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I looked back over my novels read for last year and I'm disappointed with myself, so I've made firm goals for this year. So far, I've read three books this month, which is considerably better than most months last year.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle: Finally! I've loved the movie ever since I first saw it on HBO back in the 80's but I never read the book. I loved it and Beagle's writing style is so beautiful. I found this to be bittersweet and while I loved it, I felt a bit melancholy in the end. I have A Fine and Private Place in my TBR and put Tamsin on my PBS wishlist and it already got posted, so it's on its way.

Foundation by Mercedes Lackey: I love reading Lackey's books in the winter because they are such amazing comfort reads. Mags seemed a bit too important for such a young character and only a trainee, but whatever. My favorite sequence was the Midwinter Festival. I'm looking forward to the rest of this trilogy (?).

Stormqueen! by Marion Zimmer Bradley: Well, I finally got back to Darkover. I read Darkover Landfall over 10 years ago and was less than impressed so I never got back to the series, even though I kept collecting it. I liked this one a lot better, even though the end was so tragic. I particularly liked that this book addressed a lot of my misgivings from the first book (chronologically) about the breeding program and forced pregnancy. I was intrigued by the Towers and the matrix stones and can't wait to read more. (And yes, I can see the MZB influence on Lackey's writing).
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Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier: This was my least favorite of the Sevenwaters series (I'm almost done reading Heir to Sevenwaters), but I still enjoyed it. I like how things worked out, even if my favorite character ended up dying. I love Marillier's combination of history, fantasy, Celtic religion, and romance.

Quatrain by Sharon Shinn: I hate to say it, but this was disappointing. Two of the novellas ended up being prequels when I wanted sequels and the Summers at Castle Auburn follow-up featured a very annoying, spoiled brat heroine. I loved the Heart of Gold sequel story though, even if I barely remember that book.

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn: The first half was very enjoyable and funny, the second half was annoying and nearly made the book a wall-basher. I have issues with non-consent of any kind in fiction and the hero hauling the heroine around like a sack of potatoes "for her own good" was infuriating. This is why I rarely read romance anymore.

Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey: A typical Lackey read, which was exactly what I was looking for. The Velgarth series has turned out to be comfort reading for me, even though characters get put through the ringer. The dialects in this book gave me fits, but I enjoyed a not so goody-goody protagonist.

The Valdemar Companion: I needed to refresh my memory a bit for the older Velgarth novels but I ended up reading the whole book- well, aside from the Concordance, but I flipped through that a lot too. It's been ten years since I read Magic's Pawn, which started my headlong dive into the world of Velgarth and my memory is so rusty that I almost feel the need for a re-read, but I have so many TBR books that I don't dare re-read anything until I get my TBR pile under control (as if that's ever going to happen with Paperback Swap, BookMooch, used bookstores, and the library). Anyway, I especially found the story of how Lackey got her start in filk, then did seventeen re-writes of Arrows of the Queen to be fascinating.
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The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey: This was the best of the Luna books I've read so far. Elena was a great protagonist, the gender BS wasn't present in this one, the fantasy and romance elements blended perfectly, and Alexander turned out to be a great hero in the end, even though he was in ass in more ways than one in the beginning. I had forgotten how addicting Lackey's books can be. I've already bought book two, put book three on reserve, and got the anthology out with another story in the series. And now I want to attack that huge pile of unread Lackey books I have on my bookshelf. I was in a Lackey mood and a fantasy mood anyway, but this book was just delightful, even if it was a lot more fluffy than I'm used to from this author.

Shield of the Sky by Susan Krinard: This book was boring and never engaged me. Tahvo was a neat character, but she wasn't enough to carry the whole book for me, so I ended up skimming the second half just so I could get through it.

Fruits Basket Vol. 14 by Natsuki Takaya: I liked the first half about Rin and Haru much better than the second half about Yuki- not that I don't like Yuki, his story just wasn't as interesting.

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March 2010

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