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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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I was sick for about half of the month, so I didn't read many novels, although I've been doing pretty well with catching up on two mangas I got behind on.

An Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair: I know she's really popular with SFR and RSF fans and with some people on my friends list, but I haven't liked a single book I've read or tried to read of hers. I much prefer romantic SF to SFR/futuristics so her books just don't work very well for me since I want more fully realized SF worlds and less romance tropes. Also, I hate, hate, hate alpha males. (I also attempted to read Gabriel's Ghost and Games of Command this month, but I didn't make it through either one of them).

Fruits Basket Vol. 21 by Natsuki Takaya: All I have to say is FINALLY! I'm sad that this manga is winding down but I've started another manga series by Takaya.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 15 by Hiromu Arakawa: I loved this volume, which was a prequel about the war in Ishbal, plus the scene between Edward and Riza about Ed possibly loving Winry was priceless.

Impostor by Valerie J. Freireich: I loved the first two books in the Polite Harmony of Worlds series, but this one made me deeply uncomfortable. The antagonist was truly evil and he committed horrible atrocities, plus the heroines were both rape victims and the hero was deported and kept getting beaten up- it all just got to be too much. Plus I think it might have been an example of Muslim fail, but I have to admit that I don't know much about the religion and its customs, but all of the Muslim characters ended up being pretty bad.

I also wanted to read some of my Rachel Gibson books, but I hated every single one I tried so I tossed the whole pile. I guess I shouldn't have gotten all of her books after liking the first two I read.


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UpLink by Jane S. Fancher: I love Fancher's books and I'm so disappointed that she can't seem to find a publisher now. I love the angst and her gay, bi, and genderbending characters.

Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre: I liked this even better than Grimspace, even though romantic SF is my favorite sub-genre and this one had a lot less romance. I love all of Aguirre's characters, but Vel is my favorite. And while I got flashes of such films as Aliens while reading, I still loved this.

The Sharing Knife: Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold: I don't know how it happened but Lois has snuck in as my co-favorite author, along with Clive Barker. I love pretty much everything she's ever written and all of the things I read her books for are present here too. Bujold is one of a very few authors I've read who really understand disability and write about it with sensitivity. I thought this was the perfect ending to the series, but I wouldn't mind more books set in the Wide Green World.

I also attempted to read Deirdre Martin's hockey romance series, but I had major issues with it right from the first book and they only got worse from there. I'm just not meant to read romance books.

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I actually did finish the Chunkster Challenge before the deadline, but between laptop problems and not having a heater in my library where my desktop is until last week, then Christmas, I didn't get around to posting a review until now.

The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain: I've had issues with the first two books in the series, and this one gave me fits early on too. But I ended up liking it quite a bit. I think this series is a bit slow and I find the love triangle frustrating, but there's enough cool stuff going on to keep me reading. My favorite aspect of this book was all of the wizards gathering to figure out what was happening with the wall. (Sorry for lack of details, but I returned the book to the library and my memory sucks).  I also loved when Karigan pretended to be a ghost in the tombs. I really like Karigan and I want things to work out well for her in the end.

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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux: I feel bad about how many of the classics I listened to this year that annoyed the hell out of me, but this was one that I couldn't wait to finish. I didn't like any of the characters but I did like the details about the Opera House.

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier: Marillier's YA books remind me a bit of Sharon Shinn's YA books. I like the historical and cultural detail she adds to her books and I can tell how much research goes into Marillier's works. I liked the romances in both of these books. I really hope there's a third book in this series.

Fortune and Fate by Sharon Shinn: I didn't like this as much as the rest of the series, but I enjoyed it well enough and it was nice to read another book by Shinn. The romance was nice and it was great catching up with my favorite characters from the series.

The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley: This was a nice, quick read, but nothing really spectacular. I'm not much of an MZB fan (yet?) but this was my favorite of those I've read by her.

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens: I can't believe this was the first time I've ever read this and I feel guilty for waiting so long. I don't know if Dickens intended it or not, but I found Ebenezer Scrooge to be really funny and entertaining. It was really fun listening to this a few days before Christmas while I was out shoveling out from two big snow storms.
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The Eye of Night by Pauline J. Alama: This book was amazing. I think it should be obvious by now that I love scarred, disabled, damaged characters, but few authors truly get it when it comes to disability. Alama gets it.

I read mostly for character, not plot, and this book delivered. I loved that the quest plot took a backseat to character development. Hwyn, Jereth, and Trenara, plus all of the supporting characters were real to me.

I always find it difficult to find the words when I love a book. I just know that if Alama had 20 books, I'd be rushing out to get them all and I'd be reading them all right now. I hope her second book comes out in the not-too-distant future and I plan to track down her short fiction.

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I'm doing a longer post about this one for the Chunkster Challenge.

I really shouldn't have waited several years between books in this series because I had forgotten so much. I found the book confusing, both because of the time gap between reading the books and because the POV character is so disoriented for a huge part of the book.

I like how everything came together in this book, especially the tie between the Drapsk, the Rugherans, and the M'hir. Huido was, as usual, one of my favorite characters in the series. I also love Barac and I was happy to see him finally find a mate- and Ruti was a great character. I was a bit surprised at the resolution to the conflict between Morgan and Symon. I'm looking forward to reading the prequel trilogy and the sequel trilogy- and maybe I'll have to re-read everything before I read the final book so I'm not so confused.
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Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon: Good, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery: I love this series! Anne is such a great character and a great role model.

Acorna's Rebels and Acorna's Triumph by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough: I was just reading these to complete the series and ugh, there's no real conclusion because there's a follow-up trilogy that I now feel compelled to read.

Fruits Basket Vols. 18-20 by Natsuki Takaya: Finally, there's some resolution to several storylines. I love Yuki's girlfriend. I can't wait to read the final three volumes.

Storm Over Warlock by Andre Norton: I will probably have to re-read this at some point because I listened to it while I was out walking and the reader was kind of quiet, so I missed some stuff. I think I will like later books in the series better- you know, the ones with women in them.

Carmen Dog by Carol Emshwiller: The premise sounded really cool, but the actual book didn't do much for me.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll: I probably should have read these when I was young. I liked aspects of both books, but found others very annoying (like the Queen constantly screaming "Off with their heads!"). I kept wanting to slap Alice for being so dumb too.

Get Crafty: Hip Home Ec by Jean Railla: I love the Get Crafty web site and Jean Railla is my crafty hero. Our philosophies match so well that I could have written this book! This was quite affirming to read.
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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!

Grimspace

Apr. 17th, 2008 12:32 pm
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Grimspace by Ann Aguirre: I wasn't sure if I would like this or not because the one other book I attempted to read that was written in present tense gave me fits. Grimspace however sucked me right in and was a very entertaining read, plus I was craving angsty space opera, so this book fit the bill exactly. All of the characters were compelling (I particularly liked Velith and I'm glad the hear he sticks around for the later books), despite their angst and damage (or maybe in my case because of their flaws since I seem to be drawn to tormented characters). I also liked the romantic sub-plot. The plot and action made the book hard to put down and I'm looking forward to Wanderlust and the other two sequels currently contracted for because of the things left unresolved. Thanks to Flight Into Fantasy and Ann Aguirre for sending this book to me. BTW, I've read a lot of discussion around the 'nets about this book and most people, including the author, think it will appeal more to romance readers than SF readers, but I'm primarily an SF reader and not a huge fan of most romances, plus I hate most urban fantasy and paranormal romance, yet I really liked this book. I do however think it will work more for people who prefer character driven stories and it will probably be more popular with female readers (although I hate to stereotype or conform to gender roles).

Judge

Apr. 10th, 2008 03:13 pm
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Judge by Karen Traviss: I haven't been able to bring myself to write about this book yet because I was so awesome that I don't want to let it go. I also don't want to face reality that this series is over, but I will definitely be re-reading all six books (probably over and over again). This series had everything I look for in science fiction so it pressed all the right buttons. I was scared to death I would hate this book and it would ruin the whole series for me (maybe I've been scarred for life from TV shows gone bad, so now that worry is crossing over into the books I read). spoilers )
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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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Path of Honor by Diana Pharaoh Francis: I liked the first book in this series a lot, but I liked this one even better. The stakes seemed a lot higher in this book with the plague, plus all of the political maneuvering. spoilers ) I'll be reading the third book next month.

The Quartered Sea by Tanya Huff: I didn't like this one quite as much as the other three books in the series, both because it didn't take place in Shkoder nearly as much as the other books, plus Benedikt got on my nerves for most of the book. It did make me feel better that other characters found him grating too though and I'm glad he grew up over the course of events. I again liked the political intrigue and I found the last third of the book impossible to stop reading, so I finished it today in one sitting.

I love Magda and I wish she had been in the book more, but since this wasn't her book, I'm not too upset.

spoiler for both books )
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The Ruby Dice by Catherine Asaro: This was my favorite Asaro book in four years. I'm glad she's gotten back to the main storyline in this series and there was a lot of progress in the overall plot in this book. spoilers )

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: I keep reading things and being told by friends that I shouldn't like Fanny and Edmund because they are timid, boring, whatever, but I did end up liking them. I hated Mary and Henry though and found spending so much time with them to be tedious and frustrating. Fanny and Edmund annoyed me a bit too though; Fanny for not speaking up and Edmund for being so stupid as to not see through Mary.
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Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: This was my least favorite of Austen's books that I've read so far, but I still found it witty and amusing. Again, there were characters I hated (Isabella and John). I haven't read any of the gothic novels parodied here, so that whole part of the book was somewhat lost on me. I loved the commentary about reading novels and wow, things really haven't changed much since Austen's time in that regard, have they?

Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones: I didn't like it as much as I liked Howl's Moving Castle, but it was still very enjoyable. I like that Jones subverts a lot of fairy tale tropes in her novels. I liked catching up with Sophie, Howl, and Calcifer, but it kind of sucked that I didn't even know who they were for so long.
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The Life Laundry: How to De-Junk Your Life by Dawna Walter and Mark Franks: Parts of this book were helpful and encouraging, but I don't understand how music collecting is okay but book collections are junk!? I also don't think having 80's and 90's music is a sign of living in the past, I just don't like much current music and a lot of the bands I used to like are either broken up or they don't appeal to me now. I know I have a tendency to be a pack rat and let things pile up, so certain sections of this book will continue to be helpful, but a lot of my problem right now is having too much of a life for too small of a space- and not having practical storage options here. I hope things are better when I move. I also had a problem with the fact that in the section about reasons for junk piling up, illness was completely overlooked. That's how I got into a mess, and the fact that my illness is chronic makes it hard to ever get caught up again.

Persuasion by Jane Austen: I listened to this on my new iPod while I went for walks or used the stepper at home. I find that it's a bit more difficult to keep my mind focused on audio books than it is on print or ebooks. I love Austen and her books always make me happy, even if some of her characters get on my last nerve (Mary and the two Mr. Elliots in this case). Although I can't bring myself to read a romance novel at this point in time, I love the classic romantic books. I love Austen's heroines and I find a bit of myself in all of them.

Exile's Valor by Mercedes Lackey: I've found myself getting impatient with most of Lackey's later Valdemar novels because they seem to have too much filler and they could probably have been condensed down to one book instead of two or three. I also knew all I needed to know about this time period from other books in the series and having to actually go through Selenay's first marriage was just painful. Also the character of Myste annoys me and I liked her much better when she was just mentioned in a vague way. I'm trying not to go off on a rant about Mary Sues and author self-insertion here.
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Catching up here.

January-November )

54) Howl's Moving Castle- Diana Wynne Jones (12/5)
55) Mort- Terry Pratchett (12/12)
56) Reader and Raelynx- Sharon Shinn (12/17)
57) Zel- Donna Jo Napoli (12/22)
58) Elemental Magic anthology (12/23)
59) Cross Vol. 2- Sumiko Amakawa (12/25)
60) Lioness Rampant- Tamora Pierce (12/31)

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
60 / 50
(120.0%)


favorites and not )
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I'm still looking for a house. Every damned time I find one, it gets taken off the market, so I'm getting more and more frustrated and stressed out, so I read more and more comfort reads. We are trying to jump on our current favorite house this week though, so maybe we will finally be moving soon and getting out of hellapartment. And then I can have a library! :-D

many books )

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