Majkia, Magic and Mystery 2012
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I'm trying something different this year. Usually I prefer to read one book at a time. But since I have difficulty sometimes with dead tree books because of arthritis in my hands, I tend to lag when I'm reading Them.
So the plan is to have one e-reader book going, one dead-tree book going, and an audio book as well, since I'm horrible about keeping up with them.
At the moment this means:
Iago: A Novel which I got as an ER book is the dead tree
Black Lung Captain is going on the e-reader
and am going to start Oryx and Crake audio in a book.
We'll see how well I do. I'm hoping if the books are different enough I won't mind this plan.
My problem as well. I try to keep the dead tree books down to smaller books, less than 300 pages. I don't do audio as I tend to let the tape rattle on while I think of other things, and then I'll realize I missed whole sections of the story.
So my list goes like this: One book on the Kindle, one on the Nook, one small book for the bathtub, and another small book for when my eyes just need to get away from screens and then, one or more magazines for when I'm just sitting for a few minutes.
You have just been starred!
Good luck at the "multiple books at one time" project. I would only end up with some seriously weird mash-ups if I tried (Ghengis Khan riding a dragon over the plains of Gondor... terrifying)
Ditto! I loved Oryx and Crake and look forward to seeing what you think of it.
Oryx and Crake is very very strange. Nothing is happening, yet it is oddly mesermizing. I'm about half way.
The multiple format reading so far is doing pretty well! Of course the books are quite different. I think as long as that is the case, it will be fine. Although granted my dreams might be a bit weird for a time....
I am curious to hear your thinking on the Iago: A Novel as I saw it the other day in a brick-and-mortar bookstore. It seemed intriguing. How is it so far?
Jill, Iago: A Novel isn't at all what I expected. Interesting. But I'm not sure yet how much I will like it. I have no idea where it is going! I'm only about 100 pages in though and it is 400 plus. So lots of time to figure that out.
Nice review of Oryx and Crake. I agree that much of what she predicts in the novel seems plausible. Are you planning to read the companion novel, The year of the flood? I didn't like it quite as much as Oryx, but it fleshes out the dystopian world and how it got that way more fully. It took me a while to get into, but by the end I found it as gripping as O & C.
#17: I hadn't even realized there was another novel until I'd finished it. So, yeah, I expect I'll read it too. Probably not real soon though.
Oooo, I like that idea! Celebrating our Thingaversaries with book buying binges!
I certainly plan on adding it to my list of rationalizations. Thumbs up, majkia!
Tea with the Black Dragon is dated, but still delightful...I think you'll enjoy it!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting everyone!
This is just a note to say that my reading time has dried up to almost nothing. I've been overwhelmed with election stuff.
For those who don't know, I volunteer for the local Supervisor of Elections and that is time consuming when elections are due. I am a volunteer trainer, as well as a supervisor at an Early Voting Site (sometimes several) and of course work the polls as the person who runs one of the precincts on the actual election day.
This year the Florida Republicans decided they wanted their Presidential Selection Primary early so we've been slammed getting ready for it on January 31st. Early voting begins Saturday and will run every day through Next Saturday. Those are 9 hour days at the very least, what with 8 hours we're open and then time to secure ballots and the sites and everything associated with that.
The only good thing about this early election is that it is a good chance to train extra workers for the presidential election in November which, if it is anything at all like the 2008 election, will be madness. Then we were working 14 hour days. Currently we plan to have early voting for 12 hours every day we can be open, so the 14 hour days are expected.
So anyway, I'm around. And if the polls are slow (as they may be for this one since only the Republicans in the county can vote - altho there are a few small municipal elections in small towns of the county) I'll have a book with me if I get a chance to actually sit down.
I finally finished Iago: A Novel which I found to be slow going. I didn't identify very well with any of the characters so really didn't much care about their fate. By the end of the book I did care about Iago and it would have helped immensely if I'd known more about him throughout the book.
It is well written, and the world painted well, though.
My review is here.
Good luck with all the election stuff. I hope you do get some time to read!
Thanks Claire. The first day started out horrible with all sorts of hardware issues. I had the second day off. Today I'm in charge, so really keeping fingers crossed problems are ironed out!
Voters, who had to wait while we reset hardware were wonderful though. No one complained and everyone was smiling as we begged for forgiveness :)
Computers! They were supposed to make our lives so much easier! We were going to have some much more time to do things... like read....
I hope the hardware and the software and the clothes you wear all were good and functional today. Thank you bunches for being willing to help citizens exercise their privilege to vote.
Thanks Cindy. Everything worked out fine. Now let's hope Tuesday goes as well!
Finished The Invisible Ones last night. What a terrific read!
The writing is excellent, the mystery complex. The world of the last of the travelling Roms is painted with care and sympathy, and is especially poignant as painted through the eyes of the one healthy boy of the family, as he watches his cousin suffer the 'family disease.'
Highly recommended! (This was an ER book I received through LibraryThing.com)
Review can be found here
Currently listening to Agents of Light and Darkness the second book of Simon R. Green's Nightside series.
He does crack me up.
Marilyn Monroe appears on behalf of Howard Hughes who wants to hire John Taylor. John comments, "I thought he was dead." and knows full well Marilyn is also.
Her retort had me laugh out loud: "Men that rich don't die, sugar. Unless they want to. They just move to another plane. For tax purposes."
A mystery about Travellers in the UK (#31) sounds interesting. I've added it to my wish list!
Here’s my review
Gritty, fascinating, intriguing view of the creation of a special unit created to track down a serial killer. It took me awhile because I wanted to think about it, the details, the complexities.
Highly recommended for those interested in such things.
I confess to knowing next to nothing of Mongol hordes. I do know the first few lines of a Tennyson poem and have seen the remains of a statue in Egypt that most guides will use to recite the poem. So when I saw a book about Kublai Khan I was definitely interested.
I hate picking up a series in the middle (and worse, in this case, the end0 but got it as an Early Reviewer Book.
My Official Review is here
Oh! The "Conqueror" series is one of my favorites! Since you liked this one I strongly recommend reading the rest of the series. I especially liked the first three books in the series where you "get to know" the great Ghengis and see the power of the Mongols rising.
Great review by the way!
Thanks, LD! Yes, I figure I shall have to read the rest of the series now.
And, since I've been sick with a horrible cold and miserable, reading is the only thing I feel like doing, so I finished Spin last night. For the last 150 pages I simply couldn't put it down, no matter how miserable I felt. Really enjoyed it!
So I've had a miserable cold (and still feel pretty horrible) but at least I've had time to read.
Techno-thriller with scifi elements. Interesting and complex characters, good mystery and a great ending.
Scifi thriller about the night the stars go out. Great characterization, interesting tech, baffling mystery, satisfying ending.
Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas
A young man, recently released from prison, mourning his dead wife, is nearly at the end of his rope. He’s ready to throw himself off Westminster Bridge and give it all up. Then he reads an ad for a position and, with little hope, applies.
To his surprise, he is hired and discovers the world of ‘enquiry agents’ wherein ‘some danger involved’ is an apt description.
A good start to the series, with grimness, grime and misery depicted well. The mystery isn’t bad either, and the characters are well drawn.
Just finished Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. Skated a bit too closely to romance in several parts (for me anyway) and seemed a bit obvious with regards to some things, but nonetheless a good read. I enjoyed the characters who were well drawn and interesting. Will read the next two I'm sure.
I posted a review of Silent in the Sanctuary which is the second in the series to my blog a while back. I don't think there are spoilers, but YMMV so do feel free to not read that posting if you worry about that kind of thing. (http://individualtake.blogspot.com/2008/02/silent-in-sanctuary-title-silent-in.h...)
Hi Jill. Sounds like we see her books similarly. Light fare but mostly fun. I agree about the having breathing. Annoying!
Death at the President's Lodging by Michael Innes
First in the Inspector Appleby series. Set in 1930s Oxford.
A good opening to a mystery series. I really like the detective, and the setting was complex and interesting. I thought the mystery pretty good but the actual solving of the case seemed a bit too complex for belief. Still, I’ll continue the series.
The Last Kashmiri Rose by Barbara Cleverly
The Setting: Bengal, the British Raj, shortly after WWI. A Scotland Yard inspector temporarily assigned to Indian Police Forces is called in to look into the mysterious death of an English memsab, wife of an officer in a famous regiment. Ruled a suicide, there are questions as the facts obviously say otherwise.
Terrific setting, but I confess to a love of all things Raj. Scenes were beautifully described and I could almost feel the heat, see the dust and smell the place.
Great characters, well drawn. The killer might be a bit obvious, but the details weren't, and even the killer came to life for me. I cared about why he did it and wanted to understand him.
I know a few other weren't as impressed by this book as I was but I did love it. Will definitely read the rest of the series.
This was a SantaThing book, btw. Great choice for me!
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear is so much more than a mystery. It is Upstairs/Downstairs and Downton Abbey mixed with a bit of A Farewell to Arms. Grim and realistic and also life-affirming.
It’s the story of a costermonger’s daughter who is put into service and then caught devouring her employer’s library. It’s the story of the sea change brought about by the Great War, and Women’s Suffrage, when entrenched values, beliefs and assumptions were turned on their heads and examined and found wanting.
It’s also a fascinating mystery.
I'm intrigued by The Last Kashmiri Rose, as I'm also fascinated by the Raj era. Have you read Paul Scott's Raj Quartet? One of my favorites.
There is a white wisteria. Lovely. I do have mixed emotions about statuary though, thanks to Dr. Who. ;)
BTW, I just downloaded Maisie Dobbs onto my Nook--will get to it after a few more Wimseys. :)
"The question was meant to be rhetorical."
"Rhetoric? In a sewer?"
- Last Argument of Kings
Abercrombie can be so hilarious in the midst of writing truly wretched stuff, lol.
I love Joe Abercrombie's books, and the quote above is why! His blog is also excellent, well worth checking out if you like his brand of humour.
"Still alive!" and "You have to be realistic about these things" will echo in my memory forever thanks (or perhaps not) to Joe Abercrombie and his unforgettable character Logen Ninefingers.
This is the last book of his trilogy The First Law and continues on with excellent if dark and sometimes shocking writing. But even in the midst of the full horrors of war, his dark humor has me laughing out loud. That feels very real to me and reminds me of my own time in the military. It is very much the sort of humor men and women who deal with horrible things use to ease their own horror and pain.
Obviously not for everyone, but if you like gritty, uncompromising and entertaining, then this is your series.
I need to start reading him, I have The Blade Itself somewhere in my TBR pile... :)
"Violent death demanded Earl Grey." - Still Life
Really? I'd have thought Assam.
Still Life was interesting, and the characters delightfully drawn. However, I found the writing to be a bit of a mishmash. Too many changes of POV, sometimes confusing ones. I thought the premise a bit forced and was really really annoyed by the female Agent.
The town of Three Pines was terrific though, so I might have to revisit the series to see if it gets better. ( )
I'm currently reading Tongue of Serpents as a way to get ready for Crucible of Gold which was an ER win for me.
Also reading The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd which I am really enjoying. I love her writing, and the story ain't bad either!
I also, for the first time in years, actually hit the local Library yesterday. Since I mostly read ebooks, I haven't really had the desire or need to go. But I just learned I won yet another ER book, Sacrilege and wanted to read the first of that series at least, before I tackle it, so picked up Heresy which I'll start as soon as I get through these two.
... his Rooms offer an irresistible combination of drink, dancing, illicit gambling and sex. All the vices the victorian gentleman deplores so vehemently in public, and indulges in so greedily in private. - The Solitary House
The more things change, the more they stay the same....
The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd
London in 1850 was no place for the weak. Wretched, filthy, full to bursting with desperate people. The wealthy, of course, took advantage and had it all.
Charles Maddox, a disgraced police officer, is now struggling to make a living as a 'private detective' although he doesn't use the term. He still has his contacts on Bow Street which helps, as does the fact he was raised by his grandfather who was a famous 'Thief-taker' of Bow Street. Using his grandfather's methods he's found a case that takes him into the mire and mirk of rotting bodies buried in a horrid cemetery where the police have dug up rotting babies. Charles, whose own baby sister was stolen from his mother's arms, and has never gotten over it, sees his sister in those babies and needs to learn more.
Shortly after his visit to the cemetery he's contacted by a famous lawyer and hired for another case. Charles, desperate for money accepts the case despite the fact he has reservations due to the lawyer's reputation as a ruthless man. Thus, Charles is drawn deeper and deeper into trying to find out who is sending threatening notes to an extremely wealthy banker. When he does discover the man's identity, then things get worse. And grimmer and Charles, although he is warned off several times, has to find out the secrets the banker and the lawyer are trying desperately to keep.
Shepherd evokes a wretched and atmospheric London, one that totally suits the story. It is a bit of a pastiche with elements from Bleak House woven through the storyline. Her characters are beautifully drawn and the mystery is complex enough that if you do guess some of it, you need to, like Charles, discover all of it.
Highly recommended! I look forward to reading more from this author!
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
In my opinion, weakest of the Temeraire series, but then it is a transitional book.
Temeraire and Laurence are in disgrace due to having been charged and found guilty of being traitors. They’ve been sentenced to life and outcast to Australia. To have something to do, they set off across the continent to try to find a passage through the mountains, and also to look for smugglers.
A lot of time is spent traveling through wretched landscapes, but there is also some fascinating discussion between Temeraire and his fellow dragons as well as Laurence, so it wasn’t all bleak nothingness.
I trust the next book will be far better.
I so wanted to like these books, but found the first one so predictable that I couldn't muster enthusiasm for the rest...which bums me out, because it's such an awesome premise. Sigh.
Oh, that's a shame. I do love them. And Temeraire becomes awesome beginning with book 2. I agree, the first one wasn't too different, but once Temeraire grows up he gets a mind of his own and heaven help the rest of the world.
I've added The Solitary House to my own wish list. Thanks for posting your thoughts so quickly!
"Your Honour, I was once a priest - I can lie as well as any man."
Bruno Giordano in Heresy.
Irony abounds as Giordano Bruno, on the run from the Inquisition in his own Italy, arrives in Oxford in hopes of locating a rare book (that is outlawed by the churches both in Rome and in England). He is immediately drawn into a mystery involving the murder of a college don which is posed as similar to the death of a Christian martyr.
Suspicion and fear dominates everyone in England, and suspicion reigns particularly in regard to Oxford, as the country is in the throws of a religious war, with the state fearful of every Catholic and the possibility of a far worse death than hanging facing anyone, no matter how innocent they may be, if they are accused by anyone of being Catholic.
The mystery is complex enough to hold one's attention and the main character, although a bit dim at times, is engaging.
I personally would have liked more with regard to the science debate, but that’s just me (Bruno is a follower of Copernicus but has taken the conclusions even further than the astronomer has).
I look forward to book 2 of the series. Hoping for more of the science debate as apparently John Dee is in that one.
A tale of adventure in ancient Britain. A young centurion arrives in Roman Britain to take his first command at a small Roman fort in Britain. During an uprising he's badly injured. As he's trying to regain his health he hears rumors of a missing Roman Eagle. His father had led the missing legion whose Eagle it was. He determines to go off above Hadrian's wall and bring back the Eagle and hopefully clear his father's name. And, with luck, bring honor to the Ninth Legion once again.
A good adventure with very likeable characters. And a wolf!
Fairly slow start, as the circumstances are set up by the author, but once the quest is on, very exciting and enjoyable.
FWIW: I have no idea why this is tagged so often 'children' or 'young adult'. I nearly didn’t read it because of that. It is not a coming of age story and all the characters are adults.
This was an audio book.
The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn
A pleasant cozy mystery, set in the 1920s. Light hearted and fun read, but not one to stretch your gray matter. Likeable characters and pretty fair mystery. I laughed aloud several times. Cheeky Daisey...
I've enjoyed every Rosemary Sutcliff book I've read. I suppose it is the fact that they are often used in school?
I've tried to enjoy Carola Dunn's series, but as you point out, they aren't very substantive. I prefer the Dandy Gilver series of books that begins with After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson. The mysteries are a little more interesting and the voice of the sleuth sound more authentic -- although I admit I haven't read the later ones.
oh thanks for pointing that series out to me, Jill. I'll give it a try.
Prophecy by S. J. Parris
The second book of the Giordano Bruno series finds him in London in 1583, and still searching for the lost book of Hermes Trismegistus. He becomes friends with John Dee, the Queen’s Astrologer, from whom the book has been stolen. He’s also still working as a spy for Walsingham and living in the French Embassy.
When a young girl who was one of the Queen’s maids of honor is found murdered, with the astrological symbols of the Great Conjunction carved in her breast, Walsingham calls in Bruno.
Is this murder part of the ongoing Catholic plot to overthrow Elizabeth and place Mary on the Throne? Or is it something else entirely? Bruno is in a unique position to find out.
An exciting thriller which keeps you guessing up to the last, it portrays the city, the miseries of the times, and the air of fear and confusion of Elizabeth’s time. Highly recommended for those who love historical fiction.
I'm glad to see that you liked the Giordano Bruno books - I've been thinking of getting them for my mum who enjoys historical mysteries.
I got Sacrilege, the latest one, as an ER book, so figured I'd try the first two before tackling it. Very glad I did.
They're pretty heavy on the history of Elizabeth's reign so if your mom likes that, I'd think she'd enjoy these very much.
Beautiful photos! It's lovely to see so much colour on what is a very dreary day here in London.
Re: the Giordano Bruno books - my mum loves the Shardlake series of mysteries, so I think I'll go ahead and see how she likes these. They sound right up her alley.
Sacrilege by S. J. Parris
Giordano Bruno: Heretic. On the run from the Inquisition. Italian and thusly doubly suspicious in defensive and conspiracy ridden England in the age of Elizabeth. After all, he must be a papist, despite his excommunication. And, well, he agrees with that Pole Copernicus and consorts with the likes of John Dee, so he’s a magician too. Oh, and he’s in search of the mysterious lost book of Hermes Trismegistus.
What the majority of people don’t know, is Bruno is also an agent for Sir Francis Walsingham, Principal Secretary to Elizabeth 1. And the go to guy when someone is found murdered. He’s also Walsingham’s spy inside the French Embassy, since he’s staying there because his patron, King Henri of France has given him asylum from Rome.
At the moment though, Bruno wants to go travel to Canterbury. He’s been asked by a young woman he knows for help. Her husband has been murdered, and she had met Bruno in Oxford, so she begs him to clear her name and find the real killer.
What Bruno doesn’t know yet, is that this seemingly simple murder investigation will lead to yet more Catholic conspiracies to oust Elizabeth and place Mary on the throne, bringing England back into the Catholic fold.
Wonderful characterizations, complex and realistically drawn settings, bring the world of the 1580s to life. The mystery itself is intriguing and multilayered. Several times I thought for sure I’d figured it out. I was wrong!
If you love historical fiction that can seem to put you there, you’ll love the Giordano Bruno series. And the series only gets better.
Faceless Killers - by Henning Mankell
Modern Scandia murder mystery, set in wintry Sweden. Refreshing in that the police are prone to make mistakes, and the murderers aren’t found in short order. In fact, Kurt Wallander goes down many unproductive paths, and only solves the mystery through sheer persistence and a lot of luck.
I’ll definitely read more of these. Have book two on hold at the library, but I’m second on the waiting list.
A Clubbable Woman - Reginald Hill This was an audio book. The first of the Dalziel and Pascoe series. Okay, nothing particularly special. Dalziel is, as ever, annoying...
Stardust - Neil Gaiman Fairy tale that is cute and engaging. Differed from the movie significantly - and I confess I thought the movie better!
Finally someone who agree! I too thought the "Stardust" movie was better than the book (I actually gave the book 2 stars (didn't like it at all)), but I find the movie greatly entertaining. Some of the changes done in the movie worked a lot better than what was in the book. (No gruesome unicorn beheading).
I'm in the movie-version-is-better camp as well. Besides the unicorn issue, there's no topping Robert De Niro's performance! :)
I thought the movie was fun, but I prefer Stardust the book. But I have the illustrated version which I think is much better than the plain paperback.
Wow. Talk about a wild ride and a book you can’t put down.
Miriam can see the future. She touches someone and knows how they die. She’s tried desperately to change a few of those futures and has always failed. Now someone she might love is at risk. Can she finally affect the future, and challenge fate and remake the world?
Violent, so not for everyone. But if you love a thriller, and a mystery, give it a try. Oh, and the cover is magnificent and fits the book totally.
April wrap-up and review:
I burned through the S. J. Parris historical murder mysteries, as I’d gotten the third one for free from Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program:
I really enjoyed them. They feature Giordano Bruno, a fomer monk on the run from the Inquisition.
4. Eagle of the Ninth – Rosemary Sutcliff
5. The Winter Garden Mystery – Carola Dunn
6. Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell (first of the Kurt Wallander Scandi murder mystery series)
7. A Clubbable Woman – Reginald Hill (first of the Dalziel and Pascoe murder mystery series)
8. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
9. Blackbirds – Chuck Wendig (this is a fabulous, if violent, thriller)
93: That cover caught my attention. Very interesting. Added to the wishlist.
Happy May Day everyone!
My planned (hah!) reads for the month:
1. I’ve already begun Dissolution by C.J. Sansom (a murder mystery with the detective a hunchback lawyer back in Tudor England)
2. and the fifth book of the Malazan series Midnight Tides by Steven Erickson.
Both fit TIOLIs for the month and both fit my 12in12 categories
Tea with the Black Dragon – R.A. MacAvoy for the Green Dragon readalong, TIOLI and 12in12
Raven Black – (book one of a series) – Ann Cleeves - TIOLI and 12in12
The Sword-Edged Blonde – (first of a series) – Alex Bledsoe 12in12
After the Armistice Ball – (another first of a series, sigh) – Catriona McPherson - TIOLI and 12in12
New Amsterdam – Elizabeth Bear - TIOLI and 12in12
The Technologists – Matthew Pearl - TIOLI and 12in12
I loved Dissolution and the books that follow. They are a good picture of Tudor England as well as excellent mysteries.
Dissolution by C. J. Sansom
A hunchback lawyer is sent to a small monastery in rural England at the behest of the infamous Thomas Cromwell. A man sent earlier to try to get the monastery to agree to disband has been murdered. Shardlake is sent to find the murderer and find a way to force the dissolution of the monastery, as part of the ‘reforms’ during Henry VIII’s reign.
Shardlake arrives as a believing reformer, never questioning the methods or people Cromwell has doing his bidding. By the time he leaves, his eyes have been opened, the mystery has been solved and Shardlake is unsure of his future, as well of that of England.
Sansom paints the world of Tudor England with a winter colored brush. The misery is apparent as is the fear and confusion amongst the people of the time.
Highly recommended. First of a series.
Dissolution does sound quite interesting! Good review for stimulating our "oh, I want to read that"... BB hit!
>101 Oooooooh! jealous! That looks gorgeous - Scotland has decided to go back into winter today - it's so cold and grey!
See my LJ blog for comments regarding our travels. Lots of pictures. Current trip is up into the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia.
What with having a friend over from the Netherlands for a week, and now off on vacation, my reading time has been limited. Still, I managed to finally finish Midnight Tides which lives up totally to the previous Malazan books. Such an amazing series!
Here is where I was happily reading it, at the current RV resort we are parked in:
I'm still RVing it so my reading has slowed down. But I did finally finish this:
Political intrigue Shakespearean style.
What’s a boy to do if his father is the poet Dante? Pietro wanted only to be a scholar, but instead, due to his elder brother’s death, finds himself drawn out of school to attend his father in his exile from Florence. He arrives in Verona and finds himself immediately drawn into the intrigue as he falls under the influence of the Greyhound, the Master of Verona, and the Greyhound’s sister, who not only captures Pietro’s loyalty but his heart, even if she is far older than he and married.
Pietro finds himself drawn into wars, and intrigue involving warring factions not only within Verona but in other major city-states of Italy.
All the while, Pietro remains in awe of his patron, until, well, I’ll let you find out what’s going on.
If you love complex, intelligent characters, well-drawn and intricate plots, battles and prophecies, I think you’ll love this book.
I abandoned Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Not entirely certain why. I was just not drawn in and found I was avoiding it. Too many books I am eager to read to keep on with one I'm not enjoying.
Just started The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths. Hope I enjoy this one much better. This is an ebook edition.
Also started Scourge of the Betrayer in dead tree edition.
Well, The Master of Verona sounds decidedly offbeat and enjoyable. Would you characterize it as a historical novel or is it more of a well-researched political thriller?
Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc) by Jeff Salyards
What the heck is the Veil, why did the gods leave, what the devil is Braylar up to?
A scribe is hired by a group of infamous men led by a 'Black Noose' to record their actions as directed by their King. LIttle did the scribe know what he was getting into. And what few answers he might actually be given.
I enjoyed the characterizations, and the dialog, and the action. I was disappointed that the book itself offered no real resolution. I'll have to read the follow on in hopes of that. Still, a good read that left me wanting more.
The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths
Atmospheric and intelligent, The Crossing Places is about character and setting, The mystery is tied up with the setting deftly and altho I figured out most of the mystery fairly early on, I was unsure about much of it, enough to want to hurry through the book to find out how it all fit together.
Will definitely continue the series!
#98, #99, #100 - I know I am late to the party, but I read that last year (?) based on readafew's recommendation and really enjoyed it. I will get to the rest of the series eventually.
That entire series by Sansom is excellent. My husband and I have (between the two of us) read just about all of them.
Clam and JIll: when we get home (should be Friday) I plan to get the second book at the library as soon as it's available.
Oh! That first one makes me want to yell "Get off the road!" (with a hobbity accent.)
The second one is just lovely.
116 - I had that EXACT same reaction! For two very different people, we sure do think along the same lines often. :)
Lovely butterflies, what kind are they? And I want to follow that road to see where it goes!
the butterflies are black swallowtails, females apparently. Males have yellow where she has blue and white.
I do love how that shot of the road came out and yeah, it does seem a bit as if something otherworldly might appear at any moment!
This is the third of the Daisy Dalrymple series set in the flapper era in London. Nicely written fluff mystery, with good period details and interesting characters. Pretty good mystery too!
Certainly not difficult to read but good fun nonetheless.
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe:
An amusing tale of a sword-jockey, a sort of private detective. He’s drug back, against his better judgment and wishes, to help his childhood friend (who happens to be a king) find out why the Queen murdered her son. Action packed adventure ensues, with lots of flashbacks to Eddie’s past which he’s been trying to avoid for years.
The Dante Club – Matthew Pearl
In the last year following the Civil War, Longfellow and his fellow poets and friends, set about translating the Commedia by Dante into English in order to introduce it widely to America. Harvard’s powers that be are NOT happy about this and are trying to do everything they can to block him. Might this include murder? The Dante Club, as they call themselves, begin to wonder, as two murders take place in Boston that enact two of the punishments Dante details in the Devine Comedy. Can they solve the murders, and catch the murderer and keep the police in the dark about the connection to Dante?
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance - Lois McMaster Bujold
A terrific romp through the Vorkosiverse with Ivan at his best. I generally want to kick Miles when the story’s about him, but I almost always want to hug Ivan. The poor guy has spent his entire life trying to hide in the shadows and keep his abilities hidden under the nearest bucket. But he’s forced to step up his game when his ‘friend’ Byerly asks him to help out a damsel in distress. What’s Ivan to do (other than fall in love with her)? And when he finds out who she is, and just why assassins are on her doorstep, well, he takes drastic action.
A delightful book that had me quite often laughing out loud!
My July Reading Plan (at the moment)
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel - Library book (TIOLI #7, 12in12 WhoDat? )
The Winter King - Bernard Cornwell - ebook (quarterly read - Arthurian, TIOLI #8, 12in12 Ancient Rites)
Crucible of Gold - Naomi Novik - (Early Review book, 12in12 What If?, TIOLI #15)
Agent of Change - Sharon Lee - ebook (12in12 Beyond a Sea of Stars, TIOLI #7)
New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear - ebook (12in12 Clankers, TIOLI #18
Hope I get to them all!
Just a note regarding the first half of the year.
I've read 40 books. Eeek! In January, I HOPED to read 50 for the year.
In 2009 I read 24.
In 2010 I read 32.
In 2011 I read 41.
So 50 for the year seemed a reasonable figure. Now I've officially upped it to 75 for the year. Not sure I'll make it but I'm on track right?
I'm thinking the main reason for the change is that I've added mysteries to my reading. Over the previous years I was reading almost all fantasy and a bit of sci fi, mostly tomes. I tend to get caught up in them and daydream about them and have to stop reading a lot to think about fantasy and sci fi. Mysteries, not so much.
Looking at my list, the ones that have stuck with me most (for various reasons) in the order I read them rather than any order of precedence:
1. Oryx and Crake - way too close to reality not to think about.
2. The Alienist - just plain fascinating look at the beginnings of deductive detecting.
3. Heresy Prophecy and Sacrilege. Just a well-written, well-conceived series of historical mysteries
4. Blackbirds - Great book. Interesting premise, interesting characters. Bloody though.
5. The Crossing Places - mainly because it so well used the setting of the book as a character.
And, I am out of control on buying books. In my defense, the were almost all on sale when I bought them but still! I need to avoid the shiny new (to me) and read what I have! Argh!
I’ve decided not to write an actual review. A zillion have already been done. Instead a few comments regarding the book.
Firstly, it was certainly a different take on things, to look at Henry VIII from, of all people’s viewpoints, Thomas Cromwell’s. I knew little about him as an individual before I began the book, so not sure how close to what we really know Mantel stayed. But the character she created was certainly interesting, with depth and intelligence. He certainly changed throughout the book, growing to fit his increasing stature and importance.
Second, why the heck did she call it ‘Wolf Hall’? Yeah, I get that the Howards etc were really important, but still…
Thirdly, I found the writing style very off-putting at first. I had lots of trouble with dangling ‘he’s and was confused a lot as to who was speaking, who was acting. I had to go back and re-read to figure it out. I also didn’t much care for use of present tense. I dislike it in most books, but combined with the ‘he’ problem, it made reading the book more difficult and pulled me out of the atmosphere all too much.
I expect I’ll read the follow on ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ at some point or other. Because the story is interesting from this different viewpoint.
Your comments are some comfort to me as I had similar problems and could not muster the patience nor the commitment to overcome those. I just quit the book and said, "it was too dense for me".
I did The Dante Club (#123) with one book group and they found the actual murders to be so grim and grotesque that they barely got through it. On the other hand, as an introduction to the Fireside Poets, it's great. I admit I haven't read any of his other titles.
I really enjoyed Wolf Hall, but agree that the writing style was a problem. It's as though Mantel was trying to make it clear that this is a Literary Novel and not genre fiction. *sigh* Books written in the present tense are one of my pet hates, and unfortunately it seems to be the "in" style of writing at the moment.
The Dogs of Riga - Henning Mankell
When a raft holding two dead well-dressed men washes ashore in Skane, Kurt Wallander finds himself in the midst of an international mystery. Latvia? He knows nothing of Latvia, yet first finds himself partnered with a Latvian police major, and then has to travel to Riga to find the beginnings of the mystery.
I love these mysteries. Wallander is no hero, he’s not psychic, he’s not gorgeous, he’s not sure of himself. He’s just a guy doing the best he can dealing with a changing world he hardly understands.
Good to hear. I'll let my husband know as he's a big fan of Novik's stuff.
But... but... but... it WAS the present for Cromwell when he lived. For me that just makes the book so much more immediate. Again, I have to add that I listened to this and it really changes one's perspective, I think.
Crucible of Gold is the seventh in the Temeraire series - Napoleonic Wars with dragons.
The tale finds Laurence and Temeraire, who had been drummed out of the military because of rank insubordination (mostly on Temeraire’s part), still stuck in Purgatory (in this case Australia), and doing what they could to make the most of it. Laurence was mostly just glad neither of them had gotten shot as traitors.
Suddenly the British ambassador to the Chinese crown turns up with papers saying Laurence is reinstated (grudgingly) into the Aviator Corps. He also brings orders for Laurence and Temeraire to board the dragon ship still docked in Sydney and head to Brazil where Napoleon is attempting to destroy Rio.
Glad to be back in harness, glad to be doing something useful, both are eager to find themselves back in the war.
Naturally things go very very wrong.
I found Crucible of Gold to be as enjoyable as the first of the series, His Majesty’s Dragon, was. I did find Tongues of Serpents, book six, to be a bit of a slog, but this one is right back up there, with Temeraire being his usual mouthy and opinionated self, Iskierka driving him nuts, and the dragons’ captains doing whatever it takes to keep their dragons focused on the big picture: Napoleon.
(I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program)
Full Dark House - Christopher Fowler
What a terrifically fun book. It’s 1940, London. The Blitz is on. One morning, making his way past the destruction from the bombers the night before, a young man makes his way to his new job at the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
Thus begins the joint detective work of May and Bryant. May, a few years younger, logical, practical, feet firmly planted on the ground, and Bryant, the dreamer, the thinker, the guy who calls in mediums and witches for consultant work.
The dialog is sparking with wit, lots of dry humor and lots of atmosphere, not only with regard to the Blitz but also the theatre.
Highly recommended. I'm definitely continuing on with this series.
139 - I have four of the books by Christopher Fowler, I enjoyed two of them very much, have yet to read the others. Your comments are wonderful, I wish I could define so clearly why I like/dislike what I've read. :)
Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller is a great fun romp through the universe. Light, fast read, but well worth it. I'll definitely read more of Liaden.
The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
The power vacuum left when the Romans retreat from Britain, had been filled by kings and warlords who not only fight amongst themselves but also fight off invading Saxons and Irish warbands. One king, Uther, manages to cobble together a group of kingdoms. But he's dying, and leaves behind him only one legitimate son, Mordredd, born with a club foot. He gets a promise from one of his allies, that he will marry Mordredd's mother, Uther's queen, and act as regent until Mordredd, then only a baby, comes of age.
When Uther dies, the king betrays his promise and attacks, killing Uther's widow and attempting to kill Mordredd. But Merlin's band of Druids and outcasts manages to save and hide the future king.
Into that tableau comes Uther's bastard son Arthur, who had been banished to Amorica and who is now a warlord of great renown. Arthur promises to protect Mordredd and hold the kingdom for his half-brother.
Following the actual historical record (what there is of it), the tale is unlike all the other Arthurian books I've read. There's little brightness in the world of the Dark Ages. It is full of betrayals and endless wars and there are few men of honor to be found. Even Arthur is flawed and despite his desire to war for peace, he's foiled at almost every turn if not by his own flaws, then by betrayals and impossible odds.
An amazing book. ( )
My husband is reading The Master of Verona on the basis of my sharing your recommendation with him (see #107 above). He's enjoying it because it ties in so cleverly with the Shakespeare he and I were reading and watching earlier in the year. I just wanted to pass along his thanks to you for alerting us to such a substantive read!
It's been awhile since I read The Winter King, but I liked it a lot also. I still haven't read the stories after it, but I buy Bernard Cornwell books anytime I see them in a book sale because of that read.
New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear
The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton
The Killing Moon - NK Jemisin an ER book -TIOLI #4
Mission to Paris - Alan Furst an ER book - TIOLI 17
The Iron Wyrm Affair - Lilith Saintcrow an ER book - TIOLI 3
The Map of Time - Felix Palma - on my Nook - TIOLI 3
The Eight - Katharine Neville one I've had for ages, TIOLI 13
Medicus - Ruth Downie on my Nook -TIOLI 16 and for Reading Thru Time : Ancient Rome
I'm probably being over-ambitious as we start Early Voting on the 4th, and have regular voting on the 14th. If things are slow I can do some reading there. If not, not.
The Eight by Katherine Neville
The Game. Played by kings and generals and grand masters. The game of strategy taking intellect and concentration and dedication to truly understand it.
Catherine hasn’t ever paid much attention to chess, although she knows several competitive players, mainly a young woman she finds annoying. So when Lily invites her to go to the latest chess match Cat is less than interested. But then she keeps seeing this man in a white hoodie riding a bicycle, and its disturbing, since she’s been painting the guy for weeks. She finally follows him. And thus, she enters the Game.
Who are the players? Who’s white, who’s black? What are they after? What’s the endgame they’re playing for? And why, suddenly, is Cat finding dead bodies strewn around New York?
The Game takes Catherine from New York to Algiers, following in the footsteps of a French Nun from 1792 as she searches for the pieces of a very special chess set, to find and protect a secret that’s threatened the world since Charlemagne.
Not just an exciting thriller, but with great characters beautifully drawn, exotic locales that spring to life, and puzzles galore.
I loved The Eight. A friend put me on to it back in the '80's and I galloped through it!
Adding The Winter King to my wishlist. (Which is really my 'look for at book sales' list these days.)
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin creates a world dark, complex and intricate. The magic is based on dreams and is different enough to make a reader pause and have to consider it deeply. The characters are written with depth and compassion, and are fully realized. They're put in a world we don't understand, and one they, also, don't fully grasp.
If you like your fantasy dark and deep, characters you can nearly see standing before you, and a plot that confounds, but delivers in the end, then The Killing Moon is for you.
I wouldn't call it creepy dark. Just complex and 'realistic' in the sense that even good people can't overcome all obstacles.
Is it a standalone, or does it leave a lot of loose ends for a sequel?
it is the first of a trilogy but wraps the story up well at the end. So if you didn't want to continue it would be fine.
Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and it is part of an on-going series, but didn’t suffer from that at all.
Very good spy mystery with great atmosphere and intriguing twists and turns. Very likeable characters as well.
Set in Paris just before WWII when the Nazis were busy attempting psychological warfare on France. An Austrian émigré to the US, goes to Paris to film a movie and finds himself being forced into a position to seem to be backing the Nazis.
I enjoy Furst's books a good deal and recommend your continuing to read his stuff. I've taken a break after a few because it is hard to "live" in pre-Nazi Europe but I am sure I'll pick up another one soon.
ETA: it is hard to live in Nazi occupied Europe, too.
Karen, agreed about the difficulty of living in those days. It must have been horrible to have that menace hanging over your head.
And yeah, I'm sure I'll read more. Being OCD about series, I've already got Night Soldiers which appears to be the first one, in my wishlist.
The Iron Wyrm Affair is a terrifically mad romp through Londinium, a place riven with magic, the force of which renews itself with the tide of Londinium’s great river Themis. The young Queen Victrix, inhabited by Britannia’s living spirit, requests one of her Primes, particularly potent sorcerers, to investigate the sudden murders and attendant disappearances of her mentaths, who are brilliant thinkers.
The Prima, in this case a female, sets off with her Shield, the mysterious and oh so sexy Mykal, to ensure one mentath’s safely, arriving only moments before he too would have been killed. The three of them set out to discover who is killing the mentaths and just what he and his cronies are up to.
Terrific world-building, innovative and complex characters, and an intriguing plot. Highly recommended.
I can’t wait for book two.
The Eight - Katherine Neville
The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton
The Killing Moon - N.K. Jemisin (an ER read)
Mission to Paris - Alan Furst (an ER read)
Medicus - Ruth Downie
The Iron Wyrm Affair - Lilith Saintcrow (an ER read)
I had a great August reading experience. I enjoyed everything, but particularly The Eight and The Iron Wrym Affair
My planned reading for September:
A Shadow of Summer - Daniel Abraham (TIOLI 17, and Reading thru Time Seasons
Box Nine - Jack O'Connell - (TIOLI 8, and 12 in 12 monthly challenge)
The Last Kingdom - Bernard Cornwell (TIOLI 6 and Quarterly Challenge Medieval Times}
The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R King (TIOLI 4)
Tooth and Claw - Jo Walton (TIOLI 14)
Each also works for September Series and Sequels.
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Enjoyable pastiche wherein a retired Sherlock Holmes meets up with a precious teen, who then becomes his apprentice. Russell and Holmes strike up a surprising relationship which grows over time.
The characters are well done, the world certainly believable. I found the mysteries a bit light and easily seen through, but everyone tells me the series gets better so I shall plod onwards and read more Russell and Holmes adventures.
I do like Russell and I do like Holmes, but found the book a bit plodding at times. Hoping for better soon.
A Shadow of Summer - Daniel Abraham
Set in a vaguely Eastern sort of world, where thoughts can be made flesh by ‘poets’ who then enslave the resultant creature. The creature, an andat, is then held captive and forced to act in ways to increase the power of the city-state the poet serves.
One young man in training to be a poet, leaves the school because he finds the brutality of the training unacceptable. He eventually meets up with a young man he’d himself trained and who is now a poet, and finds himself drawn into a mystery involving murder and disappearances and treachery. And even discovers the andat is somehow involved.
Complex plotting, very well drawn characters, and an intriguingly different world. I enjoyed this greatly and plan to continue the trilogy.
I have the first two stories in the Daniel Abraham series in an omnibus edition. Glad to see you enjoyed the first.
Box Nine by Jack O'Connell
A very noir mystery, with scifi aspects. A new designer drug is on the streets which is set to create havoc. The narcotics squad hopes to find the distributors and cut off the supply before too much damage is done.
The tale is told mostly in stream-of-consciousness through the eyes of several of the cops and several civilians involved. Most fail to appreciate the horrors of this drug, as all are jaded and focused on their own problems and issues and believe they’ve seen it all.
Gritty, all too realistic in nature
The second of the Cotton Malone series, The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry is a thriller with twists and turns. Cotton’s bookshop is attacked with rockets just before he learns his son has been kidnapped. He’s maneuvered into a race to find the hidden scrolls and papyrii saved from the Alexandria Library.
Fast paced and entertaining.
The first book of the Old Man’s War series, John Scalzi posits the idea of a world where 75 year olds enlist and fight the wars of humanity. Humans are colonizing the galaxy but there are other races doing it too. So, when humans on Earth become old they are offered the opportunity to join the Colonial Defence Forces and fight to protect the colonies. That must mean that the CDF has to rejuvenate them somehow right? So off they go to war.
A romp across the galaxy with lots of shoot ‘em up action and some interesting forays into alien thinking, and a re-evaluation of just what it means to be human.
For September I've read:
54. A Shadow of Summer Daniel Abraham
55. The Beekeeper's Apprentice Laurie R. King
56. Tooth and Claw Jo Walton
57. Box Nine Jack O'Connell
58. The Alexandria Link Steve Berry
59. Old Man's War John Scalzi
I've read 59 books so far this year, far more than I expected to.
Planned reading for October:
The Bonehunters - Steven Erikson I'm halfway through this one.
Curse of the Mistwraith (Green Dragon Group read)
The Skystone Jack Whyte
Warchild - Karen Lowachee
The Rule of Four - Ian Caldwell
Newton's Wake Ken MacLeod
Congrats on your reading 59 books this year so far! You're on pace to complete the 75 book challenge!!! Plus, reading more than expected could never be a bad thing.
The Bonehunters - Steven Erikson
The sixth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
Epic, complex, heartbreaking. War rages not merely among the living, but now the gods are at war. Choose a side. Or can you even tell what side you’ve chosen?
Amazing how seemingly disparate storylines fold together at the end, setting up the next book in the series.
Curse of the Mistwraith
Repeatedly the Rauven mages had stressed that assumptions were the weakness of the learned. With a vengeance.
Two half-brothers at war. Thus begins a tale that travels from one world through a portal to another world where mages hope the brothers working together can heal the plague of the mistwraith.
Misunderstandings, assumptions, wrong choices, overlooked opportunities, prophesies and hatreds abound. Sorcerers, it seems, are just as prone to error as everybody else.
The characters are well drawn and perverse and with minds of their own. The world is complex and the magic strange and confusing. The plot, though it seems fairly simple, confounds with consequences that aren't foreseen and complicate matters horribly.
I'll definitely be continuing with this series.
Sadly, I've abandoned Beguilement the Sharing Knife Vol 1. Perhaps it is because it is an audiobook and the narrator has the main female being a whiny weak sounding female that is driving me mad, or maybe she never does grow a backbone, but whatever the reason, I have far better books to read or listen to.
And I'm a Lois Bujold fan too, so surprised.
I finished Newton's Wake which was okay. It had a few good concepts in it, but I found the plot a bit all over the place.
The Ships of Merior Janny Wurts
The second book in the Wars of Light and Shadow. The curse continues and drives Lysaer to found armies to hunt down his cursed half-brother. Arithon, understanding what has happened to both of them, opts to evade and avoid. But events continue to make that difficult. Interference from any number of others complicates and wrecks even the best laid plans.
Complex world-building, intriguing characters, and a plot with twists and turns aplenty made me unwilling to put this down. Highly recommended.
Fabulous book I couldn't put down. And Janny is one of the few authors who makes me use a dictionary!
Lucky you - you've got several more books to enjoy (and none of them any less good) before you reach the tapping the fingers stage waiting for Janny to finish the next one. Only two left to write in the series I believe.
oh go ahead, make me miserable :).
but of course, I'll press on regardless!
I imagine Janny would be delighted to hear your complaints about having to use a dictionary! What fun!
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
What a fun quick read. I couldn't put it down, I though the main character so cool. Very spare writing, in that no extra words are added, yet there is enough description and color to let you picture the action. And speaking of action, lots of it!
The next volume Warhost of Vastmark is actually intended to be the second 'half' of Ships of Merior - it was published under one spine in the US hardbound, but split in all of the other editions because the publisher was concerned the spine would break.
So the 'real' finish of this installment is actually in Warhost. For the rest of the series: I do not do cliffhangers, EVER - there is a solid pause point and resolution with each volume - and a very firm resolution at the finish of each arc - so waits should not be too awfully painful.
I am diligently writing the next to last volume now - with only one to go after that to finish this series out.
The NICE thing about reading through a series before it is done - your choice counts in that it helps to bring the next work into production. Consider it your 'vote' toward what kinds of books will be available to other readers in the future.
Majkia> I absolutely loved The Thief. Eugenides is my favorite character of all time. There are three more books in the series (all just as good, which I find so rare in a series).
I believe a fifth book is in the works.
I love Eugenides also. You just knew he had a reason for being in that prison cell. :)
#66 A Beautiful Blue Death - Charles Finch
– Period mystery with some great descriptions of Victorian London. Atmosphere is terrific, the amateur detective is interesting, and the mystery itself is complex enough to keep you wondering. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this book.
#67 Terovolas – Edward M. Erdelac
– This was a free book I got through LibraryThing.com ‘s Early Reviewer Program. Have you ever wondered what happened to Van Helsing after Transylvania? He went to Texas, got mixed up with a mysterious woman on a train, some wacky Norse cowboys, a couple of Red Indians, a drunken trapper, and oh, yeah, werewolves….
#68 Death Warmed Over – Kevin J. Anderson
– Another Early Reviewer win. - Finally, a Zombie I can relate to. This one is a private eye who got wacked and came back. Well, it seems a lot of folks are coming back. As Zombies, ghosts, vamps, and a few other species. Ever since the “Big Uneasy’ when the necronomicon got exposed to moonlight, a virgin’s blood, all while there was a special arrangement of the planets. New Orleans will never be the same….
#69 Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
- What happens when a 12 year old chooses ‘criminal mastermind’ as his career field? Well, he was following in Daddy’s footsteps. But then Daddy never attempted to kidnap a Leprechaun and start a race war. Atemis is a hoot. And the fairy was not amused.
#70 - A Test of Wills - Charles Todd
Ian Rutledge survived WWI with body intact, but his mind is very nearly broken to pieces, His lover left him because she was afraid of him, he has a voice in his head, and he's tempted to self destruction, In an attempt to piece his life back together again, he returns to his job at Scotland Yard, He doubts himself, is fragile and vulnerable, but needs to see he can again have a productive life,
The case is complex, with lots of possible suspects, but the main one is a hero of the war, winner of the Victoria Cross, and there's pressure from London and even the King to find anyone else guilty of the crime,
Rutledge, knowing his life never mind his job is on the line, tries desperately to reconnect with his instincts and identify the killer,
Great atmosphere and descriptions. Rutledge is likeable and sympathetic, and the mystery is awash with possible motives and perps. I'll definitely be continuing on with this series.
Once I understood that Ian Rutledge is a more realistically portrayed version of Peter Wimsey (albeit without the title), I really began appreciating that series.
#71. Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot: Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country - Wrede/Stevemer
This is one of the books that was on my wishlist the longest, since long before I joined LT.
What a great fun read! An epistolary novel that works terrifically. The world is alternate universe where magic is common, but not ubiquitous.
It is 1817 and one young lady is off to London to do the season. The other stays at home, and their correspondence begins. The one in London meets the odious Marquis, the one in the country learns of a magical plot connected with the Marquis, and both young women are drawn into retrieving the magical chocolate plot as well as trying to figure out just who is the bad magician and what is he/she up to.
Lots of wry comments regarding the mores of the era, Austen-esque
I agree. It's a great deal of fun! A colleague of mine who teaches children's and YA lit turned me on to the series. There are two more titles, you know!
yes! And I definitely plan to read the others.
This is one of those books I'm bewildered by. No idea why this is classified as YA or children's litarature. The vocabulary is adult, as are most of the commentary on manners.
I love this book too, though the sequels don't quite live up to its delightfulness. There's also another book with some of the same characters but geared more toward MG readers, by Caroline Stevermer alone, called Magic Below Stairs.
I suppose it gets shoehorned into YA based on the main characters' ages and the coming-of-age type plot, but it can certainly be enjoyed by any age. If you contrast it with, say, Georgette Heyer, it does read younger.
#72. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell
A college student, whose father was an obsessed researcher, meets a would-be disciple of his father’s. Their frendship grows and both young men are drawn into the same obsession, trying to figure out an ancient book written in code.
This book reminded me a lot of A.S. Byatt’s Possession. The same sense of nearly mad obsession, the same sense of needing to solve the puzzles and devote all of one’s time and energies to the mystery.
I personally loved it, but can see why others might not. I’m all for puzzles, bibliomysteries and obsessions!
#73 for the year: Silent in the Sanctuary - Deanna Raybourn
Despite coming perilously close to being too romancy for me, I do enjoy the characters. Lady Julia is in Italy, recovering from the previous book’s events. One of her brother marries without daddy’s approval so daddy angrily calls them all home for Christmas. They obey and bring along Alessandro, their Italian friend, who is sweet on Lady Julia although she is busy denying it.
When they arrive, guess who is there as another house guest. Of course, the mysterious and sexy private inquiry agent, Brisbane. Julia and he heat the house up and hunt a murderer, a ghost and a thief, not to mention paying a visit to the gypsies.
The best part of these books for me, is the mad March family, who are all delightfully ‘odd’.
#74 Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
What a surprise. Quite different in the way of cozy wealthy women detectives. Phryne is sassy, savvy and modern. She has few illusions about the world or about herself. She leaves England headed to Australia to find out if a woman is being poisoned by her husband (at the behest of the woman's parents). She arrives and immediately becomes embroiled in the search for a killer abortionist and the King of Snow.
Interesting look at the times, and colorful Melbourne. Will definitely continue the series.
The ones I've read in this series are lightweight but remarkably fast-paced. Phryne Fisher is a bit of a superwoman at times, but she tends to hold one's interest.
The Queen of Attolia - Megan Whalen Turner
Oh my! Even better than the first of this series, The Thief.
Eugenides is captured again, this time by the Queen of Attolia. When he’s returned (after nearly being hung and tortured and well, spoilers) to his Queen Eddis, Eddis declares war on Attolia.
Eugenides, meanwhile is badly broken, in spirit, mind and body. He’s afraid, feels worthless, and is more a danger to himself than to anyone else, although Queen Attolia isn’t convinced, and continues to fear him dreadfully.
As part of her plan to defeat Eddis, she allies with the Mede kingdom outsiders, who want to not only invade Eddis, but control Attolia by marrying the queen and then defeating Sunnis as well.
What a terrific book. It’s hard to talk about it without a ton of spoilers, but this series is such a terrific read! The writing is first-rate, the action constant and exciting, the characterizations are deep and believable, and the plot twists, wow!
Also, I’ve met my 75 book challenge for the year! Wow! Last year, my previous high, was 43. I never expected to read 75 books in one year, and was merely hoping to make 50. But I’ll take it!
So glad you enjoyed The Queen of Attolia. This is my absolute favorite series. Gen has to be the most interesting character I've ever read about. The plots are so intricate, I find I have to re-read passages to get up to speed. There are currently two more titles in the series with a fifth (and possibly a sixth) on the way. Can't wait.
Congratulations on making 75! And I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but I haven't read that series yet, and it's a glaring omission on my part that I think needs remedying.
Congratulations on hitting your goal. I know that feels very satisfactory!
All in all this seems to have been a good uear for reading, for you :)
Congratulations on achieving your goal! Having followed your thread this past year, it seems clear that you have made good choices for your reading. I've certainly found your recommendations to be reliable.
76. The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller
I liked the magical system a lot for this book, but I really dislike books that end in cliffhangers and this one is the worst of that variety.
I found the first half slow going, but by the middle it started to pick up and I enjoyed it a lot more. Well, except for the lack of an ending.
Weather magic is the focus as is a magical 'Wall' which keeps the world of Lur separate from whatever is on the other side of the wall.
That is a sweet graphic! I love it. I hope the same is true in your home, and all the best for happening in 2013!
77. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
So hard to say much about this as everything is a spoiler. So suffice to say the series has become one of my favorite ever. Gen is such a terrifically complex and surprising character. His schemes and plans are always so complex that although you know he's up to something, it's never quite clear just what until the whole thing falls into place.
This book shows him through the eyes of a guard who, the poor thing, has no clue who or what Gen is, but has to find a way to deal with him. At first hating him, as do most of his fellows, and then coming eventually to a fierce loyalty even he can't explain.
On to the last current book Conspiracy of Kings.
78. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
With Attolia and Eddis having gotten rid of the Medes by any means necessary, now comes Sounis and a new king who needs to figure out a way of getting them to leave his country alone. Gen, of course, is in the thick of things.
Sadly, the last of the series, currently. I'm going to miss every one of these characters.
79. Warhost of Vastmark by Janny Wurts
Odd I've read this and the Attolian books back to back because Arithon reminds me so much of Gen the Queen's Thief. Both are all about complex and secretive plots they are slow to share with anyone.
I'm greatly enjoying this series, although it can get to be a tough read as war is waged across varying landscapes and little is hidden of the horrors of such warfare.
The Curse continues as brother is pitted against brother, the one gathering huge armies to track down and kill his half-brother, as the other jinks and dodges and tries to avoid as long as possible confrontation.
Complex characterization, detailed world-building, and twisty plots abound.
I do have to say I'd like to take the sorcerers out and shake them till their teeth rattle.....
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