What I’ve Been Reading

Title Author Date Started Date Finished Mini-Review
Lotus Blue Cat Sparks 2/10/18 Post-apocalyptic Australia, so lots of desert. For whatever reason, I’m not a huge fan of desert stories, and this has been kind of a slog for me.
Noumenon Marina J. Lostetter 2/6/18 2/10/18 A generation ship story with clones, told over a LONG period of time in a series of vignettes. Pretty good – we spent just enough time with the characters in each story to like or understand them. There was one episode that seemed a bit extreme, but it was good storytelling, so I’m okay with it.
The Stars Are Legion Kameron Hurley 2/3/18 2/5/18 WEIRD. Like, I still don’t know what was going on exactly, or how that society worked. Are the ships alive? And there was this journey segment that, while it gathered up some companions for our hero, didn’t really teach her anything, so what was the point of that exactly? I found a lot of it offputting.
American War Omar El Akkad 1/28/18 2/3/18 Speculative fiction, second American civil war begins 60 years from now, the south refuses to give up oil. Told entirely from the point of view of a young southern woman fighting, not for the cause (she doesn’t care about oil), but because the war (and the north) destroyed everything she knew and loved. It felt real and dirty and uncomfortable, and I’m not sure I liked it, but it was good.
Mapping The Interior Stephen Graham Jones 1/28/18 1/28/18 Another novella, also good, but not as gripping as the previous two. Felt more psychological thriller than science fiction.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones Seanan McGuire 1/27/18 1/28/18 Another novella, the second in the Wayward Children series. Very good, maybe not as good as the first one, but still really nice to dig into the actual through-the-looking-glass story of two of the characters.
The Murders of Molly Southbourne Tade Thompson 1/26/18 1/27/18 REALLY good novella. It was creepy and fascinating and I don’t want to tell you anything about it because I don’t want to give it away but I want MORE. What is WRONG with her? How did she get that way? What’s up with her parents? WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!? More, please.
Bannerless Carrie Vaughn 1/23/18 1/26/18 The premise was interesting – post-apocalyptic world, society determines that overpopulation was one of the causes of collapse, so people have to earn the right to have kids – but it took a while to get to that explanation, and I never felt like it had a point. Also, the writing was ANNOYING. John was reading another of her books at the same time and had similar issues with the writing. I finished it, but it was difficult not to skim through to the end.
The Refrigerator Monologues Cat Valente 1/21/18 1/23/18 There’s a trope in comics, movies, TV, books, everything, about how the hero’s love interest has to die or be raped or whatever in order to give the hero a reason to go be heroic. The love interest is an object, a plot device, not a character. The trope (and there’s a website) is called Women in Refrigerators because a particularly egregious example involved a Green Lantern comic where the girlfriend was killed and actually stuffed into a fridge for the hero to find. This novella, focused on the comics aspect, is about turning those women into characters. Pretty darn good, too.
Autonomous Annalee Newitz 1/18/18 1/21/18 Interesting, but not great. It suffers from telling, not showing, and the descriptions of locations were decidedly NOT clear. I couldn’t picture any of those locations, despite the descriptive text. I almost put it down a couple of times.
An Excess Male Maggie Shen King 1/15/18 1/18/18 It started out as an interesting family drama in a near-future China where the men vastly outnumber the women, and then it took an unexpected, I think unforeshadowed, violent turn. It’s told from the point of view of four characters, three of whom felt real. The fourth one, who, incidentally, is the one whose plotline took the thriller turn, felt like wish-fulfillment. Or maybe he was just not very smart.
The Prey of Gods Nicky Drayden 1/14/18 1/15/18 It was interesting and not at all what I expected and I LIKED it but I didn’t love it. A kid and a teenager and a demigod and some sentient robots in South Africa.
The Bear and the Nightingale Katherine Arden 1/13/18 1/14/18 I was a little hesitant at first – Russian fairy tales are not my favorite – but I flew through this book and loved every page. Great characters, great story, and the imagery, the descriptions made it so real. I don’t like flowery descriptions, and these definitely weren’t – there was just enough, written clearly, that I felt like I was watching a movie. I could SEE it all.
The Power Naomi Alderman 1/10/18 1/13/18 It’s probably cliche to say so, but The Power is powerful. Roles get flipped, and a lot of that feels viscerally real. As a novel, though, I’m not sure I’d call it great. It feels like an experiment, especially in the framing device – a meaningful experiment, to be sure. It’s just that the novel part of the story feels somewhat unresolved.
The City of Brass S.A. Chakraborty 1/4/18 1/10/18 SO GOOD. First in a trilogy, with a heroine who has actual flaws and actual worries and actual feelings, and MAGIC. So much magic.
Six Wakes Mur Lafferty 1/2/18 1/4/18 Clones. I like clone stories, and this one is also a murder mystery in space, but it’s a first novel, and the writing feels like it. Good story, but the writing is getting to me. Update: NOT a first novel, so that excuse is gone. The writing got to me, and I put it down without finishing.
All Systems Red Martha Wells 1/1/18 1/2/18 First novella in The Murderbot Diaries series. Grabbed me from the first sentence and kept me interested the whole way through.
The Fisher of Bones Sarah Gailey 1/1/18 1/1/18 Creepy novella written by the author of the hippo cowboy stories. Really good. Not related to hippo cowboys in any way.
Finders Seekers Gayle Greeno 12/20/17 12/31/17 I avoided this book because of the cover art for YEARS. Then I read a description of it on a card in Powell’s and I was like “Telepathic cats bonded to humans?!? Why did no one tell me that all those years ago?” And you know, it was pretty good and I want to read the rest of the series. Warning: the ebook is FULL of typos and bad formatting. Get the paperback in a used bookstore.
Persepolis Rising James S.A. Corey 12/14/17 12/20/17 Book 7 in The Expanse series. Every beginning in this series requires an adjustment period, and this one is no exception. It took me longer to adjust, but once that was done, it was just as good.
Indexing: Reflections Seanan McGuire 12/10/17 12/14/17 Sequel! Yay! Nice continuation. Now I’m sad there’s no more planned.
Indexing Seanan McGuire 12/7/17 12/10/17 I like every book of hers more than the one before. Premise: fairy tales are real, some people are susceptible to turning into fairy tale characters, and the fairy tale narrative is destructive when it affects real people. There’s a government agency devoted to saving people (and the world) from fairy tale incursions. It was written as a serial, which you can tell, but that’s a super minor annoyance. Loved it.
Practical Demonkeeping Christopher Moore 12/2/17 12/7/17 Comic fantasy is hard to do. This was a first book, and maybe the others get better. It was absurd with no depth. It could have used some character development.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs 11/28/17 12/2/17 I expected something else from this book. I’m not sure what, exactly, but it didn’t really grab me. It’s interesting, for sure, but I somehow found it LESS engrossing after I found out that the author found a bunch of odd pictures and wrote a story about them. The pictures are scattered throughout the book, included where they’re needed, and knowing that they’re real maybe took away some of the creep factor.
Hunger Makes The Wolf Alex Wells 11/26/17 11/28/17 It’s a little bit like Dune crossed with Firefly crossed with a western. First in a series. I really enjoyed it once I pushed past the first two or three pages.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer Lish McBride 11/19/17 11/25/17 Fun and funny and action-packed. It’s an origin story with plenty of sarcasm and the title still cracks me up.
Etta and Otto and Russell and James M.T. Anderson 11/18/17 11/19/17 What a nice book. The plot moves between present day and the same characters 70 years before. It’s quiet and moving and lovely.
Feed M.T. Anderson 11/15/17 11/18/17 Started out interesting and then got to be a bit much. Set in the future, told from the point of view of a not-terribly-bright teenager, the feed of the title is essentially the internet, with tailored ads, streamed directly to your brain. The slang is fun, and funny, but the conceit gets a little old too fast. I pushed my way through to the end.
Burning Man Alan Russell 11/11/17 11/15/17 Cop, his loyal dog, and a mystery. Good story.
Dark Intelligence Neal Asher 11/9/17 11/11/17 I really thought I was going to like this one. It had a really strong start, but after walking us through the main character’s first day or so, from his perspective, getting the details, the next section was about three paragraphs like “so then he got this upgrade, learned a lot of stuff, went off-world to this other place, and left a message for this person he learned about in his research to call him”. And then we switched to that other person’s perspective. Like, wait. I was enjoying that. And now I have whiplash and a summary that wasn’t even interesting. It’s like the author got bored and wanted to jump ahead, and instead of just jumping ahead and filling us in later, he outlined it and forgot to fix it before the book got published. Plus there was this weird writing tic that got more obvious as the book went on. I got annoyed and quit. I don’t regret it.
Crashing Heaven Al Robertson 11/6/17 11/9/17 I gave up on this one. The premise is good (and a bit creepy), but I couldn’t get into it. I found the plot details and the descriptions confusing, and I wasn’t given enough reasons to care about the main character, and that’s at 25% into the book. If I still don’t know what’s going on AND I don’t care a quarter of the way in, I should get out. So I did.
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School Kim Newman 11/1/17 11/5/17 This was an odd one. Good, but odd and I don’t mean in content or even style. It’s a dark take on the boarding school story, where some students have abilities and others don’t, post-WWI Britain. It starts out great, and it ends well, but the middle was a bit of a slog. Once it started to pick up, I flew through to the end, but there were a couple of days where I was stuck in the middle, wondering why it was taking so long to get to the next plot point.
Every Heart A Doorway Seanan McGuire 10/28/17 11/1/17 I really really liked this book. The premise is that sometimes, the children who were spirited off to fairyland come back, and when they do, they have trouble coping. Super good.
Book of a Thousand Days Shannon Hale 10/26/17 10/27/17 YA, told from the perspective of a teenage maid writing in her journal. Fast read, good story.
Goldenfire A.F.E Smith 10/22/17 10/26/17 Sequel to Darkhaven, and better than the first.
Darkhaven A.F.E Smith 10/18/17 10/22/17 Maybe this is YA? It’s simpler in the way some YA is, but it has some themes I wouldn’t expect YA to have, so I don’t know. Anyway, light read, enjoyable. I solved the mystery right away, but was surprised by the ending. In a good way.
The Best Of All Possible Worlds Karen Lord 10/15/17 10/18/17 This book felt like old-fashioned science fiction to me. Not pulp, not campy – way quieter than that, more introspective. Now that I think about it, it reminds me of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, which I LOVED. And I did really like this book. Okay, here’s why I think it feels old-fashioned to me, good or bad. Spoilers ahead, I suppose. He’s supposed to be adapting to a new world, a new life, and while he may bend on a couple of small things, she practically reinvents herself for him and does the majority of the adapting.
Tell The Wolves I’m Home Carol Rifka Brunt 10/10/17 10/15/17 I think I’d call this literary fiction, even though I think that phrase is snobbish. It was very good, and the family dynamics felt real. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t need to read it again.
A Door in the Hedge Robin McKinley 10/9/17 10/10/17 Robin McKinley saved me from a string of bad or uninteresting books. I knew she would. Four short stories, all fairy tales retold beautifully.
A Handful of Stars Dana Stabenow 10/8/17 10/9/17 It took me a few hours, but I gave up on this one. This is the sequel to Second Star, a book I liked, so this should be a no-brainer, right? And yet…no. It didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s because it’s been so long since I read the first one (I read it nearly two years ago), but I feel like I’m being asked too much as a reader. It’s either that, or there really are gaps here. So we’re in space, which of course is fine, since the first book was about the population of a space station declaring their independence, and this book starts with a mission to an asteroid belt to start a mining operation, and oh wait – our main character went on this expedition eight months pregnant? With twins? And just as she’s about to give birth (early), her mother shows up out of nowhere, no warning, with main character’s 10-year-old child that her mother created from a donor egg and didn’t tell her about, and she just goes with it? No fights? No discussions? And the 10-year-old is cool with meeting his mother like that? And her husband is totally cool with it all because he’s perfect, naturally. And she goes running around a lawless mining asteroid with her infant twins strapped to her a month after the birth. Of course. And I have to assume she (main character) isn’t upset about any of this because the story is told from her point of view and I’m in her head and she’s not thinking about it aside from some initial confusion…well, this is ridiculous. And that’s all early in the book.
The Palace Job Patrick Weekes 10/8/17 10/8/17 I gave up on this one fast. It’s a heist novel, and I like those, but no. The writing sucks.
John Dies At The End David Wong 10/8/17 10/8/17 I gave up on this one pretty quickly. This is a book I should like. Normal (okay, “normal”) guys fighting monsters, saving people, lots of action, lots of humor…but no. It felt like it was trying too hard, the humor felt slapsticky, and I didn’t want to put forth the effort to stay interested. They made it into a movie, and I can see how it would be a fun movie, so maybe I’ll watch it first (keep your shock to yourself) and then decide if I want to go back and read it.
Mariana Susanna Kearsley 10/7/17 10/8/17 Started it, loved it, and then I felt a little bogged down. Of course, I read it in a day, so I wasn’t actually bogged down, but I liked the present better than the past, and they TOTALLY cheated the ending. I’ll give her other books a shot (kind of a cross between Rosamunde Pilcher and Anya Seton), but if she cheats again, I’m done.
Taste of Marrow Sarah Gailey 10/6/17 10/7/17 Novella, sequel to River of Teeth. The hippo cowboys have returned! This picks up RIGHT AFTER the first one. Best to read them back to back. I want more hippo cowboys.
The Last Good Man Linda Nagata 10/4/17 10/6/17 Good, realistic, and scary in the this-is-conceivable-and-it-would-be-bad sense, set in the near future with private security firms and automated drones and weapons.
Soon I Will Be Invincible Austin Grossman 10/4/17 10/4/17 Read it in an afternoon. Fun, but I feel like Dr. Horrible did it better.
The Stone Sky N.K. Jemisin 10/1/17 10/4/17 Third in The Broken Earth trilogy. Like many third books lately, it’s my least favorite of the three. That’s not to say it isn’t good, and I appreciate the explanations, but I feel like it was either too much explanation or not enough. Leave us a little more mystery or tell us EVERYTHING.
The Obelisk Gate N.K. Jemisin 9/27/17 10/1/17 Second in The Broken Earth trilogy. Solid middle book, but I didn’t love it as much as I did the first one. That does not diminish my love for the first one or the trilogy.
The Fifth Season N.K. Jemisin 9/22/17 9/27/17 First in The Broken Earth trilogy. SO GOOD.  I thought I loved her Inheritance trilogy, but I was wrong.  That was not love.  This is love.
This Is Where You Belong: Finding Your Home Wherever You Are Melody Warnick 9/20/17 9/22/17 Not impressed. The idea is sound, but I was really irritated by the tone and execution.  More thoughts here.
All The Birds In The Sky Charlie Jane Anders 9/15/17 9/20/17 I would like more of this, please. Interestingly, the writing in the beginning is more childish when the main characters are younger, and then the tone and style change as they get older.
The Rebirths of Tao Wesley Chu 9/10/17 9/15/17 The third book of aliens and spy thriller-type stuff, which I had to JUMP into after the last one ended.
The Deaths of Tao Wesley Chu 9/4/17 9/10/17 More aliens and spy thriller-type stuff!
Kindred Octavia Butler 8/28/17 9/3/17 I don’t know what I expected out of this book, but it wasn’t what I got, and I don’t mean that in a negative or positive way. It’s powerful and disturbing and real and emotional and very, very good.
Nod Adrian Barnes 8/27/17 8/28/17 The premise is fascinating (one night, no one sleeps, and they keep not sleeping – what’s going to happen?), but the narrator is pompous and it’s hard to enjoy the action when I have to wade through a lot of pseudo-intellectual bullshit. And with that sentence, I just convinced myself to stop reading it. Life’s too short for unnecessary pseudo-intellectual bullshit.
The Awesome Eva Darrows 8/25/17 8/26/17 This was recommended to me as monster hunters a la Supernatural with a teenage heroine, and I figured I’d read it (because of COURSE I would like it) and see if maybe it’s something Gaby would like. I DID like it, but, and maybe I’m being the prudish aunt here, I think I’ll hold off on recommending it to Gaby until she’s 15 or so. Not-quite-12 is maybe too young for this one.
The Lives of Tao Wesley Chu 8/19/17 8/25/17 Alien-guided secret agents! Yes!
The Group Mary McCarthy 8/19/17 8/19/17 I gave up on this 20% in. I can’t over-emphasize how much I didn’t care about the characters. The story should have been interesting, but the approach turned me off, so I stopped reading. It’s a book club book, so I’m feeling some guilt, but I’m doing my best to get over that.
The Waking Land Callie Bates 8/16/17 8/19/17 Young adult in character (she’s 19, and I’m a little annoyed by her), but not in style. The writing is fine, and I liked the story, but the main character jumps to conclusions and goes haring off to solve problem without discussing them with anyone and is often not right…which may be perfectly in character for a 19-year-old who has been what she’s been through, so maybe that’s not really a problem. I mostly liked it, I didn’t love it.
Etched in Bone Anne Bishop 8/14/17 8/16/17 Fifth novel of the Others. I love the Others. I was afraid this was the last one, but I don’t think it will be. I’m not ready for the series to be done.
Babylon’s Ashes James S.A. Corey 8/8/17 8/13/17 Sixth Expanse novel. Much more of a sequel to the previous novel than the others have been. This is not a bad thing; it’s just different. I also think I see the threads of the next book a lot more clearly at the end of this one than I have with most of the others.
The Unwanteds Lisa McMann 8/8/17 8/8/17 This is one of Gaby’s favorite books, so I figured I’d give it a try. The beginning is a bit (a lot) horrifying in a Hunger Games kind of way (which totally grabbed my attention), and then it heads in a wish fulfillment/Narnia kind of direction. I liked it, but it’s definitely written for tweens. Switch it to adult writing and I’d be all over it.
Chaos Choreography Seanan McGuire 8/3/17 8/8/17 Fifth InCryptid novel, back to the original protagonist who is kicking ass and trying to win a reality TV dance competition. I mean, really – what’s not to love? Except the cover – the cover is AWFUL.
Pocket Apocalypse Seanan McGuire 7/28/17 8/3/17 Fourth InCryptid novel, same kickass zoologist protagonist, this time with werewolves. Can’t complain.
Half-Off Ragnarok Seanan McGuire 7/27/17 7/28/17 Third InCryptid novel, this time with a kickass zoologist protagonist looking for monsters! Always fun.
The Book of Etta Meg Elison 7/21/17 7/26/17 Sequel to the Unnamed Midwife, nice follow-up, but it has the same two issues described in the first book.
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife Meg Elison 7/16/17 7/21/17 Gripping. My only issue was how, with very VERY few exceptions, every straight male character was painted with the same brush. Also, we occasionally left the framing idea to provide omniscient narrator info, and it was a little jarring when that happened.
Nemesis Games James S.A. Corey 7/6/17 7/16/17 Book 5 of The Expanse series. OH MY GOD this one had me on the edge of my seat.
The Skull Throne Peter V. Brett 6/27/17 7/6/17 Fourth book in The Demon Cycle. Still good, but in this one it felt like one plotline leapt forward and the other barely went anywhere.
Different Class Joanne Harris 6/26/17 6/27/17 I gave up on this one pretty quickly. It’s a sequel to Gentlemen and Players, but it felt too much like exactly the same book, and I was not feeling it.
Slipping: Stories, Essays & Other Writing Lauren Beukes 6/23/17 6/26/17 Short stories, mostly science fiction, some with elements of horror. I liked most of them, but they weren’t immersive – it’s like I was emotionally removed from them. I’m still interested in trying her novels, though.
Beauchamp Besieged Elaine Knighton 6/20/17 6/23/17 I’m a sucker for the Welsh, so I was already leaning towards liking this one, but headstrong heroines and conflicted heroes are always a good thing. I especially appreciated that the main characters got over their misunderstandings and became allies before the very end. I like when my main characters work together.
The Gate to Women’s Country Sheri S. Tepper 6/18/17 6/20/17 LOVE! (Still! For the 4th or whatever time!) Post-apocalyptic matriarchal society, framed by a play about the women in the aftermath of the Trojan War.
Interface Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George 6/11/17 6/18/17 I like Neal Stephenson. I’ve read a lot of his stuff, and I’ve liked it all. This one, maybe because of the co-author, was uneven. The premise was interesting and the execution was, ultimately, interesting, but there were so many extra pages of unnecessary explanation of technical things. We spent too much time with a neurosurgeon who ultimately had little to do with the plot, and we REALLY didn’t need a full page devoted to describing a Fedex package. If we had to dive into backstory (which we did with nearly every main or main-ish character), why not devote the doctor’s pages to the programmer who was more important plot-wise? Anyway, my point is that all of the extra stuff felt like diversions, not like critical information, and it slowed down the entire book.
The Book of Jhereg Steven Brust 6/4/17 6/10/17 Assassins, magic, dragon-like animals, and a floating castle. Good stuff.
Requiem for the Conqueror W. Michael Gear 5/28/17 6/4/17 Good start to a space opera trilogy. Published in 1991, and nearly every female character relies heavily on her seduction skills before kicking the nearest man’s ass. Overlook that, and it’s a good story.
River of Teeth Sarah Gailey 5/27/17 5/28/17 LOVED this book. The US introduced hippos to the Mississippi (an actual plan that, obviously, never happened), so now we have hippo cowboys. It was great. I pre-ordered the sequel within minutes of finishing the first one.
Waking the Moon Elizabeth Hand 5/23/17 5/27/17 I couldn’t get into this one. I gave up on it after I spent four days finding reasons not to read.
Our Souls at Night Kent Haruf 5/22/17 5/23/17 Short, but surprising and sad, beautiful and depressing.
Negroland Margo Jefferson 5/19/17 5/22/17 Margo Jefferson wrote this memoir about growing up in an affluent black family in Chicago in the 50s and 60s. The parts about her childhood were fascinating, but I spent the rest of the book wishing she’d say more.
The Atrocity Archives Charles Stross 5/12/17 5/19/17 Another secret supernatural British government agency, but this time it uses complex math and science for the magic needed to protect the world from Cthulu and the Elder Gods and other such Lovecraftian monsters. I skimmed over the unnecessarily descriptive science/magic (I mean, if it’s not based on reality, why go to that much detail?), but the rest was good. This book was a collection of two novellas. I think the next one in the series is, too. Not sure about anything after that.
Mockingbird Walter Tevis 5/8/17 5/11/17 It was a little slow to start, but it described the US in the far future – sort of a cross between Idiocracy and Wall-E. On point for now, and it was written in 1980.
Shockaholic Carrie Fisher 5/7/17 5/8/17 Some new stories, but there’s a lot of repetition from Wishful Drinking. One Carrie Fisher memoir might be enough. Although I’m still going to read The Princess Diarist because Star Wars.
Stiletto Daniel O’Malley 5/2/17 5/7/17 Sequel to The Rook. More supernatural hijinks and intrigue inside the British government. Different main characters.
The Rook Daniel O’Malley 4/27/17 5/1/17 Supernatural MI-5 with a main character who’s learning about it as we do. Funny and odd, with a good mystery. Loved it.
God Save the Queen Kate Locke 4/25/17 4/27/17 Vampires and werewolves and goblins in a steampunkish modern London setting. Fun with a lot of ass-kicking.
Dark Matter Blake Crouch 4/23/17 4/24/17 Not good. The story was okay, but the characters were ridiculous. Our main character and his family were too perfect, annoyingly (and pretentiously) so, but I’m pretty sure I was supposed to relate to them.
Medusa’s Web Tim Powers 4/23/17 4/23/17 Terrible writing. I gave up on this after 24 pages. Go here for details.
Cibola Burn James S.A. Corey 4/16/17 4/23/17 Book four in the Expanse series. Still good space opera. I was convinced they were going to do irreparable damage to one of our heroes. George R.R. Martin has taught me that no one is safe.
The Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert 4/8/17 4/15/17 Meh. The writing was fine, and I liked the main character, but where’s the plot? And really, with the end?
The God Wave Patrick Hemstreet 4/7/17 4/8/17 A pretty good setup novel for a trilogy. It was a little slow, but good on the details (and the “science”). Like, you can see how the characters (and the plot) got to where they’re going. I would expect book 2, if it gets written, to have more action.
Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone G.S. Denning 4/5/17 4/7/17 Sherlock Holmes is magic and kind of stupid. Watson is the clever one, totally normal, and funny. I mean, Watson is funny and so is the book.
Island in the Sea of Time S.M. Stirling 3/26/17 4/5/17 I’ve had this one for a while, picked up on a recommendation by I-don’t-know-who, but I never read it because it combines time travel (which I really like) with subsistence living in the Bronze Age (which I’m not that interested in). Then a Twitter friend recommended it, so I tried and wouldn’t you know? It’s good. Good characters, believable really bad bad guys. I will be reading more.
Today Will Be Different Maria Semple 3/26/17 3/26/17 What a disappointment. I really enjoyed Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, enough that I recommend it to people, and I was looking forward to this one. I read it in a few hours, but after discovering that I couldn’t find much (if any) sympathy for the main character, I read it quickly to get it over with.
The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen 3/19/17 3/26/17 Written as a confession in jail, the writing is beautiful, but the plot is nonexistent. I’m cool with going along for the ride, but I prefer knowing there’s a destination. Not my favorite book.
A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki 3/10/17 3/19/17 A novelist in remote coastal Canada tries to make sense of a Japanese teenager’s diary she found washed up on the shore, post-tsunami. Fascinating to start, and I really enjoyed it, but at many points she hinted (or more than hinted) at a personal problem that didn’t get resolved. Bringing it up had to have been on purpose – that lack of resolution on that one point is the only thing that bothered me.
Perishables Michael G. Williams 3/7/17 3/10/17 Vampire living in southern suburbia, passing for human, part of the neighborhood association. Then zombies attack. I liked it a lot, and I’m glad it’s a series, but it didn’t flow like a novel. It had three parts, but they felt uneven, maybe too episodic or not episodic enough. Like the author didn’t settle on how to do it until late.
Misery Happens Tracey Martin 3/4/17 3/7/17 The last Miss Misery book – magic and demons and character growth and the end of the world!!!
Spooky Little Girl Laurie Notaro 3/2/17 3/4/17 Fiction by that author I know! I really liked the premise of this book. Plotwise, I was pretty happy. Writing-wise, character-wise, not as much.
We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive Laurie Notaro 2/28/17 3/1/17 I still know the author! Another collection of essays, not as funny as the other book. Each essay was longer, I think. I will admit to skimming some of them. I will also admit to feeling guilty since I know her and like her.
The Shadow Cabinet Maureen Johnson 2/21/17 2/27/17 Conclusion to the ghost story trilogy. Good. Satisfying. A little young.
The Madness Underneath Maureen Johnson 2/17/17 2/20/17 Sequel to the Jack the Ripper ghost story! Teen protagonist in London! The first book stood on its own. This one does not, but luckily, the third is out there.
The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life Laurie Notaro 2/14/17 2/17/17 I know the author! This is her first book, a collection of essays, and it’s pretty funny. The writing is a little…something. Maybe I’m reacting to the essays all being from her newspaper column…maybe?
Gemina Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 2/11/17 2/13/17 Sequel to Illuminae, similar plotting and characters, and maybe not quite as wonderful as the first, but I liked it a lot. The only thing I don’t like about the Kindle version is that since the story is told in memos and transcripts and chat logs, it’s all images, not text, and I can’t zoom in. It’s sometimes physically difficult to read.
League of Dragons Naomi Novik 2/5/17 2/11/17 Last Temeraire novel (sob). I already miss this series.
Green Rider Kristen Britain 1/28/17 2/5/17 Starts strong! Finishes strong, too, and I’m glad there’s a whole series. This one reads like a first book – the writing isn’t wonderful, but it gets better (and the story and characters are good), and I feel confident it will continue to improve in the next book. Because I will be reading it.
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Fully Loaded Life Hannah Hart 1/21/17 1/28/17 I like Hannah Hart. I mean, I don’t know her personally, but I like her videos (she’s funny) and what she stands for. She is not a great writer, though, and her editor didn’t do a good job.
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day Seanan McGuire 1/19/17 1/21/17 A ghost story! A good one! But not about hauntings. Well, yes about hauntings, but not that like that.
Court of Fives Kate Elliott 1/16/17 1/19/17 Young adult fantasy by an author I’ve been swept away by before. Good, if a little more simplified than I expected from her. Still, I’m confident it’ll open up in later books.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Gabrielle Zevin 1/15/17 1/16/17 Book club book. I read it in…four hours? Maybe five. It’s a light read, sweet book, and I got a little teary at the end. Not strong on plot, but it’s about a guy who owns a bookshop and the people he knows. It doesn’t need a strong plot.
Blood of Tyrants Naomi Novik 1/6/17 1/8/17 Temeraire, Book 8. Could this be the first one to end on a cliffhanger? Or at least mid-action? Maybe Book 4 did that. Regardless, yay good and I’m NOT happy there’s only one left.
Abaddon’s Gate James S. A. Corey 1/4/17 1/16/17 I put this down twice to read other books with deadlines (one library book, one book club book), NOT because I wasn’t enjoying this one. This is the 3rd in the Expanse series, and I like how the plot and the characters continue through the series, but we also get totally new situations and new characters in each book. No repetition!
Wishful Drinking Carrie Fisher 1/3/17 1/4/17 We watched the HBO special first, which was pretty good. The book was written after the show and has all the same material in it, plus a few more. I think it’s better as a show, although I might think differently if I’d read it first. I don’t think so, though.
Roses and Rot Kat Howard 1/1/17 1/3/17 An artists’ colony with a weird feeling about it turns out to be…? I’m not telling, but I really liked it.
Glamour in Glass Mary Robinette Kowal 12/30/16 1/1/17 I like that the heroine of these Glamourist books has real insecurities. I also like that when they mentioned Napoleon, I expected Temeraire to show up. Wrong series, but how cool would that kind of crossover be?
Crucible of Gold Naomi Novik 12/28/16 12/30/16 Temeraire, book 7. It’s hard to choose a favorite book in a long series like this (especially when I’ve only read each one once so far), but this one is near the top, I think.
Tongues of Serpents Naomi Novik 12/25/16 12/28/16 Temeraire, book 6. I love Captain Laurence’s moral quandaries.
Caliban’s War James S. A. Corey 12/19/16 12/25/16 Book 2 in The Expanse series (space ships and mutating thingies). More goodness!
Leviathan Wakes James S. A. Corey 12/16/16 12/19/16 Straight up science fiction with space ships and murder and a mystery and scary corporations. Really good. And it spawned a TV show (The Expanse)!
The Enchanted Rene Denfeld 12/14/16 12/15/16 Beautiful, eerie, and sad. Happy, but not buoyant.
Victory of Eagles Naomi Novik 12/9/16 12/13/16 Temeraire, book 5. It’s hard to talk about a book in the middle of a series without giving things away. Still good, though!
In the Labyrinth of Drakes Marie Brennan 12/2/16 12/8/16 Lady Trent (who is still not Lady Trent) continues to study dragons and have adventures! I love her.
My Real Children Jo Walton 11/28/16 12/2/16 Super good, super real, despite a vaguely sci-fi premise and slightly alternate history points (which make for very interesting what-ifs). It’s sweet, and it’s sad, and it’s very very good.
The Apartment S. L. Grey 11/27/16 11/28/16 Sometimes I finish a book quickly because I want it to be over, like this one. It’s supposed to be scary, but I don’t understand the point of the spooky thing, and I didn’t like the characters, and I don’t see why the travel was necessary, and the ending was bad.
Empire of Ivory Naomi Novik 11/25/16 11/27/16 Temeraire, book 4. This is the third book in the series that doesn’t seem to get to the point (as judged by the title) until halfway through, only after a long journey. That is not a complaint – I will spend time with Temeraire and Captain Laurence no matter what they’re doing.
Shades of Milk and Honey Mary Robinette Kowal 11/24/16 11/25/16 A Jane Austen novel with a little bit of magic – just my cup of tea.
Black Powder War Naomi Novik 11/20/16 11/24/16 Temeraire, book 3. Delightful, part 3.
Patternmaster Octavia Butler 11/18/16 11/20/16 The fourth (last) in the Patternist series. This book connects the 2nd and the 3rd one, but in an unsatisfying way. It was written first, which probably explains my issues. The 3rd book was written last, most likely to give us background to fill in what’s happening in this book. Helpful, but this last book doesn’t provide the conclusions I’m looking for.
Clay’s Ark Octavia Butler 11/16/16 11/18/16 The third in the Patternist series. This one takes a totally different turn and has almost no connection to the first two except in a couple of vague passing references. Still interesting, still good, just different, which is weird when you’re reading a series.
Mind of My Mind Octavia Butler 11/16/16 11/16/16 The second in the Patternist series (this one only covers about 20 years, not 300), the breeding program has results.
Wild Seed Octavia Butler 11/14/16 11/16/16 The first in a series (the Patternist series) about people with strange talents and a god-like being who tries to breed people for those talents. Themes about acceptance and bigotry and people’s ability to change over time. Good stuff.
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper Phaedra Patrick 11/10/16 11/13/16 Sweet, British, similar to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (older British gentleman searching for meaning). Nice story.
Pines, Wayward, and The Last Town Blake Crouch 11/8/16 11/10/16 I read the whole Wayward Pines trilogy over the course of three days. I had a vague idea of what it was about going into it, and I was wrong. Very wrong. I was pleasantly surprised at being wrong. The series isn’t great, but it’s plenty entertaining (the third book is the weakest), and now I’d like to at least try to the TV show.
Second Life S.J. Watson 11/5/16 11/7/16 I really liked Before I Go To Sleep (this author’s first novel), so I was happy to see this one, but it wasn’t nearly as good. I finished it, but it wasn’t as gripping.
How to Build a Girl Caitlin Moran 11/1/16 11/5/16 Kind of like Almost Famous but with a girl in the UK instead. A lot like that, actually.
Throne of Jade Naomi Novik 10/27/16 11/1/16 I wasted no time starting the second Temeraire book. Delightful.
His Majesty’s Dragon Naomi Novik 10/25/16 10/27/16 This is the greatest literary find in my adult life. It’s the first in a series of nine (NINE!) books about dragons set in the early 1800s. It’s like a cross between the Pern books and the Patrick O’Brian books and I cannot overemphasize how happy I am to have found this. I may have giggled with delight on the plane.
Illuminae Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 10/22/16 10/25/16 SO GOOD. It’s told through documentation found by a researcher trying to piece together what actually happened out in space after a planet was attacked, so the format is all letters, emails, chats, transcripts of videos, interviews, etc. It was funny and it totally captured my imagination. I didn’t want to put it down, and when I had to, I was thinking about it. And there’s a sequel!
Serpentine Cindy Pon 10/22/16 10/22/16 A fairytale with shape-shifting and magic and love, set in China, using Chinese mythology. Really really good.
Abomination Gary Whitta 10/22/16 10/22/16 I gave up on this book within half an hour of starting it. I read a lot of alternate histories with magic or beasts or whatever coexisting with actual historic figures, but this one lost me. I wish I could say why, but I just couldn’t get past the very beginning.
Darkest Misery Tracey Martin 10/19/16 10/22/16 The next Miss Misery book, ratcheting up the action, and this time with international travel!
Beating Ruby Camilla Monk 10/16/16 10/17/16 The sequel to Spotless. More fun international intrigue! Also a love triangle where the third person OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T BELONG. It’s a little irritating when the main character can’t figure that out. Just a little.
The Girl With All The Gifts M.R. Carey 10/15/16 10/16/16 Not at all what I expected, but good. The post-apocalyse setting was a surprise, as was the reason for the apocalypse, but I did like it, and it had a good (if weird) ending.
Word Puppets Mary Robinette Kowal 10/8/16 10/15/16 Short stories: lovely, wonderful, occasionally teary.
The Lake House Kate Morton 10/7/16 10/8/16 I gave up on this one. All of her books follow the same pattern, and I couldn’t make myself care about this one.
The Scorch Trials James Dashner 10/4/16 10/7/16 Eh. A disappointing sequel to The Maze Runner. I’ve decided not to read the third book unless it falls in my lap and I’m bored.
The Silvered Tanya Huff 10/1/16 10/3/16 I LOVED this book. Werewolves (kind of) and mages and the magic is different and the characters are well-written and I want MORE and this ISN’T A SERIES to my eternal disappointment.
Darkest Day Colleen Vanderlinden 9/29/16 9/30/16 The 3rd StrikeForce book (superheroes in Detroit). Still fun, still light.
Honor’s Flight Lindsay Buroker 9/25/16 9/29/16 The sequel to Star Nomad, the Firefly-esque series. The books are short, and the adventures are episodic, making it even more like a show, and I think I really like that.
The Dreaming Void Peter F. Hamilton 9/24/16 9/25/16 Erik highly recommends this book (first in a trilogy), but I couldn’t get into it, so I put it down. I was too far in to feel as out of the loop about the plot as I did. On the plus side, I still think about it months later, so odds are not terrible that I’ll pick it up again at some point.
Midnight Blue-Light Special Seanan McGuire 9/18/16 9/24/16 Our fun girl friend continues to protect New York and the monsters who aren’t threatening it from actual threats.
Girls on Fire Robin Wasserman 9/13/16 9/18/16 Not fun. I guess it’s supposed to be realistic, but it’s dark, it’s about toxic friendships, and I just wanted to slap EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER in the book. I was happy to be done with it.
An Unattractive Vampire Jim McDoniel 9/8/16 9/12/16 I really liked this book. No, REALLY. It was funny, it was footnoted, it had funny footnotes. Yes, it’s about a vampire, but he’s old-fashioned.
One More Day Colleen Vanderlinden 9/7/16 9/8/16 Second book in the StrikeForce series. More superheroes in Detroit!
A New Day Colleen Vanderlinden 9/5/16 9/7/16 Superheroes! Burglar turns reluctant superhero in Detroit. Silly, light, fun.
Discount Armageddon Seanan McGuire 9/4/16 9/5/16 Fun fantasy novel. Girl helps New York keep its monster population under control.
The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins 9/2/16 9/4/16 Not as good as I’d hoped it would be. I guessed the end about a quarter in and spent the rest of the book telling one character she was stupid. I still plan to see the movie, though.
The Quartered Sea Tanya Huff 8/31/16 9/2/16 Last book in the Quarters series. Different (the characters traveled farther away), but good.
No Quarter Tanya Huff 8/26/16 8/31/16 The ending of this book was a little…hand-wavy…but otherwise totally enjoyable, like the others in the series.
The String Diaries Stephen Lloyd Jones 8/24/16 8/25/16 It starts like a spy thriller. What’s happening? Who’s hurt? Who/what are they running from? It’s well-written and fast-paced and good.
The Maze Runner James Dashner 8/21/16 8/24/16 Eh. Interesting enough, but it’s a little shallow.
The Library at Mount Char Scott Hawkins 8/19/16 8/21/16 What a weird book. Fascinating and enjoyable, but WEIRD. To be clear, it’s the plot, the story, that’s weird, not the structure. In case you need to know that.
The Secret Place Tana French 8/10/16 8/18/16 Dublin Murder Squad books are the best. I have never been disappointed by a Tana French novel.
The Daylight War Peter V. Brett 7/31/16 8/10/16 Book 3 in the Demon Cycle (the series that started with The Warded Man). All good, and a GREAT ending. One more!
Voyage of the Basilisk Marie Brennan 7/25/16 7/30/16 More adventures of Lady Trent (still before she was Lady Trent). Love.
The Tropic of Serpents Marie Brennan 7/24/16 7/25/16 The sequel to A Natural History of Dragons, which I LOVED. Lady Trent (before she was Lady Trent) goes off a new adventure to study more dragons, still dealing Victorian-ish societal strictures. Such fun!
The Book of Life Deborah Harkness 7/17/16 7/23/16 It’s been a year and a half since I read the first two books in this trilogy, but I didn’t have to look anything up to catch up. That’s a good thing, but oh the DRAMA. The supporting characters are all great, but the main two – too much overprotectiveness, too many secrets from each other, TOO MUCH DRAMA. I’m about halfway – I want to see how it ends, but I’m not sure I’ll be all that sorry to see them go. Update: I’m glad I finished it, not so sad it’s over. There was too much happening at once, and it was all resolved too quickly, too neatly.
An Ancient Peace Tanya Huff 7/12/16 7/17/16 My space marine is back! This is the first book of a new spin-off series starring Torin Kerr, who I love. I am huge amounts of glad that there will be more books about her. (Also, this one was good. Nice growth for characters we already know.)
Star Nomad Lindsay Buroker 7/6/16 7/11/16 Firefly-esque, which is a good thing. The war is over, our captain got her ship back, let’s go have adventures around the galaxy! I’m in.
The Dragon Business Kevin J. Anderson 7/6/16 7/6/16 I gave up on this one. It’s too consciously funny. There were meta jokes in there that I found amusing, but it’s hard to get into a story when you know the author is trying really hard to be funny. I like comic fantasy, but not this one.
Landline Rainbow Rowell 7/4/16 7/6/16 Rainbow Rowell can do no wrong. This was another really good book. This one, despite the mystery about the phone, was almost too real. The fights, the relationships – too real. I could have those fights, those conversations. And the ending…isn’t an ending, and is also very real. There’s a theme here.
Misery Loves Company Tracey Martin 7/4/16 7/4/16 Since it had been over 3 months since I read the previous book, it took me a little bit of time to settle back in to this world, but I think these books are getting better the more she writes. (It didn’t take me much time, either – I read this in one day.)
Marked in Flesh Anne Bishop 7/1/16 7/4/16 The Others Book 4. Better and better. There’s only one more book after this. Sad.
The Desert Spear Peter V. Brett 6/27/16 7/1/16 Finally got to the sequel of The Warded Man (a book I really liked, months ago). It started by delving into the past of a character I didn’t like from the first book, so I was hesitant at first, but soon enough (because the author knows what he’s doing), I was drawn in. It helps that he brought us back to the characters from the first book, too. Looking forward to the third.
The Last Hot Time John M. Ford 6/26/16 6/26/16 Another fairies-live-among-us story, somewhat post-apocalyptic. Noir-ish. Pretty good, but not great.
No Time Like The Past Jodi Taylor 6/25/16 6/26/16 The 5th full-length story about time-traveling historians. More yay! I don’t know how many books there are, but I’m starting to worry I’ll run out.
Christmas Present Jodi Taylor 6/25/16 6/25/16 Short story about the time-traveling historians from St. Mary’s. Yay!
The Martian Andy Weir 6/22/16 6/25/16 I was surprised to find this as light as it was. Sure, it had lots of science, but it read more like a thriller than hard science fiction. That’s not a complaint, it was just surprising (although considering how popular it is, maybe it shouldn’t have been). It was interesting to read it so soon after Saturn Run, too. Completely different, but very similar.
More Than This Patrick Ness 6/20/16 6/21/16 YA, dsytopian novel, coming of age, and it reminded me heavily of something I don’t want to name because spoilers. That was the only part that I wasn’t crazy about. I liked the idea, but it took some of the originality away.
Saturn Run John Sandford and Ctein 6/17/16 6/20/16 Recommended by Erik (thanks, Erik!) – very good book about first contact. Heavy on the science, in a really interesting way.
Blood Debt Tanya Huff 6/12/16 6/16/16 Fifth book in the Blood series (Toronto supernatural mysteries). Ghosts! Good, but also a good ending to the series.
Blood Pact Tanya Huff 6/12/16 6/12/16 Fourth book in the Blood series (Toronto supernatural mysteries). I read it in an afternoon and called my mom when I was done. I’ve never read a zombie book that’s made me tell my mother I love her before.
Blood Lines Tanya Huff 6/10/16 6/12/16 It’s nice to come back to something known (and liked) after a disappointing book. Book 3 in Tanya Huff’s Toronto mystery series brought mummies into the picture (after a demon in the first book, werewolves in the second, and let’s not forget the vampire romance writer who helps with the mysteries). Yay for supernatural mysteries and funny one-liners.
Welcome to Night Vale Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor 6/5/16 6/9/16 I love the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, but I don’t think it translates very well to the page. I was a bit disappointed by this, mostly because of the voice. If I tried to make it sound like the podcast while I was reading it, it was better, but the voice just didn’t work for me in writing.
The Truth of Valor Tanya Huff 6/2/16 6/5/16 Fifth book in the Confederation series. Even space marines have to move on. Luckily for me, I know there’s a new book for this character.
Valor’s Trial Tanya Huff 5/31/16 6/2/16 Fourth book in the Confederaton series (my space marine series). Nail-biting.
The Heart of Valor Tanya Huff 5/29/16 5/31/16 Space marines! It was such a relief to come back to a world I like, with good writing and good characters.
Dawn of the Dragons James A. Owen 5/26/16 5/29/16 I was so disappointed by this book. It starts off so well – let’s go on a quest to save all the fictional lands because they really do exist and you can travel there! – but the plot is a little thin, it’s predictable and obvious (and the characters who don’t figure out what’s about to happen look stupid), and character development is nonexistent. The characters are flat, and at least two of them are interchangeable.
The Oversight Charlie Fletcher 5/24/16 5/26/16 I tried, couldn’t get into it, and put it down. Some combination of the writing and feeling like I’m being left in the dark unnecessarily put me off.
Vision in Silver Anne Bishop 5/22/16 5/24/16 Third book in The Others series. Still love it.
The Traveler’s Gate Trilogy Will Wight 5/14/16 5/22/16 Interesting fantasy trilogy where the magic is all tied up in travelling through portals to other worlds. It’s got cool world-building, power grabs, warriors, duels, spies, godlike beings, and the end of the world. I liked it a lot.
The Nothing Girl Jodi Taylor 5/10/16 5/14/16 Standalone novel by the author who writes about the time-traveling historians. It’s not related at all, but it’s light, really good, and I cried (happy tears) at one point.
Stolen Things Stephen Parolini 5/8/16 5/10/16 SO GOOD. It’s sad and funny, mysterious and good. Is the magic in it real?
Spotless Camilla Monk 5/2/16 5/8/16 This is technically a romance, but it’s mostly a kidnapping with international intrigue. Fun, funny, and there’s a sequel!
The Ballad of Black Tom Victor LaValle 5/2/16 5/2/16 Novella set in 1920s New York, with magic and injustice and revenge.
dEaDINBURGH: Origins Mark Wilson 4/30/16 5/2/16 The 3rd zombie book is the prequel, and it was good, but I was impatient to get back to my characters. When is the next book out?
dEaDINBURGH: Alliances Mark Wilson 4/26/16 4/30/16 Zombie book 2 – still good. I think this is the one with the reveal I found HILARIOUS, but it doesn’t take away from the fascinating zombie stuff. Makes it more real, actually.
dEaDINBURGH: Vantage Mark Wilson 4/24/16 4/26/16 Zombie series recommended by Michelle (thanks, Michelle!). It’s interesting and different, and I want to know more.
Fifth Quarter Tanya Huff 4/22/16 4/24/16 I really liked the first book in this series (Sing the Four Quarters), and I liked the characters. Apparently, though, this is one of those series where all the books are set in the same world, but each book takes place in a different country, maybe, and with different characters. There are connections, but it’s not a typical series. It’s not a bad thing in this case, since this book was maybe more compelling than the first, but I had to get over some initial disappointment about missing the first book’s characters.
A Head Full of Ghosts Paul Tremblay 4/17/16 4/22/16 Horror story, possessed girl, exorcism, dead family, and reality TV. It was good, I was afraid to read it at night, and you know? I’d rather not think about it anymore.
The Gospel of Loki Joanne Harris 4/17/16 4/17/16 Started and gave up on this one. I love Joanne Harris, but this book didn’t have a plot (or didn’t by the time I gave up on it), and I didn’t like the voice.
A Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray 4/13/16 4/16/16 YA, boarding school, girl has lost her mother and is heir to great magic, etc. Sounds perfect for me, but it didn’t measure up to what I’ve been reading. It wasn’t bad, not by any means, but I’m not in a hurry to pick up the next one.
Enchantress from the Stars Sylvia Engdahl 4/8/16 4/13/16 This book was a complete surprise to me. Christina picked it up in a Little Free Library, and I started it knowing nothing about the author or the book except the title and cover. It was really really good. The story is a mix of fantasy adventure and science fiction, with a world and its population at stake, but it’s all done with only six characters.
Trigger warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances Neil Gaiman 3/30/16 4/7/16 Nail Gaiman short stories, with a long intro AND individual intros for each story. This was the perfect read for our cross-country drive because I could read a complete story each night (the only time I could read).
Brilliant Story Troy Blackford 3/29/16 3/29/16 Short story by an author I follow on Twitter. It takes guts to name your story “Brilliant Story”, even though that isn’t a reference to your own writing. Unfortunately, it didn’t grab me, and I only finished it because it was a short story. My attention span, even for books I’m not interested in, is longer than that. I started another book he wrote and put it down, too. Not for me.
Dirty Little Misery Tracey Martin 3/27/16 3/29/16 Sequel to Wicked Misery, it picks up where the last one left off, and I think it flowed better. Of course, that may be because I didn’t wait to start this one. Still enjoyable, still full of magic (which is my warning to Mom – you won’t be interested).
Trees Vol. 1 Warren Ellis (author), Jason Howard (artist) 3/27/16 3/27/16 Graphic novel by Warren Ellis, not as much about actual trees being aliens as I had hoped. Still interesting, but I haven’t reached for volume two.
Wicked Misery Tracey Martin 3/19/16 3/26/16 I started this (first book in the Miss Misery series) because I was following the author on Twitter, and I like her. The book took me a while to get in to, though. Maybe half of my problem was letting the details of a Boston with a new magic system/creatures sink in, and the other half was the writing style. I settled soon enough, and I enjoyed it (and have read at least two of the sequels), but I don’t love the main character’s voice.
A Trail Through Time Jodi Taylor 3/16/16 3/18/16 Can’t get enough time-traveling historians. It is helpful to read these close together, though. What with the time travel and the continuing plot threads, I don’t recommend long breaks between books.
Murder of Crows Anne Bishop 3/11/16 3/15/16 Second book in The Others series. Just as good, happily.
A Second Chance Jodi Taylor 3/8/16 3/10/16 Even more time-traveling historians (book 3). This might have been the one that made me cry a little. Could have been the next one.
A Symphony of Echoes Jodi Taylor 3/5/16 3/7/16 More time-traveling historians (book 2), still funny and quirky and action-packed. Oh, did I mention they’re British time-traveling historians? Accident-prone historians? Love this series.
Written in Red Anne Bishop 2/28/16 3/5/16 This is first book in The Others series (I am steadily reading them all – I really like them), and it’s maybe the only series with a repetitive intro (history of the world) that I read EVERY time I pick up a book in the series. For one, it’s short, and for another, there’s one line that makes me laugh (every time). The series is set on Earth, even in North America, but it’s both nothing like our own and somewhat similar to our own. It’s a totally different (and very enjoyable) take on vampires and werewolves and humans and others and civilization. The relationships (the central one, anyway) feel a little simplistic, but it’s fun (and explainable).
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Jesse Andrews 2/25/16 2/28/16 Young adult, more funny than sad, but plenty sad. The book was better than the movie (surprise), but mostly because the movie wasn’t as funny.
The Darkest Part of the Forest Holly Black 2/22/16 2/24/16 Young adult, fairies (not the cute kind) live among us, wreak havoc, etc. Teenagers keeping unnecessary secrets from each other – that gets a little tired, but I’m enjoying it. Update when I finished it: good finish, nice dark (but not too dark) fairy story in the “real” world.
Just One Damned Thing After Another Jodi Taylor 2/17/16 2/22/16 This is the first book in a series about time-traveling historians. Funny, quirky, plenty of action.
Everything I Never Told You Celeste Ng 2/17/16 2/17/16 SO good. It’s a story about a family and what happened to them and their perceptions of their lives and their perceptions of each other and how those can be so different.
Powers, Vol 1 Brian Michael Bendis (author), Michael Avon Oeming (artist) 2/15/16 2/16/16 Graphic novel, detective story with superheroes. The pages are structured a little differently (not always linear), so I had a little trouble with it, but it was a good story.
Chew, Vol 1 and Vol 2 John Layman (author), Rob Guillory (artist) 2/15/16 2/15/16 Graphic novels, re-reading the first one because I picked up the second volume recently. The first one is a little jarring (and a little gross), but the second volume picked up nicely. (Apparently, I liked the first one enough to continue, grossness and all.)
Saga, Vol 2 Brian K. Vaughan (author), Fiona Staples (artist) 2/11/16 2/14/16 Graphic novel, continues the story very satisfactorily. I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the art, but I’m so used to focusing on just words. I don’t want to miss out. Good story!
Saga, Vol 1 Brian K. Vaughan (author), Fiona Staples (artist) 2/8/16 2/10/16 Graphic novel, re-reading because I picked up the second volume recently. Still good!
Shakespeare: The World As Stage Bill Bryson 2/4/16 2/7/16 Enlightening and entertaining, as most Bill Bryson books turn out to be.
More Information Than You Require John Hodgman 2/4/16 2/4/16 I put it down almost immediately. I couldn’t get involved, and I have too many other things to read to make it worth forcing myself through something that isn’t fun for me. I’m sorry, John Hodgman! I want to like your book! I’ll try again someday.
The Warded Man Peter V. Brett 1/30/16 2/3/16 THIS book was GREAT. It’s the first in a fantasy series (thank goodness there’s more), and I got totally sucked in. This is the guy who wrote the Night Angel trilogy, which I also liked very much, but I got into this one faster, I think. Couldn’t put it down, and by the time I got to the end, I was not aware of my surroundings (didn’t know John was in the room).
The Men Who Stare at Goats Jon Ronson 1/27/16 1/29/16 Meh. The movie was quirkier. The book didn’t have enough of a throughline (John disagrees).
Written In Fire Marcus Sakey 1/27/16 1/27/16 GOOD ending. That was a thrilling thriller that was thrilling (the whole trilogy). Couldn’t put it down, read the last 40% in about 90 minutes, refusing to look up or talk to anyone until it was done. And then I was all keyed up for an hour after. (Might have been an overreaction, but hey – sometimes I overreact.) I have one minor quibble, but it’s not plot-related, and it really is minor (a character got let off a little easy), so I can let it go.
A Better World Marcus Sakey 1/24/16 1/26/16 Very good middle book of a trilogy. Unexpected outcomes that all make sense in the larger story. Yay!
Brilliance Marcus Sakey 1/22/16 1/24/16 Alternate present with mutants, basically. Good thriller, couldn’t put it down. Immediately started the sequel.
Wren to the Rescue Sherwood Smith 1/18/16 1/21/16 YA story where the best friend (girl) rescues the princess (who’s busily trying to rescue herself). Good stuff. Will recommend to 10-year-old niece. First in a series (all of which are out because this one was written in 1990).
McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales Michael Chabon (editor) 1/10/16 1/18/16 Short stories! I admit to skipping a couple of these after trying the first few pages. And there was a Dark Tower story I found completely incomprehensible. I did enjoy a few…but this is not a ringing endorsement.
Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour David Bianculli 1/2/16 1/10/16 Back to back non-fiction! I wasn’t crazy about this book. Many of the tidbits are interesting, and it definitely made me want to go back and watch all those episodes, but the author kept repeating things, as if he didn’t trust that his readers were picking the book up and reading it cover to cover. Quite a few times, I found myself thinking, “Dude, you told that story in the last chapter. I’m paying attention!”
Truth and Beauty Ann Patchett 1/1/16 1/2/16 I read it because I love Ann Patchett, but it’s non-fiction, it’s serious, and I found it difficult to read (as in not fun for me).
The Rithmatist Brandon Sanderson 12/29/15 1/1/16 Again with the interesting magic systems. It’s steampunkish, with magic that makes me think of people sitting on the ground playing D&D. It’s cooler than it sounds.
Sing The Four Quarters Tanya Huff 12/26/15 12/29/15 I’m sampling all of Tanya Huff’s many series. This one has a neat magic system, and I like how she’s light on the exposition. You work it out as you read along.
Darkness, Take My Hand Dennis Lehane 12/20/15 12/26/15 A dark, twisted murder mystery.
A Thread of Grace Mary Doria Russell 12/8/15 12/20/15 Picked this up because I loved The Sparrow. Was turned off at first because this seemed like a really rosy view of Italy’s treatment of refugee and native Jews during WWII. Seemed unrealistic. I did some googling, enough to convince me that the rosy view is true, and then thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Resist Tracey Martin 12/1/15 12/7/15 Sequel to Resist, nice extension and wrap-up of the story.
Revive Tracey Martin 11/27/15 12/1/15 A quick read, YA-adjacent (most of the characters are college-age), sci-fi thriller set in the near future. Fun!
Emotionally Weird Kate Atkinson 11/22/15 11/27/15 I put this one down without finishing it. It had some funny lines at the beginning and seemed promising, but it had no plot and the narrative device of having the mother and daughter tell each other stories was entirely one-sided (and plotless). The mystery the mother was selling (or not selling) was not compelling. I gave up.
Banner of the Damned Sherwood Smith 11/15/15 11/22/15 Back to the world of Inda, with Inda’s people, centuries after those events. What a welcome relief after not getting into the steampunk stories. Sherwood Smith fantasy, please.
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Sean Wallace (editor) 10/18/15 11/15/15 Some stories were good, some were strange, many I couldn’t get into, and I ultimately put it down without reading them all.
Second Star (Star Svensdotter Book 1) Dana Stabenow 11/1/15 11/7/15 A science fiction novel with a middle-aged kick-ass woman as the protagonist. Good stuff. The love story was a little problematic (too easy, too quick?), but I enjoyed the rest.
The Last Policeman Ben Winters 10/30/15 11/1/15 Would you still solve and stop crimes while waiting for the world to end? I don’t remember if the book lived up to its premise completely, but I liked it. Hopefully, there will be more.
Conservation of Momentum (Newton’s Laws Book 2) Rebecca Schwartz 10/25/15 10/30/15 The sequel to Inertia, just as silly, which I read anyway. (Hey, I was on vacation.)
Inertia (Newton’s Laws Book 1) Rebecca Schwartz 10/24/15 10/25/15 A silly, light read (science and superheroes on a college campus) with some annoying writing quirks that a better editor would have fixed. I finished it anyway.
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things Jenny Lawson 10/24/15 10/24/15 Hilarious (and non-fiction). I read the entire thing on the plane to Portland, laughing out loud and probably disturbing the other passengers.
Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibone Book 1) Michael Moorcock 10/16/15 10/18/15 I gave up on this one. It’s supposed to be classic fantasy, but I couldn’t find my way in. I like coming into stories midway, but I expect things to made clear at some point. I put down a Michael Moorcock short story recently, too, so maybe he’s just not for me.
The Mysteries Lisa Tuttle 10/7/15 10/16/15 Not what I expected, but I liked it. I like stories about how the fairy folk might fit into present day.
Taft Ann Patchett 10/2/15 10/7/15 I don’t know what to make of this one. Was the main character imagining those events featuring a man he’d never met? Dreaming them? Having visions? Or was that just for the reader to know about? Too confused to really like it.
A Long Way Down Nick Hornby 9/27/15 10/1/15 Both depressing and funny (mostly funny), I really enjoyed this one (and it was a welcome change from the very serious Kate Atkinson). The movie was good, too (watched it almost immediately after finishing the book).
Behind the Scenes at the Museum Kate Atkinson 9/20/15 9/27/15 This is the first Kate Atkinson novel I’ve tried since Case Histories (which I ultimately liked a lot, after a very slow start). It was good, but I never really got involved with the characters or the story. I was a little relieved to finish it and move on.
The Forgotten Garden Kate Morton 9/12/15 9/20/15 Similar to all of Kate Morton’s other books, but still not as good as The Secret Keeper. I still don’t know if that’s because The Secret Keeper is actually better or if it’s because that’s the first one of hers I read.
I Capture The Castle Dodie Smith 9/7/15 9/12/15 Six months or so in the life of a British teenager in the 30s (I think), writing to write. Really nicely done.
Dealing With Dragons Patricia C. Wrede 9/7/15 9/7/15 This was recommended to me because I like books by Robin McKinley (or maybe Patricia McKillip). I can see how it’s similar, but the writing style is completely different, and it turned me off. Maybe a little too flippant without being funny enough to get away with it.
Touch Not The Cat Mary Stewart 9/4/15 9/7/15 Another one Mary Stewart’s mystery/romance novels from the 70s. They’re all fairly similar, and I usually like them, but this one fell a bit short.
The Wordy Shipmates Sarah Vowell 8/26/15 9/3/15 Non-fiction (that’s not a memoir)! Shocking! Seriously funny educational book about pilgrims.
The Giver Lois Lowry 8/23/15 8/26/15 We had it on our shelf, and I wondered how I could have missed reading this in school. Easily, since it hadn’t been written when I was the right age. Interesting book. I’d like to see the movie.
Ridiculous D.L. Carter 8/16/15 8/22/15 Described as a Regency romp. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not one I’m in a hurry to recommend. Entertaining, not a waste of time, but there are SO MANY GOOD BOOKS TO READ.
You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) Felicia Day 8/12/15 8/15/15 I love Felicia Day, and she’s done some wonderful things. She’s quirky and strange and cool. Her book is a little too…her.
Let The Right One In John Ajvide Lindqvist 7/29/15 8/12/15 A different kind of vampire novel. Now that I’ve read it, I’m less afraid of seeing the movie.
Children of Magic Martin H. Greenberg and Kerrie Hughes (editors) 7/20/15 7/28/15 A collection of fantasy stories about kids, with the worst cover ever. Some good stories, though.
Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? (And Other Concerns) Mindy Kaling 7/12/15 7/19/15 Mindy Kaling is super-funny, and I had a good time reading her book.
Emperor of Thorns Mark Lawrence 7/5/15 7/15/15 Third book in The Broken Empire trilogy. Good ending. I will forever associate this trilogy with the worst mosquito bites I’ve ever had, sleeping badly (or not at all) because of them, and spending hours at night with my feet in a bathtub full of hot or cold water to numb my feet enough to go back to sleep.
Fairest Gail Carson Levine 7/5/15 7/5/15 A kids’ book, a fairy tale, with a moral and a totally relatable main character. A nice read.
King of Thorns Mark Lawrence 7/2/15 7/5/15 Second book in The Broken Empire series. Still holding my attention.
Prince of Thorns Mark Lawrence 6/28/15 7/2/15 First book in The Broken Empire trilogy. Unlikable main character who becomes more likable (although it takes a while, and he’s still never really likable, just more understandable) over time.
Room Emma Donaghue 6/27/15 6/28/15 Fascinating, but I’m not sure I’d call it good. I spent a lot of the book wondering how I’d cope in that situation and if a 5-year-old would really talk like that in isolation. I’d been curious about the book for years after noticing it in an airport bookstore and finally picked it up that weekend at a library sale.
The Girl in the Road Monica Byrne 6/20/15 6/25/15 I’m really not sure how I feel about this one. The writing, the plotting – both good. Some of the actual things that happen and how I think we’re supposed to feel about the characters – maybe not so good (or not so positive).
13 Little Blue Envelopes Maureen Johnson 6/17/15 6/20/15 Young adult, light read, not substantial, but a needed palate cleanser after the grit of The First Law trilogy.
The Last Argument of Kings Joe Abercrombie 6/7/15 6/16/15 Third book in The First Law trilogy. As tends to happen, this one ties everything up. Cool war scenes, good ending.
Before They Were Hanged Joe Abercrombie 5/30/15 6/7/15 Second in The First Law trilogy. This is the one with the road trip.
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie 5/28/15 5/29/15 Another graphic novel, recommended by the guys at our then-local comic book shop. Super good.
Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Tony Hsieh 5/26/15 5/27/15 This book is awful. The ideas are fine, but the writing is TERRIBLE. Laughable (I really did laugh, when I wasn’t groaning). I ended up skimming the second half. I read it because I was thinking about applying for a job that recommended having read this book and a couple others. I didn’t apply for that job.
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona 5/25/15 5/26/15 I don’t read a lot of comics, and I don’t know anything about Ms. Marvel, but G. Willow Wilson wrote this, so it was worth checking out. SO good.
Legion: Skin Deep Brandon Sanderson 5/24/15 5/25/15 Loved Legion, so I was very happy to see a sequel to it. Another novella, so I still want more. Good stuff. This idea intrigues me.
The Blade Itself Joe Abercrombie 4/30/15 5/23/15 First book in The First Law trilogy. Gritty fantasy, with a few very cool characters and one in particular you love to hate. Not sure why it took so long to read, but I jumped pretty quickly into the sequels.
The Dog Stars Peter Heller 4/26/15 4/29/15 Weirdly, I followed the last quiet post-apocalyptic novel with another one. There are no other similarities. I liked this book a lot – a guy, his small plane, his doggy best friend, and an uneasy alliance with a gun nut, trying to stay alive in a landscape with very few survivors. The doggy best friend part was a little tough to read so soon after we lost ours (which is why John hasn’t read it yet), but I would recommend it.
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel 4/22/15 4/26/15 Interestingly quiet post-apocalyptic story, with a different plot device tying the actual apocalypse to the present post-apocalyptic story line. It’s not depressing (like The Road), not uplifting, either – my feelings about it now remind me of my feelings about Bel Canto (in a good way).
Blood Trail Tanya Huff 4/19/15 4/21/15 Second book in the Blood series. Loved the opening, liked this book better than the first. Glad there are more.
Blood Price Tanya Huff 4/17/15 4/19/15 Another Tanya Huff series, this one about a detective who teams up with a vampire. I like the detective. Don’t know yet about the vampire.
Crown Duel Sherwood Smith 4/11/15 4/17/15 I loved Sherwood Smith’s Inda series, so I tried more of hers. This is a little more young adult, a bit ligher, but fun. Same universe as Inda, but very different in tone.
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Two (2007) Jonathan Strahan (editor) 3/28/15 4/11/15 Anthology, of course. Mostly good stuff, but it’s been nine months, and I mostly don’t remember the stories.
Infinity Blade: Redemption Brandon Sanderson 3/25/15 3/27/15 Second Infinity Blade novella. A sequel was definitely needed, but I don’t feel satisfied by it. I was left with questions. I’d like the answers, so I’d say I liked the books, but it’s missing something.
Infinity Blade: Awakening Brandon Sanderson 3/22/15 3/24/15 It’s a novella, interesting in the way of Brandon Sanderson stories.
Sword Amy Bai 3/15/15 3/22/15 I LOVE this book. It’s exciting, it’s moving, and it’s the first in a trilogy. I was moved to tears at the end, and I felt strongly enough about it that I found the author’s website and sent her a short thank you email. She’s writing the second book, and I can’t wait.
The Name of the Star Maureen Johnson 3/12/15 3/15/15 Young adult, supernatural, mystery, set in London, first in a trilogy. I picked it up because the third book had just come out, and my Twitter feed was full of the latest book, the author, and the ecstatic fans who were reading it. I figured I’d give the first one a try. I’m glad I did. Will read the others when I’m allowed to read Kindle books again.
The Thing About Great White Sharks Rebecca Adams Wright 3/2/15 3/11/15 As with all short story collections (all one author, in this case), some stories stayed with me more than others. There are a couple of really interesting ones, and one (the first one) really sad (but good) one.
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent Marie Brennan 2/21/15 3/1/15 I love this book. There are three more I haven’t read yet, and I’m really looking forward to them (only waiting until I allow myself to read Kindle books again). Lady Trent (before she was Lady Trent) wants to study animals, and dragons more than any other, but she’s a girl! Girls don’t do that (not Victorian-ish ones of good breeding). She’s great.
The Child Thief Brom 2/15/15 2/21/15 A dark Peter Pan story, heavy on Celtic-type myths and fairy tales (maybe I should be spelling it like “faerie”). Good.
The Long Hot Summoning Tanya Huff 2/10/15 2/15/15 The third (and last, I think) summoning book. Focused on the little sister, who I didn’t like as much. I do like her cat.
The Second Summoning Tanya Huff 2/7/15 2/10/15 The sequel to Summon the Keeper. Entertaining, but I think the first one was better. Comic fantasy, in case I didn’t mention that before.
The Better Part of Valor Tanya Huff 2/6/15 2/7/15 The sequel to Valor’s Choice – just as good, possibly better. Very entertaining.
Valor’s Choice Tanya Huff 2/5/15 2/6/15 Space marines! The main character is a female space marine who knows what the hell she’s doing. Fun book.
Summon the Keeper Tanya Huff 2/2/15 2/4/15 Reading a book that starts in a chilly thunderstorm while lying on the beach in Mexico is a bit disconcerting, but the story was fun and funny enough. Good vacation book. Talking cats!
Shadow of Night Deborah Harkness 1/24/15 2/7/15 This is the sequel to A Discovery of Witches. The overprotective vampire thing got worse, but otherwise, I liked it. And there’s a third! It’ll be nice to see this get wrapped up.
Timeless Gail Carriger 1/19/15 1/24/15 The last Parasol Protectorate book (although she has at least two other series going, one of which is related) was maybe the weakest one, but still fun.
Redshirts John Scalzi 1/18/15 1/19/15 Hilarious. It’s a Star Trek send-up, and I really enjoyed it.
A Discovery of Witches Deborah Harkness 1/10/15 1/18/15 I enjoyed this book, but I had/have mixed feelings about it. She studies at Oxford, runs, does yoga – all good. She’s a witch (but doesn’t want to be) – still fine. She meets a vampire – still fine. He’s over-protective and all but sparkles – not cool. So…I liked it, but was annoyed by parts of it at the same time.
The Apprentices Maile Meloy 1/3/15 1/10/15 Sequel to The Apothecary. Almost as good. Can’t wait for the third!
The Apothecary Maile Meloy 1/2/15 1/3/15 The first in a series with two kids (one is American), a boarding school in London, some magic, and some intrigue. It was great.
Ex-Patriots Peter Clines 12/28/14 1/2/15 More zombies and superheroes! Yay!
A Fatal Grace Louise Penny 12/25/14 12/28/14 The second Inspector Gamache book is as good as the first. Yay!
Attachments Rainbow Rowell 12/21/14 12/25/14 More love for Rainbow Rowell. This is the first one I’ve read of hers with adults as the main characters. So nice.
Infected Scott Sigler 12/18/14 12/21/14 I gave up on this one. It wasn’t going anywhere quickly enough. And it was too close to the Strain books that I forced myself to read for reasons unknown.
Exo Steven Gould 12/12/14 12/18/14 The last book in the Jumper series is where I had some questions. Not about the plot or the action or anything – I still really enjoyed it. The problem I have is that it picks up shortly after the third book, same main character, but it gives her this ambition that wasn’t even hinted at in the book before. Like, I want this to happen in this book, so let’s pretend she was interested in it all along!
Impulse Steven Gould 12/7/14 12/11/14 The third book in the Jumper series takes the NEXT natural step and still works for me.
Reflex Steven Gould 12/4/14 12/7/14 The sequel to Jumper, with a natural next step that I think is AWESOME and wish they had continued with.
Heartless Gail Carriger 11/28/14 12/3/14 Parasol Protectorate Book 4. Still fun.
Jumper Steven Gould 11/23/14 11/28/14 I read this book a long time ago (like pre-teen years), and it stayed with me. I looked it up for some reason, realized there was a whole series, and bought it so I could catch up. The first book (this one) is the best in the bunch, but I still really liked it.
Sleight of Hand Peter S. Beagle 11/15/14 11/22/14 More short stories by Peter S. Beagle (who write The Last Unicorn). Similar to the last collection, only a couple of the stories stick out in my memory, but I really liked them.
We Never Talk About My Brother Peter S. Beagle 11/8/14 11/15/14 Short stories by Peter S. Beagle (who write The Last Unicorn). A couple of these really stick out in my memory – really good.
Machine Man Max Barry 11/2/14 11/8/14 Max Barry wrote Lexicon, which I mostly enjoyed, so I picked up Machine Man from the library. Scientist into robotics has an accident, creates prosthetic pieces of himself, realizes he works better that way, and keeps going. Interesting story.
The Emperor’s Soul Brandon Sanderson 11/1/14 11/2/14 Maybe to prove I still like Brandon Sanderson, I read this one next (a story set in the Elantris universe) and liked it. Interesting premise.
The Way of Kings Brandon Sanderson 10/28/14 11/1/14 I ended up putting this book down without finishing it. I feel really bad about that because it’s Brandon Sanderson, and I have liked everything else he’s written, but I was having a hard time with this one. I’ll go back to it at some point. There was nothing bad about it. It’s the start of a large-scale fantasy series, and I guess I got stuck in all the setup.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore Robin Sloan 10/25/14 10/28/14 I really enjoyed this book. First, a 24-hour bookstore? Sign me up. Second, mysterious customers and codes and fun side characters? Hooked.
The Casual Vacancy JK Rowling 10/21/14 10/24/14 I couldn’t finish this book. I picked it up because JK Rowling wrote it, but I couldn’t get past the unlikable characters. I got the impression (probably wrongly, but still) that she deliberately wrote unlikable characters and then had them say awful things because she didn’t want to be pigeonholed. I get that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
The Element of Fire Martha Wells 10/12/14 10/21/14 Good fantasy novel. Lots of action, lots of intrigue, good characters.
The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion 10/12/14 10/12/14 I think this was another book club book. A fun, light read. Finished it in a day. Looks like there’s a sequel out now, but I’m not in a huge rush.
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn 10/9/14 10/12/14 And this book put a stop to the fun for a couple of days. I’ve read it before, but it was a couple years ago. I really liked it then. I reread it because of the movie coming out, and John wanted to read it before we saw the movie. This time, I couldn’t get past how awful both characters are. I just REALLY didn’t like them, and that made this reread a bit of a slog.
Blameless Gail Carriger 10/5/14 10/9/14 I found myself making apologies for this series, but why? Because it’s light? Whatever – I liked it.
A Conspiracy of Kings Megan Whalen Turner 10/4/14 10/5/14 I continued with the fun trend and went back to the Thief series (book 4). I wish there more of them.
Changeless Gail Carriger 9/29/14 10/4/14 What a relief to pick up something fun! I wasn’t really sure how I felt about the first one (I liked it, didn’t love it), but I’m happy to spend some more time in this world. Creatures, romance, steampunk, fun.
The Night Eternal Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan 9/27/14 9/29/14 Last of The Strain trilogy. I’d gotten this far, so I decided to power through and finish it. The plot got a little weird, the timing was odd, and the secret that came out was underwhelming.
The Fall Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan 9/18/14 9/27/14 Sequel to The Strain. This is where the story started to slow down. I finished because…I’m not really sure.
The Strain Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan 9/14/14 9/18/14 I can’t recommend this book (or trilogy). I picked it up because the TV series was starting and I heard it was pretty good. I figured the source material would be good, too. And in its defense, the first one is okay. Slow to start, but fairly insteresting. That’s the only reason I picked up the second one. (Okay, that’s a normal reason to pick up the second one.)
The Human Division John Scalzi 9/10/14 9/13/14 Hooray for more in the Old Man’s War series! Good, fun, exciting science fiction in a universe I already really enjoy.
The King of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner 9/7/14 9/9/14 Book 3 of The Queen’s Thief series. Still good!
Lexicon Max Berry 9/1/14 9/7/14 It had a really cool idea, but the ending didn’t come together quite right for me. Maybe that’s on purpose, considering why/how it ended. Maybe a bigger point was being made. But I can’t expound on that theory without giving away the ending. No spoilers here.
The Queen of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner 8/30/14 9/1/14 I liked this one as much as The Thief (this is the sequel). There’s something about how Turner doesn’t let us all the way into the characters’ heads that reminds me of Dorothy Dunnett and her Lymond Chronicles. (This is a good thing, which seems funny, considering how much I like knowing what the characters are thinking.)
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There Catherynne M. Valente 8/25/14 8/30/14 As good as the other one. I loved the bit about the Duke of Teatime and the Vicereine of Coffee. Normally, I’m not a fan of flowery descriptions, but Cat Valente’s are so friendly and whimsical. I want to take them home with me and hang out together.
Wearing the Cape Marion G. Harmon 8/19/14 8/24/14 I don’t remember how I found this one. I was looking for superhero stories for John and decided to check this one out for me. It’s not great. Pretty light, a little predictable, but I enjoyed it. I’ll probably pick up the rest of the series soon.
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells Andrew Sean Greer 8/13/14 8/18/14 Recommended by friend Chastity. She is officially trustworthy. Interesting premise, liked the execution. Greta Wells felt completely real. I was surprised to find the book was written by a man.
The Kingdom of Gods N.K. Jemisin 8/9/14 8/12/14 Third book in the Inheritance trilogy. I liked it, but I think I liked the first two better. The plot didn’t feel as tight as the first two.
Alif the Unseen G. Willow Wilson 8/3/14 8/8/14 So good! Programming/hacking in the Middle East – science fiction, right? Except for the fairy tale/supernatural element, all in a Muslim setting. Good characters, great story. The characters reminded me of Cory Doctorow’s.
Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie 7/27/14 8/3/14 It took me a little bit longer than usual to get into this one. I think it may have been the bit with the pronouns. I couldn’t tell if that was a deliberate political statement by the author, a hint pointing me to plot undercurrents, or just part of the character and the worldbuilding. I landed on option 3 after a while and got totally caught up. Looking forward to the sequel. I love knowing there’s a sequel.
The Gabriel Hounds Mary Stewart 7/27/14 7/29/14 A Mary Stewart mystery/romance set in the middle east with British characters – thoroughly enjoyable but with a little bit of a squick factor when you realize that the tiny bit of romance is between first cousins.
Fangirl Rainbow Rowell 7/25/14 7/27/14 Really liked this book. I liked the writing, I liked the tone, I liked the subject matter. I like Rainbow Rowell, and I will read anything she writes.
Queen of the Dark Things Robert Cargill 7/16/14 7/25/14 Good sequel to Dreams and Shadows.
Resurrection, Inc Kevin J. Anderson 7/10/14 7/16/14 Interesting, but I didn’t love it. There were a couple of times the writing was distracting – the author would describe something in a way that was completely irrelevant to the story, and I’d get pulled out of it. Also, I only finished it four days ago, and I can’t remember the very end right now. Not a glowing recommendation, for sure.
The Thief Megan Whalen Turner 7/3/14 7/10/14 I’d heard good things about it, but it took me a chapter or two to become interested. Then I was hooked, and it paid off. Very interested in the rest of the series.
Ex-Heroes Peter Clines 6/29/14 7/3/14 It’s a well-told, post-apocalyptic superhero story with zombies. Or is it a zombie story with superheroes? It’s the first in a series (or so it seems), but I’m not sure where the story will go after the end of the first book. I’ll find out.
Soulless Gail Carriger 6/25/14 6/29/14 I had this book on my list for reasons I can’t remember, and then Jess mentioned she had started it (she had an odd look on her face), so I decided I’d read it next. If it hadn’t been for Jess’s funny look, I might have put it down in the middle of the first chapter. Victorian setting: fine. Oh, vampires: fine. The language in the first chapter: heavens, no. Flowery, trying to be so clever, alliterative – it was hard to take. I pushed on, though, and the language eased off. The story was fine, funny at times, and – sure, werewolves, too. Okay. But wait – is this a romance novel? For Pete’s sake… The verdict: it was light, it ended up being enjoyable, and yes, I might read more in the series. Now that I’ve gotten the surprises out of the way.
Still Life Louise Penny 6/15/14 6/24/14 Standard detective story, with a French Canadian inspector out of Montreal investigating a murder in a small town nearby. Neat town, interesting characters, good mystery. I will be looking for more Inspector Gamache mysteries.
The Crimson Campaign Brian McClellan 5/29/14 6/14/14 Book two in the Powder Mage series. Better than the first book, and I really liked the first book (once it got going). This was more focused.
Forsworn Brian McClellan 5/28/14 5/28/14 Novella in the Powder Mage series. This was a good way to ease back into that world.
Among Others Jo Walton 5/19/14 5/27/14 I think I found this book in the comments of a Bloggess post. Someone recommended it, and I really enjoyed it. It’s a little short on plot, but I liked the main character so much that it didn’t really matter. She’s a Welsh teenager in the late 70s, sent off to school after a tragedy, and her main passion is reading science fiction. It’s most of what she does, most of what she thinks about, and I loved the references to books I’ve read and loved. Of course, there are a ton of books she references that I HAVEN’T read, and thankfully, it only took one quick Google search to find a list of them. I’ll be working my way down that list soon.
An Abundance of Katherines John Green 5/13/14 5/18/14 Another John Green novel. I liked this one, too. Lighter than the other two, and with a totally predictable ending, but it was fun. I like footnotes.
Saga Brian K. Vaughan 5/11/14 5/11/14 My last graphic novel (for now). Also really good, has a million places to go, and I will definitely buy the next one.
The Husband’s Secret Liane Moriarty 5/10/14 5/13/14 This was the last book club book I read (without going to the meeting). Set in Australia, it’s fairly standard book club fare, but it was pretty good. Overlapping story lines, interesting characters. A little melodramatic, but how could a book with this title not be melodramatic?
Chew John Layman 5/10/14 5/10/14 Another graphic novel. Disgusting and fascinating. The story in this one – makes me shudder, and I definitely want to read the next one.
Ghosted Joshua Williamson 5/9/14 5/10/14 Graphic novel. Ghost story/caper – this one I liked. I’m still working on the graphic novel thing, and I didn’t finish it dying for the next installment, but I did like it.
The Straits of Galahesh Bradley Beaulieu 4/23/14 5/9/14 The sequel to The Winds of Khalakovo. If I hadn’t gotten interested by the end of the first one, I probably wouldn’t have jumped into the second. Like the first, it started (and middled) slow, but I was interested by the end. And yet, I decided not to read the third. I felt bogged down. I suppose this does not count as a recommendation.
The Winds of Khalakovo Bradley Beaulieu 4/13/14 4/23/14 The beginning of a fantasy trilogy. It started (and middled) slow, but I was interested by the end. An odd combination of Middle Eastern and Russian cultures, with magic and gods.
Paper Towns John Green 4/10/14 4/12/14 Pretty good. The end was a little disappointing, but that actually may have been the point.
Further: Beyond the Threshold Chris Roberson 4/8/14 4/10/14 Science fiction that takes a near future (“near” with long-distance spaceflight) protagonist into the far future. Didn’t love it, but if I come across the next book, I’ll probably read it.
Dreams and Shadows C. Robert Cargill 3/30/14 4/7/14 Fairies and children and how the worlds overlap and the children grow up. I liked it. Looking forward to the sequel.
The Listeners James Gunn 3/26/14 3/30/14 Reminded me a lot of Contact, and then I checked the copyright and found out that it came first. Slow-paced, but interesting.
Horns Joe Hill 3/16/14 3/24/14 With the movie coming out, I figured I’d read the book (which I’d heard was good). And it was (good). Gross at times (like Heart-Shaped Box, and like his father’s stuff), and predictable at others, but I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to the movie.
Jim Henson: The Biography Brian Jay Jones 3/9/14 3/26/14 I love Jim Henson, and I love the Muppets. I enjoyed this book for the information about both, but the writing was bad. Sometimes really bad.
Wheel of the Infinite Martha Wells 2/28/14 3/9/14 I feel like this could easily be the beginning of a series, but I don’t think it is. I like that the main character was an older woman (in her forties). Magic, gods, cute bodyguard, creepy possessed puppet. Fun for everyone!
Steelheart Brandon Sanderson 2/23/14 2/27/14 Superheroes! Except they’re not nice! Supervillians! Good story.
Shadows Robin McKinley 2/19/14 2/22/14 I DID manage to be reading something I really enjoyed on my birthday. Oh, Robin McKinley, I love you, but I really want you to write a whole series for every standalone novel you publish. She puts such tantalizing details in the background. What is the rest of that world like? How did it get that way?
Lawful Interception Cory Doctorow 2/18/14 2/18/14 Short story in the same universe (same characters) as Little Brother, which I really enjoyed.
Kiln People David Brin 2/15/14 2/17/14 Interesting concept, interesting book. I kind of wish we had that technology.
The New Deadwardians Dan Abnett 2/15/14 2/15/14 Graphic novel, post-apocalyptic (kind of?), zombies and vampires (I totally missed the vampire thing until the end, despite reading the back first)…I wasn’t crazy about it. I don’t know if it was because it’s a graphic novel or because the story just didn’t grab me. I might give the next one a chance, if there is a next one. I think I read a collection of comics 1-8.
Eleanor & Park Rainbow Rowell 2/12/14 2/14/14 I swallowed this book whole. Couldn’t put it down. It felt real, and I cried twice. No, three times. She’s written three other books, and I will be buying them.
Handling the Undead John Ajvide Lindqvist 2/8/14 2/12/14 Interesting, but not gripping. It’s a different take on zombies, and I like that it focuses on the emotional responses of three families to their undead loved ones (that sounds ridiculous, but it’s not ridiculous in its presentation), but the end fizzles out. The questions are half-answered, leaving more questions (like, could we please get an explanation?). That’s more frustrating than if the author had left the whole episode completely unexplained.
Nexus Ramez Naam 2/3/14 2/7/14 Near future, nano-technology and computer software and the brain and spies and undercover ops and genetic modification – very cool thriller, despite its very clear political message.
City of Bones Martha Wells 1/28/14 2/3/14 Desert fantasy, could easily become a series, but I think it’s a stand-alone novel. For now, anyway. I enjoyed it, but the desert thing (with all the dust and the scary desert animals and the lack of water) always makes me uncomfortable.
Muse of Fire John Scalzi 1/28/14 1/28/14 Another short story (or novella) by John Scalzi, but a bit more serious. I’d really like to read a longer treatment of this one.
An Election John Scalzi 1/28/14 1/28/14 Short story (novella?) by John Scalzi, which means funny and to the point.
Promise of Blood Brian McClellan 1/17/14 1/27/14 First in a trilogy, but here’s where I screwed up. I thought the trilogy was already written. Wrong! Only the first one. But the second comes out this year. And it was good. Interesting system of magic, revolution, war, intrigue…works for me.
Chicken Little Cory Doctorow 1/16/14 1/17/14 Another novella, more science fiction, and another one I really liked, but I think I might need the details of the ending explained to me. Explain like I’m five, please.
Firstborn Brandon Sanderson 1/15/14 1/16/14 Novella, space wars, good stuff. I like being reminded of how much I like certain authors when it’s been a while since I read something of theirs.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making Catherynne M. Valente 1/12/14 1/15/14 Old-fashioned, but in the best way, with a sly narrator and lots of fun fairyland details. It’s a kid’s book, pre-teens to early teens, I would think, but I really liked it. I will be reading the sequels.
The Furnace Timothy S. Johnston 12/31/13 1/12/14 Debut novel – it was okay. The writing will probably improve in next couple of books, but he did a couple of things that were distracting (both in the plot and in the his writing style).
Legion Brandon Sanderson 12/29/13 12/30/13 Novella by Brandon Sanderson. Do you ever forget how much you like an author, stay away from their books, and then rediscover them only to read something by them that is TOO DAMN SHORT? I want a lot more about this character. Nicely done.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky 12/29/13 12/29/13 Really very good. The narrator reminded me of the kid in Almost Famous, and I’m dying to see the movie now.
The Distant Hours Kate Morton 12/20/13 12/29/13 For some authors, it’s definitely true that the first book of theirs you read is your favorite, regardless of the order they were written in. I really REALLY liked The Secret Keeper, and I still like it better than the other two I’ve read by her (this one and The House at Riverton). They were both good (this one was better than The House at Riverton), but not as good as The Secret Keeper. She has a formula, but I can’t tell if I like The Secret Keeper best because I didn’t know about her formula when I read it or because it’s actually better. It IS the most recent one she’s written, so let’s say it’s better because her writing got better. But hey, The Distant Hours was pretty darn good.
Sharp Objects Gillian Flynn 12/17/13 12/20/13 Really liked Gone Girl, wasn’t crazy about Dark Places – it’s time to read Sharp Objects. Update: Better than Dark Places, not as good as Gone Girl, and way more disturbing than either one. I can’t say I liked it, but I read it in three days – couldn’t put it down.
Dragonhaven Robin McKinley 12/10/13 12/16/13 Surprise! I loved it. Who could’ve guessed? Told from the point of view of a teenage boy. You’d think that would get annoying, but it really doesn’t. And dragons!
The Fault in Our Stars John Green 12/7/13 12/10/13 Sad, but not unbearably sad. Good fiction, smart teenage protagonist. I picked up with no idea what it was about because I’d heard of the author and I think his brother (Hank Green) is funny. I would (will) read more of his books.
The Book Thief Marcus Zusak 11/30/13 12/7/13 I loved this book the first time around (sometime in the first half of 2009), and now that there’s a movie coming out, I’ve decided to reread it. Update: It’s still really good. I didn’t cry quite as hard the second time, but the end is still moving.
Armor John Steakley 11/17/13 11/30/13 I switched to super science fiction, space war, alien-fighting, Starship Troopers kind of fiction for a change of pace. Very much enjoyed it, although some of the perspective jumps were jarring.
This One Is Mine Maria Semple 11/14/13 11/16/13 After reading Where’d You Go, Bernadette and loving it, I jumped immediately into Maria Semple’s only other novel. And I didn’t like it. Characters again. I didn’t like anyone.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple 11/11/13 11/14/13 LOVED. The book club has redeemed itself. This was a really good book. Surprising, funny, sweet.
Cell Stephen King 11/10/13 11/11/13 I DID have this one figured out, but that’s because it’s essentially a rewrite of The Stand (shorter, of course – almost everything is shorter than The Stand). Enjoyable, but I’m not a huge Stephen King fan.
Dragonsbane Barbara Hambly 11/2/13 11/9/13 I thought I had this book figured out (dragons and dragonslayers – what’s surprising about this story?), but I was wrong. In nice ways.
Through the Looking Glass Lewis carroll 10/30/13 11/1/13 See previous entry. We started watching Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and I decided to brush up.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis carroll 10/30/13 10/30/13 We started watching Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, and I decided to brush up.
Allegiant Veronica Roth 10/28/13 10/30/13 Third book in the Divergent trilogy. Just like with The Hunger Games, the third book is not nearly as good. They should have stayed in the city and worked out the issues there (like the title implies). If the author really wanted to go bigger, she should have waited for a second trilogy or something. It got off-track, slow, and boring (again, just like the third Hunger Games book).
Insurgent Veronica Roth 10/27/13 10/28/13 Second book in the Divergent trilogy. Still pretty good.
Divergent Veronica Roth 10/25/13 10/27/13 I’d been hearing about this book for nearly two years from friends, so once the third book in the trilogy came out, I decided it was time to read it. Similar to The Hunger Games (dystopian future, main characters are teenagers, fight for survival, etc.), but otherwise different in the details and pretty damn good.
Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley 10/17/13 10/25/13 More short stories from Robin McKinley and her husband. I liked these better than the stories in Water, and three out of the five stories were downright fantastic (two of hers, one of his – they didn’t actually collaborate).
The Burgess Boys Elizabeth Strout 10/12/13 10/14/13 Here’s another not-so-great book club pick. At least three members loved it. I really didn’t. I mostly didn’t care about the characters at all, and that really kills it for me.
Broken Harbor Tana French 10/5/13 10/11/13 Tana French writes really good mysteries, guys. She carries over characters from the other books, but never the main one. I mean, her main character may have had a bit part in one of the other books, but was always in the background and sometimes completely misunderstood (which you realize, of course, once you get into the new main character’s head).
When It Happens To You Molly Ringwald 10/1/13 10/5/13 I was never fully immersed in the story, but I did enjoy it. And I liked the characters. (Refreshing, after The Interestings.)
Chalice Robin McKinley 9/27/13 9/30/13 Loved. Her books are so…comforting. Warm. Enveloping.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman 8/18/13 9/27/13 Wonderful. Really. Reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time.
The Interestings Meg Wolitzer 7/24/13 8/12/13 A not so great book club book. The story follows a group of friends across 40 years. I wanted to smack each of them at various times (and one of them ALL the time). Not so interesting.
Stories Edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio 7/24/13 8/9/13 Seriously good short stories, some fantasy, some science fiction, some regular fiction. All good.
Camouflage Joe Haldeman 7/15/13 7/24/13 Ever-evolving aliens and first contact with human beings – I felt like I was watching a movie I’ve seen a bunch of times, but in a good way.
Ready Player One Ernest Cline 7/11/13 7/14/13 I waited a while to read this one, too, but it was more because I was afraid I wouldn’t get enough of the references to make it enjoyable. Silly worries. I didn’t get them all, that’s for sure, but I got plenty and the others weren’t necessary to enjoy the plot.
The Help Kathrynn Stockett 7/7/13 7/11/13 I resisted reading this. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure why I do that for a lot of books. I end up really liking so many of them (this one included). But you don’t need me to tell you it’s good.
The Man with the Golden Torc Simon R. Green 6/23/13 7/5/13 I’d been meaning to try Simon R. Green for a while, and this was the book on hand. It’s cute – all James Bond references and jokes, most of which I’m sure went over my head, but I’d read more of this series if they landed in my hands.
The Patron saint of Liars Ann Patchett 6/19/13 6/23/13 Good and unexpected. Not unexpectedly good, of course – it’s Ann Patchett. Of course it was good.
Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley 6/12/13 6/19/13 Short stories by Robin McKinley and her husband. Yay!
The Aviator’s Wife Melanie Benjamin 6/7/13 6/11/13 Book club book. Not one of my favorites, but biographies (fictionalized or not) rarely are.
Dark Places Gillian Flynn 6/2/13 6/6/13 WAY darker than Gone Girl and not as good. Couldn’t stop reading it, but I didn’t enjoy the experience as much.
The House at Riverton Kate Morton 5/24/13 6/2/13 The Secret Keeper was better, but this one was pretty good.
Deerskin Robin McKinley 5/23/13 6/2/13 Oh, Robin McKinley, I love you.
A Reliable Wife Robert Goolrick 4/21/13 5/19/13 I should learn not to take book recommendations from certain people. This was basically the novelization of that not-very-good Angelina Jolie movie, Original Sin, except that the movie was better.
Siddhartha Herman Hesse 4/9/13 4/21/13 I promised a coworker I’d read this and then we’d talk about it. I read it, but we have yet to talk about it. And that’s okay with me. It was a bit heavy-handed.
When Gravity Fails George Effinger 3/24/13 4/8/13 I’m finding this one hard to get into, but I’m not ready to give up. Update: This was a recommendation. It was okay. I didn’t love it, but I liked it fine. Well, that’s a lukewarm review for you.
World War Z Max Brooks 3/10/13 3/22/13 Book club pick. My own. As a book club book, I think I might have failed. I know at least a few people read it (and at least two of them liked it), but I also know that at least one person did not. I really liked it. It was engrossing and disturbing and hard to put down. I cried twice. It’ll be interesting to see how the movie turns out.
A Memory of Light Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 3/3/13 3/9/13 It’s finally here! And I don’t want to do ANYthing other than read it. Update: I’m so sad it’s over. It ended well. I need more.
Towers of Midnight Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 2/17/13 3/2/13 Gotta re-read this so I can read the LAST BOOK EVER in the series.
The Secret Keeper Kate Morton 2/9/13 2/17/13 Book club book. I think I joined the right book club. Memoirs aside, I’ve really enjoyed all of the books so far. This one was really good.
The Dragonbone Chair Tad Williams 1/11/13 2/11/13 I was in the mood for fantasy, so I decided it was high time I got around to reading the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. It had a slow start, but I enjoyed the first one. I have a list to get through, but I plan to continue this series about three or four books from now.
Defending Jacob William Landay 1/6/13 1/11/13 Book club pick (even though I can’t make it to the meeting this month). Good book, weird ending. Abrupt. And now that’s been a few days since I finished it, maybe unsatisfying. But that might be part of the point.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Rachel Joyce 12/25/12 1/5/13 I almost never read books that I haven’t found through some sort of recommendation anymore, but I picked this one up because I liked the cover. Update: SUCH a good decision. I loved this book. There’s one part of it that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s kind of a throwaway. I cried (good tears) over the end.
The Fall of Hyperion Dan Simmons 12/10/12 12/25/12 Sequel to Hyperion. Thank goodness it picked up right where Hyperion left off. That ending was too abrupt. This one ended better. There are a couple more in the series that I definitely want to read. I realize this is not much of a review, but this is all I’ve got right now. I liked it. Period.
Adulthood Rites Octavia Butler 12/2/12 12/9/12 Sequel to Dawn. Good, but not as good as Dawn. I still want to read the third, though.
Dawn Octavia Butler 11/28/12 12/2/12 I don’t even know where to start with this one. I liked it, and I’m going to read the sequel next, but the first book (while very interesting) felt like it was setting up the rest of the series more than standing on its own as a book. (It’s about a post-apocalyptic Earth with aliens, by the way.)
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Helen Simonson 11/25/12 11/27/12 LOVED this book. It was chosen for book club, and I read it in two days and loved every minute of it. I laughed, I cheered, I wanted to punch people, and then I cheered some more. It’s a really nice, very British, totally wonderful book.
Hyperion Dan Simmons 11/10/12 11/24/12 More classic SF I’ve been missing out on for years for no good reason. I really like this one, but I wasn’t expecting it to end as abruptly as it did (and to not even come close to being finished). I knew it was part of a series, but I kind of assumed it would have an ending. And wouldn’t you know, I don’t have the next one. I will soon.
The Waters Rising Sheri S. Tepper 10/27/12 11/9/12 Set in the same dystopian world as one of her previous novels. I’m probably going to re-read that one soon. Update: Not her best. Too much exposition. WAY too much in the beginning, but even later on, one character would give this detailed explanation of something, and another character would say, “Let me see if I understood you correctly,” and then restate the explanation using different words. Sometimes that was necessary for me to get it, but wouldn’t it have been better to state it clearly one time? And if that had only happened once, it would be okay, but it happened over and over again. I think Tepper is great, but this book is only for die-hard fans, I think.
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Cheryl Strayed 10/22/12 10/26/12 Another memoir for this month’s Book Club pick. Yay. I do better if I assume it’s fiction, so we’ll see how it goes. Update: It started okay, but I got bored with the author about halfway through. Couldn’t relate.
The Forge of God Greg Bear 10/5/12 10/21/12 Picked up almost at random from the shelves, it’s science fiction written in 1987, set in 1996. Pretty interesting to see what he got right and wrong about technology from that close, alien invasion aside. The second half was a little odd, but I would be revealing a plot point if I said why.
Watcher of the Dead J.V. Jones 9/27/12 10/5/12 Next book in the Sword of Shadows series. Probably not the last one, but the last one written so far. Update: I want more! Why do I always get sucked into unfinished series?
The Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon 9/21/12 9/27/12 Yeah, I really liked this book. It was twisty and turny and somewhat guessable, but not completely, and I really liked it.
A Sword of Red Ice J.V. Jones 9/3/12 9/21/12 Continuing the Sword of Shadows series. I still like it a lot, but the pace is SO SLOW.
Coraline Neil Gaiman 9/3/12 9/3/12 Filling in my Gaiman gaps. It didn’t disappoint. Left me with some creepy images, though. I can’t decide if seeing the movie would help with that or not.
Little Brother Cory Doctorow 9/1/12 9/2/12 Set in the immediate future, it’s all about terrorism and the government and teenage hackers fighting back. Couldn’t put it down, so I stayed up late to finish it.
Before I Go To Sleep S.J. Watson 8/30/12 9/1/12 This was a book club selection (we’re meeting to discuss it this weekend). GOOD choice. I really liked this one. I read it in two days, during all the free time I could spare and some I couldn’t. It’s like a cross between Memento and 50 First Dates (but without all Adam Sandler idiocy). Gripping.
11/22/63 Stephen King 8/26/12 8/30/12 I think I got hooked by this book faster than any other Stephen King book I’ve read, and then I didn’t want to put it down. There were a couple of things that annoyed me, but for the most part, it was pretty good. And not too scary.
Notes From a Small Island Bill Bryson 8/18/12 8/25/12 Travel books aren’t usually my thing, but I love everything UK, and Bill Bryson is funny, and I need a dose of England right now.
A Fortress of Grey Ice J.V. Jones 8/5/12 8/18/12 Sequel to A Cavern of Black Ice (Sword of Shadows series). The first book set up a lot of action to come, but could mostly stand on its own. This one could never stand by itself. It moves things along (and introduces a few characters I really like), but it ended abruptly and very much like “To find out what happens next, tune in next week!” I will, certainly, but after a break for a couple other books on my list.
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City Nick Flynn 8/2/12 8/3/12 Good, but SO not my thing. Memoirs in general are not my thing, but certainly not when they’re about alcoholic drug addicts and their alcoholic homeless dads. It was engrossing, but not something I plan to seek out again.
A Cavern of Black Ice J.V. Jones 7/21/12 8/5/12 This started out a little slow, but it’s a four (five?) book series, so there’s plenty of time. I care about the characters, but I’m not entirely sure where the plot will go beyond the first book.
Living Dead in Dallas Charlaine Harris 7/21/12 7/21/12 I got this book to take to England, and then was not at ALL in the mood to read it there. I read it in about 3.5 hours the other day. It’s an easy read, but I’m not going to be in any hurry to read more, I think. I like the TV show. The books are a little hard to swallow. And of course, I don’t mean the subject matter. It’s something about the style, something about the narrator. In the show, she’s amusingly irritating, but I find her way more irritating in the books.
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn 7/17/12 7/21/12 Good! And not at all what I expected when I started it. Which is also good.
The Age of Miracles Karen Thompson Walker 7/15/12 7/17/12 Near-future speculative fiction. Engrossing. Made me a little afraid to go outside in the summer heat.
Thursday Next: First Among Sequels Jasper Fforde 7/3/12 7/13/12 Love these books. The only minor quibble I have is that I rarely remember the details of the earlier books in the series. I remember major plot points (and occasionally minor ones), but not which events happened in which books. But that could be because I’ve taken such long breaks in between books.
First Lord’s Fury Jim Butcher 6/27/12 7/3/12 Book 6 in The Codex Alera. Actual review (kind of): Good fantasy. Interesting world-building, cool magic system. Occasionally a flippant remark seems out of place (belonging more in the Dresden Files), but I like the style enough to let it go.
Princep’s Fury Jim Butcher 6/20/12 6/27/12 Book 5 of The Codex Alera
Captain’s Fury Jim Butcher 6/17/12 6/20/12 Book 4 of The Codex Alera
Cursor’s Fury Jim Butcher 6/14/12 6/17/12 Book 3 of The Codex Alera
Academ’s Fury Jim Butcher 6/8/12 6/14/12 Book 2 in The Codex Alera.
The Furies of Calderon Jim Butcher 6/3/12 6/8/12 The first book in Jim Butcher’s more traditional fantasy series. Update: And it was good!
Ghost Story Jim Butcher 6/1/12 6/3/12 This is the latest Dresden Files book. I called the ending from miles away, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. The biggest problem is that I have no idea when the next one will come out.
Coming Home Rosamunde Pilcher 5/26/12 5/31/12 I love this book. Love it to pieces.
The Colour of Magic Terry Pratchett 5/26/12 5/26/12 My first Terry Pratchett. I tried Thud a while back, but didn’t get very far, so I don’t count it. This was fun. I read the whole thing on the plane ride home (bought it at Heathrow (hence the u in the title)). I didn’t love it, but I’d like to try more of the Discworld books.
Nine Coaches Waiting Mary Stewart 5/20/12 5/25/12 This was much better for my vacation. Even if it was set in France instead of England. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sounds a little stilted, but is absolutely true.
Little, Big John Crowley 5/17/12 Started it on the plane, but I wasn’t getting into it, so I put it down. I’ll come back. Soon.
Rose Daughter Robin McKinley 5/8/12 5/13/12 Robin McKinley’s second shot at Beauty and the Beast. Similar, but different. Still good, and possibly better. I would need to re-read the first one to be sure. Which I may do. Because I love her.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess 4/20/12 5/8/12 I pre-ordered this and it arrived last week, but with all the homework and the in-laws, I’ve barely had time to read. Must make time! Update: I finally made time, and it was as funny as promised. (Funnier than the Bible. Watch the book trailer.)
The Prestige Christopher Priest 3/6/12 4/24/12 I saw this movie in the theater when it came out, and I really liked it. I’ve been listening to the audiobook in 30-60 minute chunks at the gym, and I enjoyed it, but it moved SO slowly. The movie is substantially different, and I think in this case that’s a good thing. (A good adaptation is always a good thing, but usually I like the book better. As you do.) I want to see the movie again, at least partly to erase the memory of the book. And the end – totally unsatisfactory. The book, I mean. I have so many questions! And not the good kind.
The Outlaws of Sherwood Robin McKinley 4/13/12 4/20/12 I’ve said a bunch of times that I LOVE Robin McKinley’s books. I still mean it, but this one wasn’t as good. It’s not the same style and didn’t grab me the same way. It got better as the book went on, and I certainly enjoyed it (and didn’t want to put it down as it got nearer the end), but she wasn’t as imaginative in her retelling of this story as she has been with others.
Just A Geek Wil Wheaton 4/9/12 4/12/12 I’ve been meaning to read this for a while. He took a number of his blog posts and added a framework that gives more background and sometimes excuses for his tone or insecurities. Highly enjoyable.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows 4/9/12 4/10/12 LOVED this book. We listened to it on a long car ride. The readers were terrific, the accents fantastic. The story is funny, sad, moving, and sweet. Everyone should read this book.
The Snow Child Eowyn Ivey 3/26/12 4/6/12 I ended up really liking this one. I read it for a book club I might be joining, and the beginning is a little…dark, but it got better. I cried a couple of times, once on the plane.
A Princess of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs 3/11/12 3/26/12 John’s dad gave me this book a couple of years ago, but I put off reading it (for reasons I don’t understand). John and I were considering seeing the movie last weekend, but we both want to read it first, so here I go. Update: I bet I would have liked this a lot if I were a 10-year-old boy. In the 50s. Two-dimensional characters and an episodic plot with an abrupt ending. I expected better.
Norstrilia Cordwainer Smith 3/6/12 3/11/12 I found this book on a list of novels science fiction fans should read. I am one, so I am reading. Just barely started it, and the title finally makes some sense (slur North Australia together to get Norstrilia), but I still think of nostrils every time I pick it up. Update: I liked it, but I feel like it could have been better. It was full of ideas that didn’t seem fully formed. Or they were fully formed in the author’s head, but could have been explored much more in the book. That would have made the book much longer, but it would have been worth it, I think. Maybe those could have been companion books, instead.
Death in Kashmir M.M. Kaye 2/17/12 3/5/12 I borrowed this book from Jess a LONG time ago. Finally started it. I like it, but I haven’t been reading much lately. Two weekends in a row with visitors and lots of schoolwork have made it difficult to find time. Sad. Update: The amount of time it took me to finish this book has no bearing on how much I liked it. Because I did. Like it. It’s a good mystery, but I was a bit distracted by the British colonialism aspect.
Hammered Elizabeth Bear 1/29/12 2/16/12 -ish It took me a few pages to get into this one, but it turned out to be pretty good. AND it has sequels, which makes me happy. I just don’t have them. Which makes me sad.
All Clear Connie Willis 1/20/12 1/29/12 Oh, this was good. Very good ending. I might have gotten a little misty-eyed. Word of advice: don’t wait a year and a half after reading Blackout to read this one. Read them back to back (especially since they were intended to be one book in the first place). I love Connie Willis. And Robin McKinley. They’re quickly climbing the ranks to favorite author status.
Mockingjay Suzanne Collins 1/18/12 1/20/12 I liked the third book, and I’m satisfied with the ending, but I think a few of the scenes could have benefited from the treatment the author gave the arena scenes. Especially towards the end.
Catching Fire Suzanne Collins 1/16/12 1/18/12 Started today. Halfway through. Update: Also good. More comments to come.
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins 1/14/12 1/16/12 I’ve been hearing about this book for months, and then I started hearing that it was good from people I trust. I knew that if I liked it, I’d want to jump right into the rest of the trilogy, so I held off starting it until I had all three. I have all three now. Update: It was good. I’m going to wait until I’m done with the trilogy to get into more detail.
Faithful Place Tana French 1/6/12 1/14/12 I loved her first two books, so I have very high expectations for this one. I wasn’t sure what to read after the Culture book (space opera science fiction), and I picked up Faithful Place not entirely sure I was in the right mood for it, but it hooked me immediately (just like her last two). Yay! Update: Oh, it was good. Very good. I like how her books don’t necessarily have the endings you expect, but once you’re done, you know they’re the right endings.
The Player of Games Iain M. Banks 12/15/11 1/5/12 The next Culture novel. Just started. Update: Very, very good. It got going a lot faster than Consider Phlebas and it kept going. It had nothing to DO with Consider Phlebas – I have no idea if any of the Culture novels are related, aside from being set in the same universe. These first two don’t share characters or events.
The House That George Built Wilfrid Sheed 12/7/11 Non-fiction (gasp!) about George Gershwin and many, many others. It reminds me that I want to reread The Golden Age of Movie Musicals and Me by Saul Chaplin. Update: I wasn’t crazy about this one. It didn’t follow any sort of pattern that made sense to me. I returned it without finishing it. (It was a library book.)
I Love You, Beth Cooper Larry Doyle 12/9/11 12/12/11 The very beginning was a little painful, but it got good fast. It reads like a movie (and since the author came from TV, that makes sense), and I flew through it. Good stuff.
The Parable of the Sower Octavia Butler 12/4/11 12/7/11 Octavia Butler has been on my must-read list for a long time, but I’ve never picked up one of her books. I picked this one up at the library and was hooked on the first page. What was I waiting for? SO good.
The Hero and the Crown Robin McKinley 12/2/11 12/4/11 I wanted more from this story. Not in the way that sounds, though. I wanted it to keep going. I want more STORY. I get completely wrapped up in her books, and I’m never ready when they end.
Fuzzy Sapiens H. Beam Piper 11/23/11 12/1/11 Also cute, but if they’re supposed to be intelligent and treated like people, why are they being treated like pets?
Little Fuzzy H. Beam Piper 11/19/11 11/22/11 Very cute.
Hidden Empire Orson Scott Card 11/15/11 11/19/11 I’m trying to get past the politics and into the story. It’s harder to do that than it used to be. Update: Story good, preaching bad.
The Beggar Queen Lloyd Alexander 11/11/11 11/13/11 The third book in the Westmark trilogy – same problem, and the ending is rushed.
The Kestrel Lloyd Alexander 11/8/11 11/10/11 The second book in the Westmark trilogy – it’s a little uneven.
Westmark Lloyd Alexander 11/6/11 11/7/11 I’m not sure what prompted this, but I was in the mood to re-read the Westmark trilogy. This one was just like I remembered.
Perdido Street Station China Mieville 10/8/11 11/5/11 This was a recommendation from a Scalzi commenter. It’s dark. Grimy. Let’s start with that and see where it goes from here. Update: It stayed dark and grimy, and the imagery is so vivid – there are scenes that I will never be able to erase from my brain. It was good, definitely, but I’m not in a great hurry to read more.
The Blue Sword Robin McKinley 10/3/11 10/8/11 Robin McKinley. That says enough. Although I just started it, so I’ll probably say more later. Later: I love her. I don’t have all of her books yet (but I will), and I’m hoping she’s planning on writing tons more.
Consider Phlebas Iain M. Banks 9/14/11 9/24/11 Not quite space opera, but definitely far-future science fiction with aliens and space wars. This is the first book in the Culture series, and it’s a little hard to get into, but it’s going now. Yeah, I liked it. Surprised by the ending.
Case Histories Kate Atkinson 9/13/11 10/3/11 I have no idea why it took me so long to want to read this, but I really liked it.
The Broken Kingdoms N.K. Jemisin 9/7/11 9/12/11 2nd in The Inheritance Trilogy (that started with the 100K Kingdoms). Update: Loved!
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms N.K. Jemisin 9/1/11 9/6/11 I’m only 40 pages in and totally hooked. I like the writing style. Update: Really good! There are a couple of places where I feel like maybe I missed something, but I read it in a kind of disjointed way, so I’m inclined to blame the reader, not the writer.
Best Served Cold Joe Abercrombie 8/11/11 8/31/11 Fantasy, but the dark and gritty kind. Just started it. We’ll see.
Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro 8/7/11 8/8/11 This was a weird movie that could have been good. (Carey Mulligan was very good in it.) The book was better (as usual), but it left me with too many questions. Good, but not satisfying.
Faerie Wars Herbie Brennan 8/2/11 8/7/11 Stupid title, ridiculous cover art. The book was recommended, though, and it was pretty good. Definitely young adult fiction. Keep that in mind. And, of course, it’s the first book in a series. Isn’t everything?
The Pumpkin Eater Penelope Mortimer 7/31/11 8/1/11 My sister wanted me to read this. I’m going to call her to ask her WHY. Why did she put me through this book?
Spindle’s End Robin McKinley 7/26/11 7/31/11 Robin McKinley. I’ve decided I love her. It’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Really good.
Bold as Love Gwyneth Jones 7/22/11 7/26/11 Contemporary British science fiction with rock stars taking over the government. It’s the first in a 4-book series (I didn’t know that until I looked it up on Amazon). It’s…interesting.
Changes Jim Butcher The most recent (except for the one about to come out) Dresden Files book. Oh the ending. I need the next one.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Philip Jose Farmer The first in the Riverworld Saga, a series I’m supposed to have read. Or so I understand. If this turns out to be like Ringworld (Larry Niven), I will be disappointed. I didn’t particularly like that book, and I could get in trouble at a science fiction convention for saying that. Update: I gave up on it. I might pick it up again someday, but it wasn’t doing anything for me. Practically no character development and hardly any plot.
Born to Run Christopher McDougall To keep me from reading a scary book at night, I’m also reading this. Not scary. But very good. Both intimidating and inspiring. It makes me want to try going a little more barely there with my running shoes.
Heart-Shaped Box Joe Hill This is a scary book, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it. Okay, it was scary right at the beginning, and that first night, I decided not to read it in bed. After that, though, it didn’t scare me. That’s not to say it wasn’t good. It was. But I wasn’t too scared to read it. It reminded me of Stephen King sometimes, and I can’t tell if that’s good or bad.
Side Jobs Jim Butcher A collection of short stories from The Dresden Files.
Turn Coat Jim Butcher Book 11 of The Dresden Files – a new book!
Small Favor Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 10 of The Dresden Files.
White Night Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 9 of The Dresden Files.
Proven Guilty Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 8 of The Dresden Files. Much as I enjoy these books, I think I’m reading them back to back like this because then I don’t have to make any hard decisions about what to read next. It’s much easier to just pick up the next book in the series.
Dead Beat Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 7 of The Dresden Files. I might have a problem.
Blood Rites Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 6 of The Dresden Files. I just can’t stop.
Death Masks Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 5 of The Dresden Files.
Summer Knight Jim Butcher Re-reading Book 4 of The Dresden Files.
Grave Peril Jim Butcher End of May 2011 Early June 2011 Re-reading Book 3 of The Dresden Files.
The Blue Bedroom Rosamunde Pilcher Late May 2011 Later May 2011 Oh, Rosamunde Pilcher, I love you. Short stories that made me tear up a couple of times.
Fool Moon Jim Butcher Late May 2011 Later May 2011 Re-reading Book 2 of The Dresden Files. Still good.
Burglars Can’t Be Choosers Lawrence Block Late May 2011 Later May 2011 The first Bernie Rhodenbarr book. It’s cute. I like it better when he has friends, though. And a bookstore.
Storm Front Jim Butcher Late May 2011 Later May 2011 Starting my re-read of The Dresden Files. I picked up the last one I knew I’d read, remembered part of the ending but nothing at all about what appeared to be a somewhat important character, and decided that rather than just re-read that one before starting the next one, I’d re-read the whole series. I do really like these books.
Bitterwood James Maxey Fantasy, dragons, dragon-slayers – we’ll see. It came highly recommended. Update: it was good. I have the other two in the trilogy and will read them soon. (The fact that I didn’t rush immediately into the second one means something, but not a ton.)
Heyday Kurt Andersen A novel set in turn of the century New York. Isn’t it funny how “turn of the century” still means late 1800’s/early 1900’s? I gave up on this one. It didn’t grab me, and there were a couple of scenes near the beginning (and one character in particular) that totally grossed me out, so I decided not to put myself through it. I figure 130 pages in is plenty of time to make an informed decision. I vote no.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Stieg Larssen Listened to it via audiobook while exercising. Took me FOREVER to get through it that way, but it was really good. Towards the end, I listened to it anytime someone wasn’t actually talking to me.
The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams Lawrence Block I decided to take a break from science fiction and read a light mystery. I like these.
The Windup Girl Paolo Bacigalupi Interesting, but not really my style. It’s set in Thailand in the future, and it’s dirty and grubby and hot and muggy and hungry (the guy set the scene very well, actually), full of ambitious and unscrupulous people. Not normally a problem in reading material I choose, but it took me a while to get into it. And then it ended just as it was getting interesting to me. Not a glowing review, I guess.
Forever Free Joe Haldeman While I was on the subject, I read the third one. Not as good, and he totally cheated at the end.
Forever Peace Joe Haldeman I liked this one as much as The Forever War. I would have read a sequel here.
The Forever War Joe Haldeman More classic science fiction I’d never heard of until recently. So far, so good.
Inside of a Dog Alexandra Horowitz That was pretty interesting. I’d like to see it taken a step further into training, but I definitely like having more insight into what the dogs may actually be paying attention to. I love them.
Beyond the Shadows Brent Weeks End of the trilogy. I enjoyed the whole thing, but I think the author overreached a little with this one. The story got too big for just a trilogy. He tied up some loose ends a little too neatly (and quickly) and left others loose with no hope of resolution. I still really liked it, though. Ninja assassins!
Shadow’s Edge Brent Weeks Finished the first one and jumped straight into the second one. Good fantasy.
The Way of Shadows Brent Weeks John is reading the third book in this trilogy, and he’s been enjoying it so much I decided to read the first one. So far, I like it very much. It boils down to your standard fantasy plot (so far, anyway), with an orphan in training to be an assassin, but why mess with what works? I’m enjoying it.
The Liar Stephen Fry Stephen Fry’s first novel (I think). It’s taking me a while to get a feel for the plot. In fact, I’m still working on that. Update: The end threw me. I enjoyed it, but I feel like the author cheated a little.
My Love Affair with England Susan Allen Toth Non-fiction, makes me wish I had more time (and money) to spend wandering around England. I finished the book with a strong desire to visit gardens.
No Second Chance Harlan Coben This was a recommendation. A good one. Mystery/thriller/cops and lawyers and doctors and a kidnapping. Good stuff.
Humans Donald Westlake I picked this one up because I was looking for a different Donald Westlake novel. It was cute. A little cutesy. Entertaining enough. Not bad. What a recommendation.
Tool of the Trade Joe Haldeman I like Joe Haldeman. Even though I think of H.R. Haldeman every time I pick up one of his books. And I liked this book. It’s only barely science fiction. I’d call it 90% spy thriller, 10% science fiction, and that 10% is only a plot device. Since I like spy thrillers and science fiction, I’m very happy with this combination.
Dead Until Dark Charlaine Harris Light and entertaining, but with the potential to be annoying. I think I wouldn’t like this series if I hadn’t already seen three seasons of the TV show. (This is the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books, which are what the HBO show True Blood is based on.)
The Girl Who Played With Fire Stieg Larssen I still don’t own the next book, but I’m confident I can hold out until the paperback comes out. All the Swedish last names are starting to run together.
A Test of Wills Charles Todd An Ian Rutledge mystery (haunted detective in post-WWI England). Good. I might try to read these in order some day, but it doesn’t really matter. This one is the first, though, if anyone’s interested.
The English American Alison Larkin Much better, although I’m wincing in advance. I think the main character is about to get her heart broken by just about everyone she knows.
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England Brock Clarke I’ll let you know. At the moment, I’m hoping the main character matures a bit as the story goes on. Update: he hadn’t matured by the middle of the book, so I gave up. I really wasn’t interested.
Small Town Lawrence Block Lawrence Block murder mystery (not part of a series). This one is 9/11-centric and a bit more graphic than some of his others. It was good, but I’m not sure I liked it as much.
Swan Thieves Elizabeth Kostova Really good. It’s been too long since I read The Historian to really compare (same author – this is her second book, I think), but I think I liked this one better.
Princess Academy Shannon Hale Young adult, cute story. I like about half of the premise (the part where the girls have to go to school, real school, to learn how to be a princess, not so much the part where the priests or whoever divined that the future princess had to come from a particular town and then the girls had to compete for the position).
The Alien Years Robert Silverberg This book felt a bit cliche to me. Aliens invade and tough-minded people hide out in the mountains and form the resistance. I enjoyed it, but it’s not going on my favorites list.
Sunshine Robin McKinley The narrator was sometimes a little annoying, but I was able to get past that. The most frustrating thing about the book was that it ended and left me with more questions. Not about the plot, really, but about the backstory. What’s up with her family, on both sides? What about her boyfriend? How about the history? I want more.
Agent to the Stars John Scalzi A quick, fun read. I’ve read all the Scalzi I have now. Must get myself to the bookstore.
Rainbows End Vernor Vinge Near-future science fiction that took me a little longer than usual to get into, but I did, and I liked it. Even though the main character was a mean jerk.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson I feel like I’ve caught up to the rest of the world now. It was entertaining, and the only reason I didn’t jump right into the second one is that I don’t own the third one yet.
Another View Rosamunde Pilcher Early January 2011 Early January 2011 Rosamunde Pilcher. I felt like I should read one of hers while I was in the UK. This particular story falls in the lower end of the middle when compared to some of her other books.
Something Rotten Jasper Fforde Early January 2011 Early January 2011 I love my Thursday Next novels. A motorway services plays a part in this book, so I found it very helpful to have been to one before I got to that part. Those stories are a bit more accessible when you’ve actually visited some of the areas Fforde writes about.
The Burglar in the Closet Lawrence Block Late December 2010 Late December 2010 Lawrence Block has become one of my go-to authors when I’m traveling. Easy and enjoyable plane reading.
Blackout Connie Willis That last book wasn’t really my cup of tea, and I can’t tell you how relieved I was to be totally hooked by this book within three paragraphs.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog!) Jerome K. Jerome The first book I ever read by Connie Willis (who I love), To Say Nothing of the Dog, was written in the style of this book, and since I like that one so much, I figured I’d read this one. Just barely started it, so I’ll keep you posted. Update: Didn’t do it for me. I’m glad Connie Willis got her inspiration from it, but I much prefer her book.
Origin Diana Abu Jaber Crime novel set in Syracuse. In winter. I’ve done that once. I don’t ever need to do it again. But that’s not the point of the book. The book was really good. It made me want more information on the some of the side characters, which can only be a good thing.
The Well of Lost Plots Jasper Fforde The next Thursday Next novel. Love these books. They make me want to read MORE. And not just this series.
Treason’s Shore Sherwood Smith This is the last in a fantasy series I really like. The first book reminds me of Ender’s Game in the way the younger characters (which is most of the main characters) are written. I’m trying to space it out and read it slower. I don’t want the story to be over.
Matthew Flinders’ Cat Bryce Courtenay Holly noticed that I really like The Power of One, so she sent me another Bryce Courtenay book. ‘Cause she’s cool.
The Towers of Midnight Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson Even nerdier now. It’s the next to last book! And even though they weren’t all good, I’ve been reading this series for 20 years, and I’m a little sad it’s almost over.
The Gathering Storm Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson Allow me to be nerdier than usual for a bit. This is book twelve in the Wheel of Time series. It came out last year. The next one just came out, and I need to re-read this one before I’m allowed to read the new one.
Count Zero William Gibson I’d be reading Neuromancer if I had a copy, but since I don’t, I’m reading this. Like the Greg Bear book, I’m having a hard time staying interested. I haven’t been in the mood to read lately, which is scary all by itself. Update now that I’ve finished it: It got better, I got interested, and I liked it. I think Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash was influenced by this. A lot.
Slant Greg Bear I’m trying a Greg Bear book. I’m having a hard time getting into it, but I haven’t spent much time on it, so I’m hoping I’ll get hooked. I’ve been very distracted lately. Update: I liked it. Characters didn’t repeat until six chapters in, but it was pretty good.
The Power of One Bryce Courtenay We watched the movie recently (I’d never seen it), and John (who’d seen it, but never read it) bought the book immediately and devoured it. My turn. Really good!
Eight Million Ways to Die Lawrence Block Typical Lawrence Block, meaning it was pretty good. I go back and forth about Matt Scudder (the detective in this series). I prefer the Burglar series, but these work as a palate cleanser.
Beauty Robin McKinley Loved this one. It’s Beauty and the Beast, but very nicely done. Practical heroine. The ending is a little abrupt, but I’m looking forward to reading others by the same author.
The Magician’s Assistant Ann Patchett Ann Patchett’s latest. I love her other two, so my hopes are high. And now that I’ve read it, I did really like it. Bel Canto is still my favorite, though. This one was sadder throughout than the other two I’ve read.
The Emperor’s Children Claire Messud I must have picked this one up at a book sale, and I don’t remember why. I mean, it’s not the sort of book that usually catches my eye. It’s fairly good so far, but it’s got too many main characters, and I don’t really like any of them. Lots of main characters is fine with me when I enjoy reading about them. This is a little more like work. Update: Yeah, I didn’t like it. I never got to the point where I liked the characters. I mostly wanted them to shut up already, get over themselves, and THEN they brought in 9/11. (The book was set in New York.) There’s nothing wrong with including it in the plot, but it felt manipulative. If it was supposed to explain the characters’ actions at the end, or show that nothing really changes or I don’t know what, it didn’t succeed with me. I hate it when I just don’t care.
Flashforward Robert J. Sawyer The book the not-very-good TV series was based on. Aside from the main premise and a couple of minor character points, it’s NOTHING like the TV series. That’s a good thing ’cause this book isn’t bad.
Every Secret Thing Laura Lippman This was my first Laura Lippman novel. Really liked it. Like, couldn’t put it down liked it.
Breath Tim Winton Good. Not what I usually read, and the ending was a little rocky, but I liked the descriptions of Australia and surfing.
Slanted Jack Mark Van Name Sequel to One Jump Ahead, which was fun science fiction. Sadly, it was more fun than its sequel. Slanted Jack finds our hero in a state of almost perpetual rage, and it’s kind of boring. He doesn’t need to be that angry. Or if he does, I need a better explanation. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t think it was a good follow-up to One Jump Ahead.
The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein It was okay. I liked the narrative device of telling the story through the dog, and I liked that an explanation for why the dog had such human thoughts and reactions was included, but I think there was a little TOO much drama. It got a little tiring.
The Short Forever Stuart Woods A Stone Barrington novel. Who names their son Stone? He’s an ex-cop turned lawyer (aren’t they all ex-cops?) who meets lots of beautiful women, has a history with most of them, and sleeps with all of them. The mystery itself is pretty good.
The Sins of the Fathers Lawrence Block Lawrence Block book with Matthew Scudder as the detective. Unlike the burglar series, Scudder is a hardboiled freelance not-licensed detective who used to be a cop. I like him.
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Dorothy Sayers I started this a couple of days ago, and I’m having a hard time getting interested in it. I was able to get into it eventually, and I liked it well enough, but I’m not all that excited to try another Dorothy Sayers book.
Zoe’s Tale John Scalzi The next Scalzi book. It’s a retelling of the last one from the point of view of the teenager, and it’s done pretty well. I did end up really liking it, but it took me a little bit to get into it. Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it means I don’t think like a teenage girl anymore.
Small Favor Jim Butcher The next Dresden Files book. And for now, the last one I own. I need to find the next one soon.
A Fire Upon the Deep Vernor Vinge Whenever I’m at a used bookstore, I look for science fiction I’ve heard about but never tried. This is one I’ve always meant to read, but never really felt strongly about. I don’t know why I resist some books. Especially when I usually end up really liking the ones I resist, like this one. Good book.
Lost in a Good Book Jasper Fforde This is the sequel to The Eyre Affair, which was crazy and quirky and very good. And literate. It helps to know your classic literature when you read these. I really enjoy these. This one doesn’t stand alone as well as the first one. It’s more of a middle-of-the-series book, but it introduces some really neat ideas.
The Machineries of Joy Ray Bradbury I put this one down. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for short stories.
The Accidental Time Machine Joe Haldeman A recent Joe Haldeman novel that I wasn’t crazy about. It was fine, but not great, and if this were the first book of his I’d read, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to read more. It’s not, so I’m not giving up. Besides, I’ve heard an awful lot about The Forever War, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Murder on the Orient Express Agatha Christie I’m pretty sure I’ve read this one before, but I don’t remember whodunit, so I figured I’d read it again. Since I’m in a mystery mood…
White Night Jim Butcher Dresden Files. Still really like them.
The Burglar in the Rye Lawrence Block I just started it, but it’s going well so far.
Under Gemini Rosamunde Pilcher A short Rosamunde Pilcher novel that, aside from one jarring scene that might not have been jarring in 1976 when it was written, I really liked it. I’d say this one goes in the middle category for her books; it’s not one of the great ones, but it’s better than some of her others.
Proven Guilty Jim Butcher The next Dresden Files book. I hope I’m reading these in order…
The Likeness Tana French Tana French’s second novel, after In the Woods, was also really good. I think I might have liked this one more, actually.
Warbreaker Brandon Sanderson Another good Sanderson novel. It’s not even a little bit related to his others and it has a completely different system of magic from his other books, which is pretty cool. Okay, it’s totally geeky, but you know what I mean.
Hit List Lawrence Block Another Lawrence Block mystery, this time about a hit man who’s been targeted. Funny! And good. The ending was a little bit of a letdown, but it was for the main character, too, so I can live with that. I feel like there was a reason for it.
Dead Beat Jim Butcher The next Dresden Files book. I must have been on a series kick. Still good!
The Last Colony John Scalzi The next book after The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi, whose writing I love. More science fiction.
Children of God Mary Doria Russell This is the sequel to The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It’s definitely science fiction (space travel, alien races, etc), but it’s mostly about philosophy and religion and dealing with consequences. And it’s really good. Both books were.
Nose Down, Eyes Up Merrill Markoe I’m not sure about this one. I want to like it more than I do. There are parts that make me laugh out loud, and other parts not so much. It’s supposed to be light, but I still need to care about the characters, and I don’t.
The Ghost Brigades John Scalzi Sequel to Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, and I liked it very much. One more trip to a used bookstore, and now I own all but one of his books (in that series).
A Dance at the Slaughterhouse Lawrence Block Lawrence Block again, different lead character, TOTALLY different style of mystery. Still good.
In The Woods Tana French I just started it, and I like it, but it’s too early for me to tell. Update: I did really like it, but I feel a little cheated by the ending. Cheated may not be the right word…it’s a good ending, but I wanted more resolution.
Blood Rites Jim Butcher Dresden Files #6.
The Burglar in the Library Lawrence Block mid-May 2010 mid-May 2010 Lawrence Block, cozy mystery, LOVED IT.
Death Masks Jim Butcher The fifth Dresden Files book. Still brain candy and I still like these books. He’s doling out clues about Dresden’s backstory, and I’m hooked.
The Impossible Bird Patrick O’Leary So far, weird and a little confusing. I’ll let you know. Update: it stayed weird and confusing and I didn’t like it.
Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future Mike Resnick Science fiction by Mike Resnick, another guy who was recommended to me by I don’t remember who. I’m in the middle of this one and enjoying it. It’s basically a western set in space. I did end up really liking this one.
Prisoner of Birth Jeffrey Archer I listened to this one in the car. It’s a Jeffrey Archer novel, and I really liked it. I think I liked it more because I was listening, not reading. The actor doing the reading could do all the accents, and I’m sure it wouldn’t have nearly as good if I’d been trying to hear those accents in my head.
The Archer’s Tale Bernard Cornwall Silly historical fiction by Bernard Cornwall. I’d never read anything by Cornwall. John picked this one up at a book sale, read it, liked it okay, and that’s about my reaction, too. It was okay. There’s a sequel (and possibly more – it turns into a Holy Grail quest series), but John’s taking a while with it, and I don’t think I’m that interested.
Infinite Dreams Joe Haldeman I picked this up because I’d heard good things about Joe Haldeman and wanted to try some short stories first. I liked them all, and he wrote when some of my favorite science fiction writers were writing, so I’m hooked. A novel of his will be on my shelf soon.
The Dresden Files, Books 1 through 4 Jim Butcher I’m enjoying this series, as light fantasy/mystery, but I wouldn’t call it good. No, good, but not great. Total brain candy.
Run Ann Patchett The is the book Ann Patchett wrote after Bel Canto. I don’t think it’s quite as good, but it’s still really really good. I started it one day and finished it the next. Totally engrossing.
Bel Canto Ann Patchett I love this book. I’m re-reading it now, and it’s like watching a movie with the sound turned off. Or replaced with opera (more fitting to the story). It’s that visual.
The Road Cormac McCarthy It was good. It wasn’t cheerful, but I don’t think I’ve read any postapocalyptic speculative fiction that was. A very grim look at the future, but also a good book.
Ender in Exile Orson Scott Card Just as good as the others, and satisfying to have some of that lost time filled in.
A War of Gifts Orson Scott Card It’s a short novel by Orson Scott Card, set in the Ender universe, and definitely aimed at little kids. I still like his writing, but this wasn’t my favorite.
Bodily Harm Margaret Atwood In the middle of it. Nope, I gave up on it. Nothing is happening, and I’ve realized lately that I really need a book to have a plot.
Run Before the Wind Stuart Woods Mystery by Stuart Woods. I heard somewhere (don’t remember where – it was a while ago) that his mysteries were pretty good, so I’ve picked up a few at book sales. This the first one I’ve read, and it was pretty good. Not everything was obvious. I suspected a few people all the way to the end and was wrong.
Storm Front Jim Butcher This is the first of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. I’d heard good things about them somewhere (can’t remember where), so I bought a bunch of them from a used bookstore. It was okay. Kind of a weird combination of hard-boiled detective novel and magic/fantasy. I’ll read a few more in the series (quick reads) before I give up.
Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett I love this book (although it, too, overdoes the sex a bit, but that’s just something to keep in mind when reading ANYthing by Ken Follett), and I’m re-reading it so I can go read the sequel, World Without End.
Outlander Diana Gabaldon Early February 2010 In the middle of it now. And I quit. Not interested. The writing isn’t good enough to keep me interested in the story, which, sex scenes aside, could have been good. Jess suggested that it might be better to listen to it to then to read it, and I’ll certainly keep that in mind.
The Taking Dean Koontz Typical Dean Koontz. A very capable couple, an ultra-intelligent and loyal dog, innocent kids to keep safe, and some kind of world-ending disaster. This one was a little weirder, a little grosser, than some, but as usual, it makes for good (not good) travel reading.
This Rough Magic Mary Stewart I liked it, and I can certainly see why Jess does (The Tempest, anyone?). Plus so many people could be the bad guy! I like this kind of little mystery/adventure. It’s fun.
Flowers in the Rain Rosamunde Pilcher A collection of Rosamunde Pilcher’s short stories. I’ve just started it, but I really liked one of the first ones. I just really like her. The rest of the stories were hit or miss, despite their similarities. Some were just better than others. This collection doesn’t fall in the really good category, but they’re nice, feel-good, love stories.
Anathem Neal Stephenson The ending was a little…odd, and I feel like things could have been explained a little better for readers (like me) who got a little tired of wading through the technical and philosophical discussions. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who wasn’t already a big fan of Neal Stephenson’s. But I did like it. I found myself lingering over breakfast before work because I didn’t want to put it down and have to wait to read again until I got home again.
Flesh and Spirit and Breath and Bone Carol Berg Two books by Carol Berg that were really good. Total fantasy, so if you’re not into that, you won’t like them at all, but as we all know, I am into that. I really liked them. Good characters, good story. Well paced.
Pope Joan Donna Woolfolk Cross Really good historical fiction. Was there ever really a Pope Joan? Who knows? But it was a good story, well-written, even though at times I found myself thinking (Mom agreed) that there’s no way people then would have had some of those conversations.
Her Fearful Symmetry Audrey Niffenegger Now that I’m further away from it, I like it again. I liked it while I was reading it, and I liked it right after, but then I started thinking and talking about it, and I voiced all the things that bugged me about it. It’s been a while, so I like it again. Mostly. There were just some things about the end that seemed a little off. The journey through the book was good.
Whole Harry Potter series J.K. Rowling Again. I love those books. I just needed to read the whole thing from start to finish.
A Long Shadow Charles Todd This is one of a series of mysteries set just after World War I in England. Inspector Ian Rutledge is the protagonist. I liked it. Good mystery, good story.
The Witches of Eastwick John Updike I’m not sure why I even picked this one up. I didn’t like the writing at all.
The Gathering Storm Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson The latest in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, written by Brandon Sanderson since Jordan died a couple of years ago. Loved it, but that was to be expected. I don’t think I can be objective about something like this.
Thornyhold Mary Stewart This was a very nice book. Sort of a juvenile romance, very light on the romance (aw, they met and fell in love, in the last tiny bit of the book) and pretty light on the magic. It was just nice. Like the good Rosamunde Pilcher books.
Snow in April Rosamunde Pilcher A slightly better Rosamunde Pilcher book, but the love story part was more unbelieveable then in The Day of the Storm. Still nice to read, but no need to reread.
Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut I haven’t actually finished this one yet.
The Day of the Storm Rosamunde Pilcher A not great Rosamunde Pilcher book. It was nice to read, but not something I loved, not something I need to reread.
Old Man’s War John Scalzi Loved it. I really like Scalzi, and this book had a (deliberate) Heinlein feel to it (and I love Heinlein, so that can only be good). Now that I’ve read and really liked two of his books, I’m going to have find all the rest. And read his blog.
Holy Fools Joanne Harris I had a harder time getting into this one than I did the last Joanne Harris book I read (Gentlemen and Players), but I ended up liking it.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle David Wroblewski I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I like the parts that were actually about the dogs, and one of those made me cry a little, but the end took me by surprise and is why I only liked it.
The Magicians Lev Grossman This was billed as Harry Potter for adults. I can see why, since there’s a school for kids who can do magic, but that’s where the similarity ends. There are more parallels (overt) to the Narnia books, and I don’t think I liked it that much. It changes the way you look at some of those stories, and that’s both interesting and bad. I was happy with how I thought and felt about those stories. Leave me alone!
King’s Shield Sherwood Smith This is book three of the Inda series, and it was really good. I’m annoyed the fourth book isn’t out in paperback yet, ’cause I can’t quite let the story go.
Mars Trilogy Kim Stanley Robinson Very good, but sometimes dry. Took a long time to get through all three books.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Diaz I’m getting through it, enjoying it to some extent, but it’s not my thing.
Promised Land Connie Willis Light fiction. Didn’t start well (main character is a total bitch), but she came around and so did the story.
The Practice Effect David Brin This is an older science fiction story by David Brin, who I’m not really familiar with. It was a little silly, but mostly entertaining. Nothing special.
The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger Love it. Love it, love it, love it. But I think I’m ready to put it to rest. I’ll see the movie and then maybe be able to move on.
Fablehaven Brandon Mull Interesting story, but still a children’s book. The first couple of Harry Potter books still feel aimed at an older age group than this one.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers Not for me. It’s a memoir and the guy tries out too many styles. I couldn’t get into it enough to care.
The Shell Seekers Rosamunde Pilcher Really like this one, too. Cried twice.
The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell Super good. Science fiction, but barely. It was about a tortured soul trying to come to terms with what happened to him, and letting the rest of know what happened in the meantime.
September Rosamunde Pilcher Really liked it. It was a nice, comfortable book, with a lovely story about a couple of families in Scotland. Present day, just small family dramas, no really major conflict.
The Secret of Lost Things Sheridan Hay It didn’t turn out to be what I thought it was when I started it. I really liked it at the beginning, but then I didn’t care about the plot anymore once we got about halfway in.
The Alienist Caleb Carr This was a recommendation from Joe and Megan. It took a while to pick up, but when it did, I couldn’t put it down. The end was a little unsatisfying, though.
One Jump Ahead Mark Van Name Science fiction, action, pretty good.
The Pilot’s Wife Anita Shreve Totally did not see the ending coming, and in this case, I don’t think that’s a good thing. I enjoyed it, but the ending took me by surprise and out of the story. A lot.
Dune Frank Herbert early summer 2009 Good science fiction. It ends kind of abruptly, but you can definitely walk away from it. It’s not a cliffhanger for the other however many books in the series.
The Android’s Dream John Scalzi Really liked it, but in a totally different way. It was light, fun, entertaining. No crying here.
The Book Thief Markus Zusak Really liked it. Cried at the end.
Eifelheim Michael Flynn It just didn’t grab me. I liked the present-day story more than the aliens in the 14th century story, but I didn’t believe there was enough evidence for the present-day people to come to the right conclusions.
The Boy Detective Fails Joe Meno Meh. Not my kind of book, I think.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Douglas Adams I laughed a few times, but I think I just wasn’t in the mood.
The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde Totally weird, totally awesome.
People of the Book Geraldine Brooks Fantastic!
Otherland series Tad Williams Long, but gripping.
The Samurai’s Garden Gail Tsukiyama Bittersweet, serene.
Gentlemen and Players Joanne Harris I totally guessed, but still very much enjoyed the ride.
Hero of Ages (Mistborn) Brandon Sanderson Loved that I didn’t figure out what was being hinted at the whole time.
War of the Flowers Tad Williams Enjoyed it, but didn’t love it.
Axis Robert Charles Wilson Spin was better.
Yiddish Policemen’s Union Michael Chabon February 2009 February 2009 Didn’t grab me until the last third. That’s a lot of pages to wade through to finally get interested.


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