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Morphy's 13 in 13

2013 Category Challenge

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1Morphidae
Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 8:41pm Top

I haven't finished my 888 or 12 in 12, but I'm a masochist, so yet again I'll do the category challenge. Maybe next year I'll learn? (Naaaaaaah.)

Categories (78/91)

1. New to Me Minnesota Author (1/1) DONE
2. Complete Lois McMaster Bujold Bibliography (2/2) DONE
3. Graphic Novels (3/3) DONE
4. Second Book in Series (4/4) DONE
5. Book to Movie (5/5) DONE
6. Around the World (6/6) DONE
7. 2011 TBR Code List (7/7) DONE
8. Cover Color (8/8) DONE
9. LT Recommended (9/9) DONE
10. If You Like... (4/10)
11. Paranormal Creatures (11/11)
12. Green Dragon Lists (12/12) DONE
13. LTers Choose from the Ultimate Reading List (6/13)

2Morphidae
Edited: Mar 11, 2013, 6:40pm Top



New to Me Minnesota Author

1. A Country Doctor's Casebook by Roger MacDonald

3Morphidae
Edited: Nov 25, 2013, 3:15pm Top



Complete Lois McMaster Bujold Bibliography

1. Passage
2. Horizon

Just need to read two to complete her bibliography, Passage and Horizon. Both in her Sharing Knife series.

4Morphidae
Edited: May 22, 2013, 8:39am Top



Graphic Novels

1. Preludes and Noctures by Neil Gaiman
2. Blood Crime by Kim Harrison
3. The Dark Hunters Vol. 1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

5Morphidae
Edited: Apr 18, 2013, 3:05pm Top



Second Book in Series

1. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
2. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
3. Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire
4. A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

6Morphidae
Edited: Nov 25, 2013, 3:15pm Top



Book to Movie

1. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
2. Desperation by Stephen King
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
4. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

7Morphidae
Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 8:21pm Top



Around the World

1. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana)
2. The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill (Laos)
3. Water-Blue Eyes by Domingo Villar (Spain)
4. A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson (Portugal)
5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
6. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Denmark

Books set in countries that I haven't read about beginning in 2012. Countries that I know I've read books set in include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Great Britain, Iran, Ireland, India, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, United States.

8Morphidae
Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 8:24pm Top



2011 TBR Code List

1. The Witches by Roald Dahl (CHAL)
2. Zoo City by Lauren Beuke (CLRK)
3. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (CRTC)
4. California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker (EDGR)
5.The Color of Water by James McBride (MALL)
6. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines - (CRTC to replace NBA)
7. Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale (RITA)

Old book list I want to complete. One book from each "code."

9Morphidae
Edited: Jul 27, 2014, 8:19pm Top



Cover Color

1. Red - The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
2. Orange - Ever After by Kim Harrison
3. Yellow - Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong
4. Green - The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell
5. Blue - Cold Days by Jim Butcher
6. Indigo - Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton
7. Violet - Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon
8. Black/White/Grey - The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

10Morphidae
Edited: Aug 18, 2013, 2:07pm Top



LT Recommended

1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
2. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
3. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
4. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
5. Wonder by R. J. Palacio
6. Kosher Chinese by Michael Levy
7. How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
8. Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
9. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

From my LT Recommended collection

11Morphidae
Edited: Sep 14, 2014, 2:15pm Top



If You Like...

1. C. E. Murphy - Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara
2. Anne Bishop - Moonheart by Charles de Lint
3. Sarah Addison Allen - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
4. Spider Robinson - The Dragon and the George by Gordon R. Dickson
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

From the LT If You Like... search.

I chose books by authors I haven't read before.

Mercedes Lackey - Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz
Anne McCaffrey - The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
Jacqueline Carey - Transformation by Carol Berg
Mary Ann Shaffer - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Anya Seton - Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Sherrilyn Kenyon - The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

12Morphidae
Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 8:40pm Top



Paranormal Creatures

1. The Twelve by Justin Cronin (vampires)
2. Envy by J. R. Ward (angels)
3. Blood Wyne by Yasmine Galenorn (fey)
4. If I Pay Thee Not in Gold by Lackey/Anthony(demons)
5. Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur (zombies)
6. Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake (witches/warlocks)
7. Undead and Underwater by MaryJanice Davidson (mermaids)
8. Eona by Alison Goodman (dragons)
9. This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost(ghosts)
10. Written in Red by Anne Bishop (werecreatures/shape-shifters)
11. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (other - sirens, unicorns, centaurs)

13Morphidae
Edited: Jan 20, 2014, 12:50pm Top



Green Dragon Lists

1. (1001 Fantasy) - The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
2. (111 Science Fiction) - The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
3. (50 Mystery) - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
4. (1001 Fantasy) - Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis
5. (111 Nonfiction) - The Great Influenza by John M. Barry
6. (50 Mystery) - Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
7. (111 Nonfiction) - The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
8. (1001 Fantasy) - Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny
9. (111 Science Fiction) - The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
10. (50 Mystery) - The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
11. (111 Nonfiction) - Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat
12. (1001 Fantasy) - The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan

From Morphy's Mighty Monthly Reads for 2013:
June (111 Science Fiction) - A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge DNF

14Morphidae
Edited: Jan 3, 2015, 8:27pm Top



LTers Choose from the Ultimate Reading List

1. Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding (vancouverdeb)
2. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (ronincats)
3. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (UnrulySun)
4. Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Dejah_Thoris)
5. The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (Gogs81)
6. Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore (scaifea)
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.

Books will be chosen by LTers that I will volunteer by a super secret method from a list of my unread books from The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List.

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (cameling) DNF
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs (drachenbraut23)
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (MickyFine)
Cover Her Face by P. D. James (jillmwo)
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (norabelle414)
A Night to Remember by Walter Lord (tymfos)
Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis (Sakerfalcon)

15cameling
Jan 3, 2013, 4:26pm Top

Hi Morphy .. what a wonderful list of categories. I saw your targeted reads for graphic novels. You're in for a treat. I've read all of those and really liked them.

16-Eva-
Jan 3, 2013, 10:13pm Top

Learn from our mistakes? What a silly notion. :) Welcome back! Looking forward to ducking for bookbullets over here!

17AHS-Wolfy
Jan 4, 2013, 6:35am Top

Lots of good looking potential reads for you Morphy. Looking forward to seeing what you think of them. Good luck with your challenge.

18mamzel
Jan 4, 2013, 4:17pm Top

I see many of my favorite books in your choices so I believe you will have an enjoyable year of reading. I only wish you didn't have to wait until December to read Never Cry Wolf. *teasing voice* It would fit in the Alpha CAT.

19Morphidae
Jan 4, 2013, 4:45pm Top

*sticks her fingers in her ears* la la la I can't hear you la la la la No more challenges la la la la

20LittleTaiko
Jan 4, 2013, 10:10pm Top

Have you read anything by KJ Erickson? She had a great mystery series set in MN. Only wrote a few though.

21Morphidae
Jan 5, 2013, 7:36am Top

>20 LittleTaiko: No, not yet. But I'll look into her. Thanks!

22DeltaQueen50
Jan 5, 2013, 5:19pm Top

Hi Morphy, just dropping by to place my star here. You have some really great reads planned out for this year and I'm looking forward to following along.

23mathgirl40
Jan 5, 2013, 6:35pm Top

Nice to see the Bujold category. I'd read my first Bujold very recently, though my friends have been recommending her for years! Don't know why I'd waited so long.

24lkernagh
Jan 6, 2013, 3:58pm Top

Great to see you back, Morphy!

25aliciamay
Jan 8, 2013, 2:14pm Top

Hi Morphy. Good luck on your challenge this year! A couple other Minnesota author suggestions, David Treuer and Louise Erdrich (it sounds like The Round House is really spectacular). I'll be curious to see what you choose and I'll have to check out the mystery series LittleTaiko mentioned.

26thornton37814
Jan 10, 2013, 6:44pm Top

Welcome back, Morphy.

27Morphidae
Jan 12, 2013, 4:13pm Top

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - 7 out of 10 stars
I originally rated this lower but realized I only did so because I have watched the movie so many times, I felt a little bored by the book since the movie followed it so closely - it felt like a screenplay. It's a solidly good story and if I wasn't already so familiar with it, would have enjoyed it more, I'm sure.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher - 8 out of 10 stars
Another book I could barely put down. Intense and well-written, the plot just zips along and carries you with it. Almost all our favorite characters put in an appearance. That being said, I'm glad Butcher publishs only one book a year because, frankly, reading his books is exhausting. The action is constant and relentless. I don't know where he is going with Dresden - he's almost becoming Mary-Sueish (what's the male term - Gary Sue?) - we'll have to wait another year to see and I'll need that long to recuperate.

28mamzel
Jan 13, 2013, 4:36pm Top

I'm new to the Dresden Files - I just started #3 - and I'm enjoying them immensely. Fast, exciting reads with something new in every episode.

29Morphidae
Jan 20, 2013, 7:47pm Top

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - 7 out of 10 stars
While it was an enjoyable enough light read, it was too contemporary YA for my tastes. I was expecting something a little more. I adored The Fault in Our Stars and was hoping for something along that vein but this was too high schoolish for a higher rating.

30christina_reads
Jan 20, 2013, 10:40pm Top

@ 29 -- Too bad! I loved Anna and the French Kiss, though I can see why you were disappointed if you were expecting something more like The Fault in Our Stars. Anna is a high-school love story and doesn't really aspire to be anything else...but I found it a very charming and enjoyable one!

31cammykitty
Jan 21, 2013, 3:17am Top

Good luck! Looks like we have a lot of the same books on Mount TBR. Wishing you a 10 star read soon.

32Morphidae
Jan 28, 2013, 3:21pm Top

Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman - 7 out of 10 stars
Confusing at first and dark in tone, it eventually became intriguing. The graphics were okay. I like them better than the pristine color and line of current graphic novels but the cover graphics were very well done. I think I'll look into further issues.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - 6 out of 10 stars
Oh my god. Drama, drama, drama. Angst, angst, angst. If Clare wasn't a decent writer, I don’t know if I could have finished this. As it is, I don't know if I can pick up another one of these. Too much teenage melodrama for me. I can't handle the whining lately. I think it's me more than the books. I read an old favorite by Lackey and I don't remember a previously liked character bothering me this much. I just want to yell, "Pull up your big girl panties, grow up and DEAL with the situation." I want to read about people being proactive, not "shoulda coulda woulda" as my grandmother would have said.

33lkernagh
Jan 28, 2013, 5:52pm Top

Agreed, it takes some time to warm up to Gaiman's Preludes and Nocturnes.

While I cannot place why City of Ashes sounds vaguely familiar to me, I thoroughly enjoyed your review of it!

34sandragon
Edited: Jan 28, 2013, 6:22pm Top

I read the first three City of books, to find out how the trilogy ended, but I have no urge to read the next three. I've definitely had enough teen angst and melodrama and romance triangles. There seems to be a trend and it's made me wary of picking up other YA urban (and also not-so-urban) fantasies.

35Dejah_Thoris
Edited: Jan 28, 2013, 8:31pm Top

I'd considered reading one of Cassandra Clare's books (son't remember which one), but I don't read very much YA so I passed on it. Apparently that's just as well - there's only so much angst I can tolerate....

36Crazymamie
Jan 30, 2013, 9:10am Top

I love your categories! Dropping a star so I can find my way back again - you're off to an excellent start!

37Morphidae
Feb 3, 2013, 3:07pm Top

Envy by J. R. Ward - 6 out of 10 stars
I don't know. I'm not feeling it like I do with the Black Dagger Brotherhood. This series is too rough and too crass and has too little emotional impact. It works as a stop gap while I wait for BGB books, but that's about it.

Eona by Alison Goodman - 5 out of 10 stars
Eona just barely escapes being a "bad guy" herself. She makes poor decisions, hurts her friends, trusts nobody and learns little. Even her friends start turning away. The action comes thick and fast and the drama and trauma never stops. I won't be reading anything else by this author.

38Morphidae
Mar 3, 2013, 5:51pm Top

The Twelve by Justin Cronin - 7 out of 10 stars
This tries really hard to be The Stand and doesn't quite make the grade though it's still a good read. I like stories told through several different viewpoints though you don't connect to the characters as well as you do with King's especially when it comes to Amy. Those chapters seemed too whoo whoo and confusing. Perhaps the final book will clear things up.

39Morphidae
Mar 11, 2013, 6:43pm Top

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith - 8 out of 10 stars
Less of a mystery and more of a character study, it's a collection of vignettes about various problems and a large cast of characters. The mysteries are so easy even I could solve them. Sometimes before the mystery was even fully explained! But it's very charming and made me smile. I've gotten the next book from the library and have ordered the DVD of the TV show from Netflix. I'm hooked.

A Country Doctor's Casebook by Roger MacDonald - 8 out of 10 stars
Two complaints. The stories themselves were too short, sometimes just two or three pages. I prefer a story I can get more absorbed in. And the book was too short! Heart-warming and then heart-breaking, I wanted more. The stoicism of some of the patients was both amazing and head-shaking baffling. Great book.

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara - 7 out of 10 stars
Another one of those dark and dreary fantasies, there no humor here and little hope. But the writing and world-building are well done. When I'm in a decently up mood, I'll try the next. The main character might get annoying real fast though. Depends on how long her rebellious attitude continues. She acts more like fifteen than twenty.

40cbl_tn
Mar 11, 2013, 7:19pm Top

I hope you enjoy the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency DVDs. Everyone I know who's watched them has loved them, no matter what their usual taste in TV and movies runs to. The show seems to have a universal appeal.

41mamzel
Mar 12, 2013, 10:29am Top

I loved the series. I thought they did a wonderful job casting the characters and the local setting was spectacular!

42ivyd
Mar 12, 2013, 1:04pm Top

I too thought the casting was superb and really enjoyed the tv series. It picks up events from later books in the series, beyond where I was at the time. But, as you say, Morphy, the mysteries are secondary in this series, so I wasn't too disappointed by the spoilers.

43Morphidae
Mar 28, 2013, 5:05pm Top

Ever After by Kim Harrison - 7 out of 10 stars
In general, I like this series but I'm glad Harrison is going to wrap it up in the next two books. She's a good writer and I like the characters but they are starting to feel stale. Ever After is the eleventh book in the series and you can tell Harrison is struggling to find interesting stories. There isn't a lot more character growth available. This isn't to say it wasn't an enjoyable book, it was. But you can tell the stories are coming to a close.

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell - 7 out of 10 stars
Taken as a children's book, it was fun and enjoyable. I liked the birds and the determination of the little girls. My nitpicks are because I can't get past that I'm an adult reading a children's book. Things like the adults being dumb, the story line being straightforward, and some minor plot holes bother me that wouldn't cause a kid to blink an eye.

Blood Crime by Kim Harrison - 5 out of 10 stars
Story was too basic and graphics were unappealing. Meh.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop - 9 out of 10 stars
Ooooh. I just hugged it and squeezed it and wanted to start all over at the beginning as soon as I finished it. Love the characters and the world building. As usual, Bishop creates dark characters with a touch a humor and a compelling story that make you want to whip through the book as fast as you can. The only gripe I have that kept this from being a 10 is that the heroine was a little wimpy for my tastes. But I understand why she started out that way, there was growth, and I can tell there will be more growth as the series continues. I also like that these are not romantic, sparkly werewolves and vampires. Humans are "meat."

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - 7 out of 10 stars
This book tried too hard to be Ready Player One for book geeks. It doesn't have near the excitement or cleverness. There were several moments where I thought something clever would happen and it just petered out. Still, I liked it. I mean, adventure and mystery in a bookstore!

44Morphidae
Mar 28, 2013, 5:08pm Top

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin - 4 out of 10 stars
As I've said before, if I don't like the characters, I don't like the book. George's, the main character's, only interesting quality is his ability to dream reality into being. Otherwise, he's a boring milquetoast of a man. Heather is a one-dimensional ball-buster. Huber, the bad guy, is a slimy, egomaniac with delusions of grandeur. Add in some psychobabble, a meandering plot, and some deus ex machina aliens. I have to say I really didn't like this book at all. Thankfully it was short or I wouldn't have been able to finish it. I'm done with LeGuin. I've read several of her books and the only ones I thought were any good were her Earthsea series.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith - 8 out of 10 stars
Less of a mystery and more of a character study, it's a collection of vignettes about various problems and a large cast of characters. The mysteries are so easy even I could solve them. Sometimes before the mystery was even fully explained! But it's very charming and made me smile. I've gotten the next book from the library and have ordered the DVD of the TV show from Netflix. I'm hooked.

45cbl_tn
Mar 28, 2013, 5:17pm Top

I'm glad you enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I always feel better after reading one of the books in that series. Not because of the plot, but just from spending time with the characters. You've got a treat in store with the TV series.

46mathgirl40
Mar 29, 2013, 10:08pm Top

I've been thinking of trying a book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, or trying the TV show, which our library has available on DVD, so I'm glad you gave this a positive review. I do enjoy the Inspector Kubu mystery series, also set in Botswana.

47lkernagh
Apr 6, 2013, 5:04pm Top

I agree with your assessment of Mr. Penumbra's, Morphy! I spent the whole time reading it comparing it to RPO and came away not enjoying it as much as I might have if I had never read RPO.

48Morphidae
Apr 18, 2013, 3:13pm Top

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - 6 out of 10 stars
What I like about Collins' writing is that it is straightforward and clear, unlike a lot of other writing in the 1800s. I didn't like The Moonstone as much as The Women in White though. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I felt the story dragged at times. I did like the epistolary style and each voice was distinct.

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovith - 7 out of 10 stars
Thankfully Peter feels less incompetent in this book and the story is compelling, I zipped right through it. I also liked its strong sense of place even if it meant I had to look up a bunch of lingo. What kept it from a higher rating was how confusing it was in a couple of spots. I had no idea how Peter jumped to some of his conclusions.

Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire - 8 out of 10 stars
What fun. I love McGuire's sense of humor - the intelligent mice and carnage loving cyptid (non-human) are particularly amusing. I like reading about creatures other than were-animals and vampires. I like that there is no love triangle - instead it's more a Romeo & Juliet thing. Only reason it didn't rate higher is that it had somewhat of a fluffy chick lit feel to it. But then, it got an 8! Pretty darned high for me.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear - 8 out of 10 stars
I really enjoyed this. I felt it was more fiction than a mystery though as most of the book was flashback and back story. It had a wonderful sense of time and place and I love books about the servant class in England especially during this time of change (pre- and post-WWI.)

Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold - 5 out of 10 stars
It's a travelogue. Yawner. I didn't like it when Twain did it (Huckleberry Finn), nor did I like it when a favorite author does it - even in a fantasy setting. She tries to make it more interesting by adding motley characters and giving Dag some ethical problems, but it doesn't help.

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris - 6 out of 10 stars
This was less about a mystery and more about her inheritance and how she and people around her reacted to it. It wasn't as charming as the first book. There was less interaction with interesting characters and Aurora seemed less likable - more insular and standoffish.

49cbl_tn
Apr 18, 2013, 5:51pm Top

I'm glad you enjoyed Maisie Dobbs! The subsequent books have more mystery to them, but Maisie's personal life and the effects of post-traumatic stress from WWI continue to be major themes in the series.

50-Eva-
Apr 20, 2013, 1:57am Top

I recently finished Maisie Dobbs and was glad to find out that there will be more mystery in the subsequent installments - I do like the personal parts, but I'd like there to be something mysterious in my mysteries. :)

51christina_reads
Apr 28, 2013, 7:18pm Top

Happy to see your positive thoughts on Midnight Blue-Light Special! I have Discount Armageddon on my shelves now, but for some reason I haven't picked it up yet. Love McGuire's Toby Daye series, though, so I'm sure this one will be good too!

52Morphidae
May 17, 2013, 9:08pm Top

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost - 6 out of 10 stars
A little tedious, same ol', same ol'.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - 7 out of 10 stars
I liked the world building and writing yet the characters were cold and the plot plodding at times. Interesting enough I'll try the next in the series though.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio - 9 out of 10 stars
Wonderful. Heartwarming. Made me laugh and cry. My definition of a favorite book is one where I hug it when I'm done and this one got a big ol' bear hug when I was finished. Highly recommended for both adults and children.

Undead and Underwater by MaryJanice Davidson - 6 out of 10 stars
Short stories don't do much for me and this is a fluff author. Entertaining couple of hours anyway.

53Morphidae
May 18, 2013, 12:26pm Top

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis - 4 out of 10 stars
Only vaguely interesting story about unlikable characters who mostly have unpleasant lives then you get hammered with a moralistic ending. Yuck.

54Morphidae
May 21, 2013, 8:34am Top

Blood Wyne by Jasmine Galenorn - 6 out of 10 stars
Ninth book in the series. The bloom is off the rose and it's starting to feel like the author is just pumping them out. There's no character growth or plot development in this one. We'll see how the next book or two go.

55Morphidae
May 22, 2013, 8:41am Top

Shadowheart by Laura Kinsale - 5 out of 10 stars
More historical fiction and intrigue rather than romance. I never did understand what the two saw in each other. This is my third Kinsale and she doesn't appeal to me. Her characters are uninteresting if not out and out unlikeable, she gives little sense of place and her plots are plodding. No more.

California Girl by T. Jefferson Parker - 7 out of 10 stars
It wasn't much of a mystery but rather more about the brothers and the personal interactions. I read this because I really liked Silent Joe by the same author. I didn't like this one as much but it was still enjoyable. I liked the brothers, good people but less than perfect.

56christina_reads
May 24, 2013, 11:37am Top

@ 55 -- Which other Kinsale books have you read? I've found her a bit hit-or-miss as well...I really liked Flowers from the Storm (though I can see how people would find her hero unlikeable!), but Lessons in French was just kind of meh.

57Morphidae
May 24, 2013, 3:24pm Top

Flowers from the Storm which I rated even worse - a 4 - and The Shadow and the Star which faired just a bit better with a 6.

58-Eva-
Jun 1, 2013, 7:44pm Top

I have Seraphina on the wishlist for the world building, so very happy to hear that part is a win.

59Morphidae
Jun 9, 2013, 12:13pm Top

Angel's Ink by Jocelynn Drake - 6 out of 10 stars
While I started off really liking the book, I got to the point of plot exhaustion. Just how many problems can one person have and resolve in one book? It was a bit too much and after the fifth or sixth issue got thrown in, I was like, "Really?" I'll give the author another shot though because I did like the characters and world-building.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding - 4 out of 10 stars
She complains all the time, smokes, drinks, and I'm sorry, someone who weighs only 130 pounds can't complain about being fat. I really didn't see anything endearing about her and don't see the appeal of this book. Enjoyed the movie though.

Kosher Chinese by Michael Levy - 6 out of 10 stars
I thought it would be less about eating, drinking and pooping and more about the differences in culture. Oh, there was some culture, but it was mostly teenaged girls fascination with Western pop culture. Interesting enough, but not exactly what I was looking for.

60Morphidae
Jun 30, 2013, 9:07pm Top

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters - 4 out of 10 stars
Sorry, Paul, this one wasn't for me. I found the story tedious and the characters unlikable. I wanted to strangle the doctor at times - he was so bull-headed - and the Hundreds household was weak and passive. It wasn't scary or spooky. I found I just didn't care if it was a ghost or one of the household or something else. Not that you ever found out. I was only able to finish because it was for a challenge else I would have quit halfway through.

The Great Influenza by John Barry - 5 out of 10 stars
First, the first third of the book was mostly about the history of medicine in America. Second, this book was almost too dry to read. Not quite enough to be unreadable, but not as easy as my usual pop science books. Lastly, I feel like everything was left unresolved. The author would build up the suspense, and then just drop everything. He'd set you up to think a doctor was about to find something or help was on the way. Then drop it and go to another doctor or another subject. Over and over. There never was a climax. It was very annoying. Not recommended.

The Witches by Roald Dahl - 7 out of 10 stars
Probably my favorite Dahl. Fun and fast moving. I think it's because I particularly liked the tenderness of the relationship between the boy and his grandmother.

How Reading Changed My Life - 6 out of 10 stars
I wanted to like this more than I did. The first essay on the love of reading was a delight, but the last essay rambled all over the place and had no cohesion. Here and there were some real gems but overall was just meh.

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout - 6 out of 10 stars
I understand this isn't the best of the series and I understand why. The pacing is uneven and I think it has the failing of the Sherlock Holmes stories in that there is no way for the reader to solve the mystery. It's all given to you by the "vastly superior" detective. But I can see how the characters can grow on you. They are eccentric and amusing. I'll give the next in the series a shot.

61-Eva-
Jul 2, 2013, 11:18pm Top

Oh dear, perhaps I'll save The Little Stranger for a challenge as well. :)

62Morphidae
Jul 14, 2013, 11:44am Top

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes - 6 out of 10 stars
Sort of a thriller urban fantasy grunge cyber noir plot. It sagged, had plot holes with unanswered questions and the writing was mediocre. Zinzi was hard to relate to - a murderer and spam crook without many redeeming qualities. There was enough appeal to the world-building, however, that I was able to give it an average rating.

Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton - 6 out of 10 stars
Like with Lackey, I'm glad I can get these from the library. While these books are nice to while away a few hours, Hamilton is past her prime. Recycled plot, recycled sex, recycled lovers, recycled villain. Heck, recycled dialogue. Thankfully, I like to reread books because this was very similar to that. The problem is that after 22 books she had nowhere to go. It's done. She Mary-Sued Anita long ago.

Desperation by Stephen King - 5 out of 10 stars
Too brutal right off the bat and, therefore, there was no build up. I felt this one lacked the usual characterization of other books by King and only when there was flashback to characterization was the story interesting to me. This is the first King I almost put aside. The brutality in the first third of the book was almost too much.

63mamzel
Jul 14, 2013, 11:57pm Top

Sounds like you need a hit of a book soon. Hope one comes along soon.

64Morphidae
Aug 5, 2013, 5:51pm Top

Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith - 4 out of 10 stars
SPOILER: I was going to give this five stars - lower than average but still readable then got to the grisly, miserable ever after ending and decided I just didn't like this book. The inspector was more a victim than a hero and the female protagonist was mysterious to the point of being two-dimensional. I didn't like either of them and I'm not sure you are meant to. The plot was slow and there were far too many confusing tangents. About the only thing I did like was the peek in Russian Culture.

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer - 7 out of 10 stars
What a lot of fun. Much more than I was expecting. Once I got past the squick factor of the first cousin romance, I had a very good time and I laughed and smiled throughout this romantic romp. Sophy pushes all the boundaries in this Regency with aplomb and wit.

***

Did Not Finish

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
I got about 200 pages into this and can go no farther. The language is inaccessible for me. I read a chapter and then realize I have no idea what I just read or what happened.

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
About the same number of pages. This was more about the lack of appealing characters and plodding, bleak plot. (Renewed twice from library.)

65-Eva-
Aug 5, 2013, 11:16pm Top

That's a shame about Gorky Park since I've heard almost only good words about it (and because it's on my Mt. TBR). *adjusting expectations* :) I've tried Master and Commander as well and ended up giving it away once I had restarted three (or perhaps even four) times - the language didn't click for me either.

66cammykitty
Aug 5, 2013, 11:45pm Top

Oh my - I think you're being kind to Zoo City. I loved Moxyland but wonder what the editor was thinking with Zoo City. A good editor and 2 more revision passes could've saved the book but as it is, I think it's kind of embarrassing.

Interested to see that you couldn't get through A Fire Upon the Deep. I keep hearing people rave about it, but Vinge has such a reputation as the quintessential Hard Science Fiction writer (hard meaning emphasis on the science) that I'm a bit afraid of trying him.

Here's hoping you hit a 9 or 10 star read soon!

67Morphidae
Aug 6, 2013, 7:46am Top

9 and 10 stars are pretty rare for me. I did have one recently in Moloka'i by Alan Brennert but it didn't fit into my 13 in 13 challenge.

68christina_reads
Aug 6, 2013, 11:32am Top

@ 64 -- Yay, so glad you enjoyed The Grand Sophy! It's my favorite Heyer, although frankly I love them all. :)

69Morphidae
Aug 18, 2013, 2:09pm Top

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross - 7 out of 10 stars
Even with a simplistic plot and somewhat flat secondary characters, this book grabbed me. I had fun with it. And to be honest, enjoyment is more important to me than "literary quality." I like the era and the costumes and the machinery and the powers and...well, the second book is already on hold at the library!

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman - 6 out of 10 stars
It was okay. I might have liked it more if I hadn't just come off reading something equally depressing (A Fine Balance).

It was certainly well written and moving especially when it came to the relationship between the artist and his father. I found it interesting to read about the Holocaust from a wealthy family's perspective. In the end, it ended up the same, but the beginnings were different from say, Anne Frank's story. I also liked that the father was shown flaws and all. He was no tragic hero. However, I was unimpressed with the graphics. Most of the time, I couldn't tell one character from another except from the dialogue. And in general found it blocky and uninspiring.

70Morphidae
Oct 3, 2013, 9:22pm Top

Matilda by Roald Dahl - 7 out of 10 stars
I liked the lyricism of the writing the most. There was a lovely rhythm to it. The story was over the top and unbelievable to the point of inanity but that's Dahl for you.

Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong - 7 out of 10 stars
This is the 10th book in the series. It's nice to see Elena and Clay work as a team. No relationship angst! (Well, not much.) Most of the angst is Elena's self-doubt when she is told she is the Alpha heir apparent. And their relationship with their kids is adorable. A fun read though dark and dirty at times.

71Morphidae
Oct 8, 2013, 8:08pm Top

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon - 7 out of 10 stars
This book is not for the faint-hearted - 800+ pages of the darkest horror interspersed with some rare moments of friendship and love. Styxx is brutalized in the most horrific fashion for thousands of years by many different people. I can't imagine how someone can get through that with any heart or soul, but he did. I can't figure out how Kenyon got me to read 800+ pages of abuse heaped on abuse, but she did. Good book.

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay - 8 out of 10 stars
Really good book that I zipped through in one afternoon. The stories were told in alternating chapters which kept them clearly separated. My only disappointment was the last few pages - the relationship was far too obvious and the ending just sort of... petered out.

72mathgirl40
Oct 9, 2013, 10:22pm Top

Too bad you didn't enjoy A Fire in the Deep. I did like it very much myself but it was indeed a bit of a challenge to get through. Nice to see you liked Frostbitten. I'm a big fan of Armstrong's YA series but have only read the first in the Women of the Otherworld series so far.

73Morphidae
Nov 25, 2013, 3:20pm Top

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham - 7 out of 10 stars
A good precursor to many of my favorite "end of the world" stories I love so much today. Wyndham did it before it became all the rage. I felt a little distant from the characters though and found it hard to root for them. Probably because of the British "stiff-upper-lipness" of it all. I would have liked to have learned more about the colony they joined at the end, too. Otherwise a solid SF story.

Moonheart by Charles de Lint - 8 out of 10 stars
I'm glad I didn't succumb to my first instinct and toss the book aside after the first pages. I thought his writing would be too "lyrical" for me. Seems like he was just setting the tone though and the style became less purple and more straightforward. If I hadn't known better I would have said he was a hack writing what everyone else was writing. You know, similar to how many epic fantasies are just Tolkein wannabes? Instead, it's clearly a foundational work. Most of the current urban fantasy (minus the paranormal romance) seems to follow in Lint's footsteps in structure and tone.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - 6 out of 10 stars
Being too familiar with the spoiler and the movie versions where Hyde is a large monster tainted my reading of this story. I might have gotten more out of it without that bias. Hyde seems more pathetic of a creature and barely what you would consider a monster. The style is rather overblown. With all that being said, still a decent read.

Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold - 7 out of 10 stars
I've completed Bujold's bibliography - all 26 books! I liked this more than the third book - less travel, more plot, more characterization. I didn't like that several of the secondary characters that were built up in the second and third books got barely more than a mention even though they were with them. Solid ending to a decent fantasy series. Not one I'd recommend though except to a Bujold completist.

74-Eva-
Nov 26, 2013, 11:50pm Top

I want to read The Day of the Triffids - that film creeped me out when I was a kid. I thought a movie about aggressive plants would be silly, but oh no, it wasn't! :)

75LittleTaiko
Nov 27, 2013, 10:00pm Top

I'm reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde next year. I've seen the musical a couple of times so hopefully know what to expect.

76Morphidae
Dec 19, 2013, 5:51pm Top

The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers - 6 out of 10 stars
While I liked the laid back story-telling and I found the characters amusing at times, some things drove me batty. The style of dialogue was irritating. A character would go off on paragraphs of a monologue. You'd know that they were responding to someone, but you'd only get one side of a conversation. Or they'd be rambling to themselves. There was a lot of change-ringing terminology with no explanation of what the terms all meant. Lastly, the mystery was so convoluted, there was no way for you to figure it out yourself. It had to be handed to you on a platter. Then they killed off one of the main players for what seems to be no reason. It was a decent read but I'm not so sure I'd read another Sayer based on this book.

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat - 7 out of 10 stars
I know this book is supposedly heavily fictionalized, but I found it an enjoyable, quick read. I would have given it an 8 but there were some instances where he pulled a TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) card that was too "precious." For example, he knew damn well what the various Inuit people thought when he did something odd to them, but acted as if he didn't for the amusement factor.

77Morphidae
Jan 20, 2014, 12:52pm Top

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle - 7 out of 10 stars
Delightful read. It was humorous and I loved the glimpse into another culture. And, oh my god, the food! And this was real food, not fancy, prissy French food. I would have rated this higher but Mayle had the annoying habit of throwing French words in randomly just to give it "flavor" rather than for any rational reason. There would be an entire paragraph of English and then one word would be in French like "grocery" or "pool man" or "muck." Yes, MUCK. He'd translate a French person's speech except for one word, too. And not occasionally either. There would be one or two words I'd have to look up PER PAGE. I'm so grateful for my new iPAD. I kept Google Translate up all the time. Oh! And then he'd MISSPELL the French! ARGH! So you can imagine how much higher I would have rated this without all the aggravation.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker - 8 out of 10 stars
Lovely debut novel. Sort of a mix between fantasy and historical fiction. While I found it hard to like the jinni character, he was sympathetic. Another small annoyance was the stereotypical behavior of the main characters. Female: nurturing, passive, giving, socially conscious. Male: aggressive, wandering, philandering, emotionally distant. The writing was very well done though and I could hardly put the book down. I was totally immersed in the world. I'll certainly read more by this author.

The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan - 8 out of 10 stars
Enjoyable first book in a trilogy. The next book is already in transit at the library. Engaging with a strong female protagonist. The constant hiding and running in the first half of the book was a wee bit annoying. Solid world-building. Straight-forward plot.

78-Eva-
Edited: Jan 22, 2014, 11:44pm Top

More good words about The Golem and the Jinni, I see. There is book-shopping in my future...

79Morphidae
Edited: Feb 5, 2014, 11:35am Top

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman - 8 out of 10 stars
I shouldn't rate this book so high, I really shouldn't. Some of the characters needed to be fleshed out more, the plot was episodic, there was foreshadowing of bad things that never happened, etc. But the writing was good, the book was absorbing and I was so happy reading it. It gets the 8 just because of my sheer enjoyment of the book. I needed a happy book right now and this, despite some painful events, is a happy book. Everything turns out well for all the characters you care about. It could seem saccharine to some but it's what I needed at this moment.

80Morphidae
Jul 27, 2014, 8:34pm Top

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood - 5/10 stars
- didn't like any of the characters, too simplistic, chorus was annoying

Water-Blue Eyes by Domingo Villar - 6/10 stars

81Morphidae
Sep 14, 2014, 5:32pm Top

The Dragon and the George by Gordon Dickson - 7 out of 10 stars
While showing its age - "clichéd" plot (is it clichéd if it is older than other stories?), most females needing to be rescued, simplistic solutions, it was a fun little story that I read in an afternoon. The dragons are a stitch.

82Morphidae
Oct 2, 2014, 2:13pm Top

A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson - 6 out of 10 stars
Meh. Overall, it was a quick, interesting read that ultimately left me unsatisfied.

MAJOR SPOILERS: While I enjoyed the story, the plot was too convoluted (two timelines, many people involved/guilty), the motivation of the person ultimately responsible for the murder is murky (and I don't feel all that strong), and that person gets away with it all to go on their merry way. Other major details such as if the love interest is or is not involved are also left unclear.

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines - 7 out of 10 stars
I'm not quite sure how I feel about this nor how to rate it. I found it both moving and annoying. It was upsetting and uplifting. I wanted to rate it highly because it was written so well about an important subject and had emotional impact. I didn't rate it highly because I also rate books for the enjoyment factor and I felt like crap after I finished. I am glad I read it though.

Relic by James Patterson - 6 out of 10 stars
While I enjoyed the thriller aspects of it, every single character made classic monster movie mistakes: going off alone, searching the basement (caves), checking out noises when they know there's something bad around, disbelieving the guy who knows what's going on, underestimating the bad guy, etc. Dummies.

83-Eva-
Oct 4, 2014, 9:45pm Top

>82 Morphidae:
How are the descriptions of Lisbon in that one? Always on the lookout for books with a great sense of place.

84Morphidae
Oct 4, 2014, 9:49pm Top

Average. I really didn't get much of a sense of place other than in small spots here and there.

85-Eva-
Oct 4, 2014, 10:29pm Top

Thanks, good to know. You'd think with "Lisbon" in the title, it would figure more. :)

86Morphidae
Jan 3, 2015, 8:41pm Top

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- 7/10 stars
While Adichie is an excellent writer and tells a good story, I have a real thing against cheating/adultery. When the main character does such a thing, it turns my stomach. This book lost one star for it.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - 6/10 stars
Mildly engaging. It didn't feel like there was much danger or tension. Perhaps because of the intended audience.

The Color of Water by James McBride - 6/10 stars
A fascinating story and well written but I don't know how the children turned out so well as the mother seemed to be such an unpleasant person. It felt like the author was lauding a neglectful parent at times. He wasn't all that nice a person either.

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton - 7/10 stars
Enjoyable straightforward thriller-lite that shows its age. Unlike the movie, all the characters are male. Otherwise, the movie follows the book pretty closely.

Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore - 8/10 stars
What an absolute stitch. This is my second Moore and I am definitely going to read more books by him. You get thoughts in your head while reading his books of, "Oh no, he is not going to do that." Then, "Oh, yes. Oh, yes he did!" I'm sure not everyone will appreciate his humor as he certainly is irreverent, especially when it comes to literary mores such as not killing off named characters within pages of introducing them!

Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur - 6/10 stars
The mystery plot was interesting but the love triangle was tiresome especially as Kyle was a nasty piece of work.

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