Books 63-68

Nov. 3rd, 2008 09:29 pm
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books so many)
63. Bonehunters, Stephen Erikson. This series suffered the fate that is put-downism. It's a dense dense 900 pages of reading, and in trade paperback isn't an easy thing to lug around, but I am so glad that I picked it back up and restarted. Part of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, this series is epic, and it's fantasy in the darkest, most war-torn sense. The books weave in and out and just when you think it's lost it's pattern all of these loose threads come together in a way that makes you marvel and baffle. I cannot suggest this series enough. It's not an easy or quick read, but it's worth it, especially in the way that it builds.

64. Devil Bones, Kathy Reichs. The newest in the Temperance Brennan series, it's the first time I've read one cold since becoming a fan of Bones, and it was a bit odd. I enjoyed it. I won't call them great literature, but I do think they're very well written and compel you to keep reading. She mixes technical knowledge with an engaging story and characters very well.

65. Fire & Hemlock, Diana Wynne Jones. Very different from her usual fare. The story of a girl and memories that have been magicked away from her. It's quite good, and an interesting mix of mythology into a modern every day setting.

66. North & South, Elizabeth Gaskell. Brilliant. This book is everything I always wanted Austen to be. Written originally as a serial, it's captivating, pulling and pushing you along. Set in the changing world of Victorian Era, when a minister and his family leave their idyllic southern home and move to the industrial North. The characters are well written, it's a great story and I immediately fell in love. I need to get a copy.

67. The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog, Elizabeth Peters. I don't know why the prose seemed seven million times more over the top this time for me, but it did. It's so purple it hurts sometimes, but I still enjoy these books, if only for their mysteries, and Amelia and her parasol. Oh gods, and Ramses. Really, entertaining characters and stories, and honestly, it's very purposely written in this fashion. It makes me giggle sometimes.

68. Personal Demon, Kelley Armstrong. There is the world of bad urban fantasy, and then there are a few authors who consistently entertain and who's appeal does not fade. Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series continues to be one of those, though this book didn't draw me as much as some of the others. I liked some of the side-plots, but the main character (Hope) in it wasn't one of my faves, so... Less investment I suppose.

The rest of what I've read this year

Books 56-62

Oct. 6th, 2008 04:58 pm
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books so many)
I haven't done a lot of reading this past month. Partly because I've been going a bit mad watching things now that the tv season has started up again, but also because I read half of Deadhouse Gates, which is very slow going. I need to pick it back up, as I made the mistake of putting it down.

56-59 A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, The Arm of the Starfish & Dragons in the Water, Madeleine L'Engle. More of the Murry O'Keefe books. After Wind, they move from youth to young adult, and it's at that point that I've always found I enjoyed them more. Charles Wallace being older, and later on Polly and her adventures, I've always loved them best. I still think that they're some of the best young adult books out there, even if they have dated a bit.

60 Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. I liked this book for the information in it, but honestly I don't know that I'd call Ambrose a great writer. The miniseries is amazing, and because of that I think I was just expecting more.

61 Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends by Bill Guarnere, Babe Heffron w/ Robyn Post. The story of two of the Easy Company soldiers, and wow does their personality ever come through. Post did a great job compiling their interviews and making it into something very readable and cohesive, without losing one bit of either of their personalities. This was a really good read, and amazingly quick to go through.

62 Word of Honour by Michael Pryor. The third volume of The Laws of Magic, a really good young adult series set in a steampunk Victorian England called Albion. The three characters are compelling and interesting, and the mystery is fun and well-written. Not as good as the previous two, in my mind, but I still loved it, and am looking forward to seeing where he takes the fourth volume.

The rest of what I've read this year here
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (Art - reading)
50. Call of Duty: My Life Before, During and After the Band of Brothers, Buck Compton - I got the audio cd of this from Manda. I'm not usually the hugest fan of audios, as I read a lot faster than other people read to me, but I enjoyed this one. It may be that I liked listening to Buck's story, and that I was traveling a lot that weekend, so had a bunch of listening time, but I liked it. I'd only really recommend it to other Band of Brothers fans though.

51. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle - it's been years since I read this and I forgot how much I loved Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace. This book was very hard to find here in oz, and I wish it was easier, and not half of the crappy young adult vampire fantasy shite that's out there. If you do like young adult fantasy, you really should read this, and all the subsequent books.

52. Eleanor Rigby, David Coupland - Coupland is a very hit and miss writer I find; I either adore his books or hate them. Recommended by [ profile] eudaimon, This was definitely a win. The story of a middle-aged woman who lives her life alone, suddenly faced with the son no one knows she has. It's touching in a very odd way, and his way of noticing details just works so well in this.

53. The World According to Garp, John Irving - Another recommendation, this time by [ profile] bohemian__storm I really quite liked this book as well. Again amazing attention to detail, and the stories within the story were really fascinating. It literally is the story of a man's life, and a strange one at that. It foundered at bits, and I don't know that I'll be picking it up again anytime soon, but I would recommend it, and I think that someday I'll likely end up reading it again.

54. Persuasion, Jane Austen - While I've never been a big Austen fan, this is a book I have read before of hers (many years ago) and enjoyed. I did like it again, this second time through. You can lose yourself, reading this book, in the detail and the images that it evokes. It's a smart book, and I'd recommend it. Though, honestly (and this may make me a heathen), but there was a very faithful version of this made just a bit ago with Rupert Penry-Jones in it, and you'd likely do just as well simply watching that.

55. Gale Force, Rachel Caine - Urban fantasy light reading ftw! Newest installment of the Weather Warden Series, I do really love these books. I do not love the cliffhangers they end with, leaving you waiting for the next each time. But it's an amusing, well written and put together little series.

The rest of what I've read this year

Books 43-49

Aug. 2nd, 2008 09:56 pm
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (Default)
43. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare. Decidedly mediocre and very unimpressive. It could have been awesome, it really could have. The underlying world she created was intriguing, but the writing was average and the book had more boring bits than not. The plot was tired and predictable, and the supporting cast paper-thin. The main character is a Mary Sue unlike any I have ever seen, developing the SECRET WORLD SAVING POWERS after knowing NOTHING. Overall blech.

44. Fearless Fourteen, Janet Evanovich. Another in the Stephanie Plum series. See, these books manage to be light and entertaining without ever being the complete and utter crap that many other series descend into. They're fun, a bit silly, and pretty well written.

45. New Moon, Stephanie Meyer. Oh god. Just don't get me started.

46. Urban Shaman, C.E. Murphy. I really liked this one. A bit different, good use of the hunt mythology, and not your typical urban fantasy. In fact not very much typical about it at all. I was a bit apathetic over the beginning chapter, but once I got past that, it really was enjoyable.

47. The Rhinoceros who Quoted Nietzsche and other odd acquaintances, Peter S. Beagle. A collection of short stories from different parts of his writing career. All slightly fantastical, and most of these one reinterpretations of very traditional myths.

48. Motor Mouth, Janet Evanovich. I actually prefer these to the Stephanie Plum series. Not sure why, I think it might just be that I like Alex more. It might be her writing style for them is a little different, or it was stronger when she started. Again, light and fun.

49. Love Walked In, Marisa de los Santos. This is actually a book I picked up in Canada last August (yes, I do this with books AND dvds, welcome to my world). The story of a girl abandoned by her mother and another woman who crosses her path I really loved it. I loved the narrative style and the story she was telling. It flips between perspectives, and I really enjoyed the different details that would come from each.

The rest of what I've read this year

So, it's August and I'm almost at 50 books. Not bad, not great. I have some non-fiction on the horizon and that often takes longer to get through, but we'll see. It's not like it's a race!
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books so many)
There are reasons why I try to update my book blog semi-regularly. It's so I don't have to do reviews on 12 books at once. Seriously. I know that I forget books I've read when I do this. Ah well.

31. Shakespeare, Bill Bryson - I loved this book. Part of the concise biographies series, it really got down to what we know about Shakespeare (very little), what is assumed about him (and why much of it is erroneous) and painted a lovely portrait of the life of a playwright at the time (not that great). I'd recommend to anyone.

32. Small Island, Andrea Levy - A book about Jamaicans in England during World War II and after. It was a brilliant, if confusing at times, story. Fascinating to see WWII from the perspective of colonials, and how differently they were treated, being black, than the american troops. Still, a lovely if sometimes sad book.

33. Night Watch, Sarah Waters - Four stories, told backwards. I know that may seem strange, but it's not. It starts in London in 1947 and moves back in gaps to during the war, finishing in 1941. Their lives connect in ways you wouldn't have expected, and the secrets they keep are fascinating and sometimes surprising.

34. Fingersmith, Sarah Waters - The story of two young women in Victorian England, both of whom fate has used in rather strange ways. Things are not always what they seem, and this book is simply so well-written and lovely. I recommend it highly.

35. This Charming Man, Marian Keyes - Very different than her often lighter books. Dealing with abuse in relationships, it's not always an easy read, but it is rewarding. The different storylines draw you in and make you want to know more about each character, even when you're frustrated with them and their actions.

36-38. The Summer Tree, Wandering Fire, Darkest Road, Guy Gavriel Kay - Can I say how long it has been since I've read these books? At least three years, and longer since I'd read the final one. I remembered them so out of order, and entirely differently in parts. Still, it's a series I love, a re-interpretation of Arthurian legend. It has never failed to not make me cry, and this was no exception.

39. Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl, Shauna Reid - Fun and interesting. It was really fascinating to read this woman's book, a version of the blog she kept while she was on her journey - she started at 23 stone and lost 12.5. Realistic and honest, it hurt sometimes to read it; about her fears, her worries, how hard it was for her to change her own perception of herself. A very positive journey though, and a positive body image and health change.

40. The History of Lucy's Love Life in 10 1/2 Chapters, Deborah Wright - Hated it. Chick lit about a woman who time travelled to meet the world's greatest lovers. Thought it would be amusing and was just tripe.

41. Small Favour, Jim Butcher - I really need to re-read all of this series. Too bad the first books are in Canada! As it is, Small Favour is very strong. Harry gets beat up, yes, he saves the day, yes, he's snarky in the face of certain death, absolutely. I do like these books, they're well written and give me exactly what I want. Engaging characters, a fun story, and supernatural problem to be dealt with.

42. No Humans Allowed, Kelley Armstrong - I forget sometimes that Armstrong really is one of the strongest authors in the urban fantasy genre. I've yet to read a book and not immediately want more. When I pick up a new one and discover that it's about a previously minor character (there aren't THAT many) I find myself not minding at all. I love the other characters that have been developed, but I find myself loving whoever it is she's introducing us to a bit better this time around. This book is about Jamie Vegas primarily, with a heavy dose of Jeremy, Hope and Eve. Made me happy. Made me hate to finish it. Highly recommend the entire series.

The rest of the books I've read this year
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books so many)
Hi, My name is deense and I have been crap at my bookblog this year. Actually, I've been crap at reading overall, but considering I've watched most of the west wing two times over since the beginning of August, I think I know why.

22. The Court of the Air, Stephen Hunt. This is honestly the epitome of a novel gone wrong. Steampunk, which means it's something I love. About Orphans on the run, which, again means I'm predisposed to like it, and all sorts of characters that normally I'd find endearing for all of their quirks. Only there were too many of them. Too many characters, too many sub-plots, it's a book that got lost in it's own cleverness. I honestly think this would have been better as three books in a series, as some storylines never got wrapped up, and others were rushed. So much potential, and in the end, nada.

23. & 24. Blaze of Glory & Heart of Gold by Michael Pryor. Wow, so I went to hunt around for his books on the net, and found that he is in fact Australian, and three of his books have been CBC notable books, and those (not these ones) are about the only ones you can find on Amazon. Anyway, everything bad I had to say about Court of the Air I have GOOD to say about these two books. Steampunk, young adult and wow. The sort of book that carries you through to the end and then made me go buy the second one the next day. The third is not out yet, but the second, Heart of Gold has been shortlisted for 2 Aurealis awards, Best Fantasy Novel, and Best Young Adult Fantasy. Srsly. CJ, I think these might come your way next package. Honestly, they are everything about YA Fiction done RIGHT.

25. Escape, Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer. With the FLDS in the news these days, this book was amazingly topical. Honestly it was also just great. Seriously. Carolyn's story of being married to a fifty year old man with three wives already at eighteen. She had eight kids over seventeen years with him, and she was the first to escape with her children and keep custody of them. It's the sort of book that could easily be over sentimental but it isn't. I couldn't put it down, and immediately foisted it off on Anna to read who also couldn't put it down.

26. For a Few Demons More, Kim Harrison (re-read). Fifth in the Hollows series. I love these books, and if the often crappy Urban Fantasy genre I find Harrison, Jim Butcher and Kelley Armstrong consistently put out very readable plot centric books with characters I like (and ones I hate). This one made me cry. Again.

27. jPod, Douglas Coupland. I was HUGELY disappointed by this book. Two problems really. I waited over a year to read it, and Microserfs is one of my favourite books. This book felt trite and try hard. I liked it, it just wasn't great. I expected great. I got gimmicky and over the top. I do want to see the tv series though.

28. The Gum Thief, Douglas Coupland. From one Coupland straight into another. This book was utterly different, and I honestly think it's one of his best. A combination of epistolary and excerpts from a novella one of the characters has been writing, and it's that sort of book that makes you cringe because you've been there. You've had that moment. But it's well written and put together and I found myself invested in the three characters and their lives as they unfolded.

29. & 30. Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader, CS Lewis. (re-reads). PC is still one of my least favourite of the series, and DT is still my favourite. Do I have to say more?

I've also read quite a few copies of the New Scientist ([ profile] auntyyolly this is your fault), the first two volumes of Order of the Stick, all of Runaways so far, and a metric crapload of XFactor and XMen comics. So um, yes.

the rest of what I've read this year

Books 14-21

Apr. 7th, 2008 11:01 pm
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books so many)
I really need to do these more often. I keep forgetting books that I've read. I know, I rock. Please note this seems to be the time of re-reads.

14-17, The Hollows books
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead by Kim Harrison
Every Which Way but Dead by Kim Harrison
A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison
- These were all re-reads, but I haven't re-read them since I first purchased them. I really like these books (I would think obviously) because of the current batch of urban fantasy out there they are light on the excessive/poorly written sex, have plot, are amusing, are engaging, and have characters that drive you mad/you love, etc. Give them a try. Seriously.

18 Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I have no idea. The skill of writing is crap, and the content that is complete and utter rubbish. Why I spent money on this book, I'll never know.

19 Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Jennifer Rardin. This was a sort of supernatural CIA assassins book. Entertaining and fairly well put together. Nothing to write home about, but better than a lot that's out there in this genre. I don't know that I'll hunt out the next one, but if it crosses my path, I'll give it a go.

20 Atonement by Ian McEwan. It's been about two years since I've read this book (and it's about the fifth time that I've read it) and I still cannot express how brilliant it is. Read it, please. Then pick up Saturday, my next favourite book by him.

21 I was Bono's Doppelganger by Neil McCormick. Wow. I found this book almost accidentally at the airport. BRILLIANT. Neil is a music journalist in the UK and went to high school with U2. He tried to make it in the music business and failed, having to watch U2 skyrocket to success. EXTREMELY well written, it's part memoir, part early story of U2 and part critique of the music industry, and so, so good.

I think that Fionavar is on the re-read list next, plus I have Shakespeare by Bill Bryson, and it's time to delve back into the world of Patrick O'Brian.

The rest of the books here

Books 7-13

Mar. 14th, 2008 04:13 pm
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books so many)
Fact, I will almost always do book posts NOT near my pile of books I've read. I'm good that way.

7. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. The sort of sequel to the Other Boleyn Girl, it tells the stories of Anne of Cleves, Kitty Howard and Jane Boleyn. I disliked the skipping around of viewpoints at first, but got used to it and in the end really enjoyed it.

8. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Like the other book I've read by this man it took me a while to get into this. Once I did I was very happy that I did. An odd style of narrative, it's a very moving story about a boy who lost his father in 9/11 and of his family.

9. Spooks: The Personnel Files. All sorts of in character background info on the various MI-5 agents. Only good for Spooks fanatics. You may notice that includes me.

10. The Priestess of the White by Trudy Canavan. Oh gods. This is the dross on the bottom of the barrel of bad fantasy. Really. Just... No.

11. Slam by Nick Hornby. A few years ago Nick wrote a couple of good books. This is not one of them. The end.

12. Anthony Blunt: His Lives by Miranda Carter. (I originally typed His Wives, a very amusing typo). This book was lovely and amazing. It's rare to find such a well written biography, and it was a joy to read. Fascinating man.

13. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I read this book when it first came out. A long time ago. After reading Inheritance, I picked this up last night, and re-read it in one evening. I win?

Check out other book posts of this year

Books 1-6

Feb. 22nd, 2008 03:50 pm
deense: Sinfest - dominate or not? (books reading in bed)
I know this isn't all the books I've read since January, but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head, so it's what you get for now.

1.Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian. The only one of his books I've rad this year, I've been taking a little break from them. They are still some of the best naval books I've read, and I would recommend them to anyone. Just, start from the beginning.

2. Trick Or Treat by Kerry Greenwood. These books get better with each one. A completely different feel then the Phryne Fisher books (which, honestly, I do prefer) I find these to be nice light mysteries that entertain and keep me going. I love that they're set in Melbourne, and honestly, they're just lovely books.

3. Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon. A novella and two short stories from three different points of time for John. I loved them, but I think you would have to have read the Outlander books, or at least the other Lord John books to really click with them.

4. Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay. Young Adult really, and sort of a sequel to the Fionvarr Tapestry. It wasn't what I expected and I didn't like it as much as I thought I might. I did enjoy it, I always enjoy his books, especially the ones where he weaves the modern with fantasy. Just not what I expected, it's the best way of saying it.

5. Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett. It's been a loooong time since I've read this book. I preferred it this time. Maybe it's because I see some of the characters in the game, maybe it was because I knew what happened next, and I could take my time enjoying it. Either way, a very good book

6. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett. GAH! A Discworld book I hadn't read! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? I honestly don't know. Brilliant and wonderful. I loved the rats. I loved Maurice. I just loved the book. Read it, really. Just do.

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