'm glad I didn't read this first, it wouldn't have stopped me from continuing with the Discworld. Rincewind was an okay protagonist, but I enjoyed the characters he ran into more and I loved The Luggage. I liked the humor and I laughed a lot while reading, which I totally needed at such a stressful time. Oh and the Pern parody was great.

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March 2010

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