rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
What I've read
The One That Got Away by Victoria Alexander, Liz Carlyle, Eloisa James & Cathy Maxwell
A collection of four Regency romance novellas that I got because I was being completionist about Eloisa James and the library didn't have it.  I probably liked the James the best, but none of them were very memorable; neither were any of them terrible, and they were just right for tired me at the start of the year.  It also was a book off my to-read pile before I managed to buy any more, which almost never happens.

Lotus Face and the Fox by Nghi Vo
A beautiful little short story with a tiny hint of fantasy.

The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan
A novelette imagining Peter Pan and one of Wendy's descendants, with a seasoning of Fleming; I found it by turns funny, silly, and creepy (a bit like the original then).

Telling the Bees by T. Kingfisher
"There was a girl who died every morning, and it would not have been a problem except that she kept bees."  That's the opening line to this very short but lovely fantasy story.

What I'm reading now
Does the OU textbook on marketing count? I am not enjoying this section of the module very much but the deadline loometh.

What I'll read next
More short fiction - it's a lot easier to read the odd one here or there than a novel-length book.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
What I've read
Mostly comfort-reading: I was predictable and went for Kushiel's ChosenKushiel's Avatar to follow up Kushiel's Dart.  I also picked up and demolished the next in the Eloisa James Regency farcical romances: The Taming of the Duke, ditto one of my extensive to-read pile: Sleeping Tiger by Rosamunde Pilcher.

I mentioned the new novella Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold already: I've reread it once since and it's still very good.  On second viewing I was struck by Penric's essential kindness to people around him and how this ultimately works to his benefit, rather like Cordelia Naismith.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of a new Lia Silver book being released: Mated to the Meerkat is a delightfully funny shapeshifter romance and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It's pretty short, but it was also only 99p, and it brightened yesterday morning and lunchtime considerably.  Worth every penny, A+, will read again.


What I'm reading
I continue to enjoy updates from [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan greatly, and I'm still making my way through A Girl and Her Fed archives in fits and starts.  I'm also listening my way through podfic of your blue eyed boys, mostly at bedtime to stop myself staring at bright light before sleep, and I'm very much enjoying the reader's voice and interpretation. It's a slower way of taking in the story for me, and I find I realise details and turns of phrase I hadn't in the rush of reading it myself.


What I'll read next
For the next few evenings at least, my next assignment for the OU takes priority.  Thrill at costing methods! Gasp at budget variances! Despair when numbers don't reconcile!

After that, who knows? I feel I should round up some enthusiasm for Hugo reading before I completely run out of time to vote.
rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read

I haven't been reading many books lately.  I have been reading my way through the archives of A Girl and Her Fed, by the author K B Spangler, recommended by [personal profile] davidgillon .  I've also been thoroughly enjoying the ongoing adventures of [personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan and her circle of actors, musicians, and scientists (not to mention the wombatt).

Otherwise, I put down Two's Company by Jill Mansell because I was temporarily annoyed by it, and expect I will pick it up again when I am feeling less easily annoyed.

I started reading Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan, which was a library book I picked up as the first of a trilogy; it's set in Hong Kong and has some really interesting magic/mythology going on, but it turns out it's the first of a sequel trilogy and I was failing to keep up with who was who, so I took it back to the library and have requested the first of the previous trilogy to see if I can make any more sense of it.

I read Kiss Me, Annabel by Eloisa James, which was exactly what I wanted the day of a migraine (delightfully farcical period romances with a lot of strong female friendships in them) and am now in a queue for the next in the series to work its way out of the library system.


What I'm reading
I started getting horribly ill yesterday evening, with what turns out to be strep throat, so I have been comforting myself with a reread of Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey.  Which has its issues but remains one of the most sympathetic depictions I've read of sex work & BDSM.  And also the heroine repeatedly achieves things by being clever and sympathetic and understanding of others (as well as hot and good in bed).


What I'll read next
Chances are high it will be the next two sequels to Kushiel's Dart :-)  But I might be radical and read either Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu or The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison as well.

rmc28: (books2010)
 What I've read
[more than usual in the last fortnight I have been sticking to light, predictable reads that I find comforting and escapist]

Much Ado About You
by Eloisa James
A new series of farcical historical romances, this time featuring four sisters (rather than the previous series, which was four friends).  I do like the friendships in these books probably at least as much as the romances.  I also like that the library has them all; they're definitely single-serving books for me.

Archangel's Blood
by Nalini Singh
Second in the "Guild-Hunter" series about a vampire hunter and angels.  This was definitely a bit gorier and getting close to my personal tolerance for that; also to my tolerance for dominant asshole romance "heroes".  I still like the concept and the characters a lot though, and the library has the rest of the series.

Justice Calling
by Annie Bellet
This is a pretty short read (150 pages, but a couple of chapters of the next one are included, so it's rather less than that).  It's a fun urban fantasy: there's shapeshifters and a witch with a secret, and a big tough law enforcer, and peril and plot, and a bit of romance worked in.  It was more or less exactly what I wanted to read right now and I enjoyed it very much.  There are four more books in the series, and a sixth coming out next month; I'm restraining myself from buying the lot right now, but I will be getting them as I clear more of my ebook backlog.

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
This was a library book; I have about 2/3 of Jill Mansell's output on my shelves: contemporary romcoms with interesting people, complicated plots and happy endings, many of which are set in and around Bath, near where I grew up.  I haven't read one I disliked, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.   [I am still migrating my to-read pile into my room, and there are two more by her in it, so I have physically pulled them out to read shortly.]

What I'm reading
I'm part way through rereading Ancillary Sword, and then "T Kingfisher" (Ursula Vernon) released another fairy tale retelling this week, so I am also part way through Bryony and Roses and enjoying it very much.

What I'm reading next
I was sufficiently impressed by G Willow Wilson's defence of A-Force to buy the first issue digitally.  (Though ouch, individual comics on release week is an expensive way to do this hobby.)  I also want to carry on with Daredevil vol 1.
That pair of Jill Mansell books I just found.
Younger by Suzanne Munshower is next up in my ebook list

rmc28: (books2010)
Reading Wednesday! It's been ages.

What I've read
SPIN by Nina Allen
This was for bookclub, and I liked it very much but found the (apparently intentional) ambiguity mildly irritating, and would have happily read a more straightforward book for at least as long again. I conclude that Nina Allen is very talented but possibly not to my taste.

Partner
by Lia Silver
Third in the Werewolf Marines series I adore, I've read it twice and like it very much and am so glad these books exist and I can read them, and there's at least one more to look forward to :-) Partner continues from Prisoner (free at Amazon and Smashwords) with rather more sex and romance as well as lots of evil spy agency action, and resolving in a happy ending while leaving at least one thread open for further stories.

Hild by Nicola Griffith
Another one for book club, though I didn't actually manage to finish it before our discussion, I did enjoy it enough to finish it shortly afterward. It's very immersive and beautifully written and I'm not quite sure why it's marketed as fantasy when it's very clearly novelised history, like Rosemary Sutcliff (only less aimed at children).

Fatal Shadows by Josh Lanyon
The only book in the local library system by Josh Lanyon, this is a modern (1990s?) murder mystery set in LA. The police think the murdery mystery author friend of the victim did it; he knows he didn't, and it's possible he might be next. I enjoyed it and am resisting buying the entire series in ebook until I've caught up my backlog a bit. [ahahaha]

Your Wicked Ways by Eloisa James
Continuing my progress through farcical Regency romance; this book wraps up a quartet of related novels and allocates happy ever afters all around.

The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho
A funny novella in the form of a diary by Jade Yeo, book reviewer in 1920s London, who gives a scathing review to the darling of the literati and then gets into even more trouble. I loved Jade's voice, I loved her cleverness and pointed commentary, and I was completely caught up in the story until the end. I've got a short story collection by Zen Cho waiting to be read, and am looking forward to it on the strength of this.

Notorious Pleasures
by Elizabeth Hoyt (dnf)
Meh. I wanted to like this; its by the same author and earlier in the series as the Regency Batman romance and there is nothing obviously wrong with it, but it wasn't really working for me; when I did get interrupted and put it down for a few days, I found it very hard to pick back up. (also the whole "gin is terrible and should be banned" running plot keeps annoying me because of my support for drug law reform - speaking of political message fiction).

I keep thinking I'm just being moody and finding things to dislike, but then I go back and remember how much I liked Hild and Partner and The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo and Your Wicked Ways. So I think I'm actually just being very picky at the moment which, given my books:time ratio, may not be a bad thing.

What I'm reading now
Hellbender by Dana Cameron, third in the urban fantasy series with an archaologist protagonist, following Seven Kinds of Hell & Pack of Strays.

What I'm reading next
Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh before it really has to go back to the library
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie - rereading so I can write it up/discuss it in [community profile] bookatorium
Justice Calling by Annie Bellet which I just bought because it was already on my wishlist thanks to [personal profile] davidgillon and she's just withdrawn from the Hugo ballot, and it's 99p on Kindle.
rmc28: (books2010)
What I've read
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte as a possible Hugo nominee.  I got a sample of it, was completely sucked in by the end of the sample and read it eagerly until the end.  The book is narrated by someone who keeps living their life over and over, from the 1920s until they die and then go back to the 1920s again - and how he finds others in the same situation, and how he tackles a threat to them all and apparently the entire human race.  I quite often didn't much like the narrator, or his friends, but the story and the gradually expanding discovery of What Is Going On really drew me in.  I definitely recommend it.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (dnf)
This was also recommended by [livejournal.com profile] nwhyte but I didn't get beyond the end of the sample.  At the point it ended, I hadn't liked any of the characters and nothing had happened that made me think it would be exciting or interesting or anyone would get more likeable.   (In contrast to the previous where I didn't much like the characters but the events had sucked me in.)  Would someone who has read it like to encourage me to continue?

Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (dnf)
Mind Sweeper by AE Jones (dnf)
These two were ebooks I've had for a while, and decided to tackle as part of my "clear the TBR pile" project.   Nothing about either of them put me off, but also nothing about either of them drew me in.  The first is a self-published Hannukah romance novella by one of the SBTB contributors, and the second is an paranormal/urban fantasy which won a Golden Heart.  

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
I read this because [personal profile] rachelmanija mentioned the author as an example of someone successfully self-publishing and employing "the first one's free" tactic.  This was the first one free; it's an epic fantasy adventure (someone is trying to assassinate the emperor) but in a steampunk setting with printing presses and steam vehicles.   Amaranthe is an "Enforcer" (a police officer) who ends up disgraced and uncovering the plot against the emperor, and recruiting a bunch of misfits (including an incredibly competent assassin) to save the day.  I found it  fun, and I did really like the way Amaranthe repeatedly got out of sticky situations with persuasion rather than violence. 

I had a couple of niggles with it: while the overt social sexism (women belong in business, not the police!) is criticised, there's a fair bit of casual sexual stereotyping of the "women want comfort not solutions" kind, and some unnecessary angsting over pastries and exercise in the first chapter.  Also, while I like Amaranthe a lot, there weren't any other women characters of any depth.

Even so, I liked the book as a whole enough to not mind the niggles, and the author has a lot more books availble, and seems to be producing them at an impressive rate, so that's a fun discovery.


A Wild Pursuit by Eloisa James
Another of the rather farcical (in a good way) regency romances I'm working through via the library.


What I'm reading now
I'm working through several short story collections at once.  I find I need to read one story at a time and then do something else, and I've got one each going in 3 different places (paperback, Kindle app, Scribd app) ... all I need is to get a fourth going in my main ebook reader and that's a full house:
Kaleidoscope - paperback
Women Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarter-funded special edition of Lightspeed (the Women Destroy Fantasy issue I read last week was produced as a stretch goal for this one) - Kindle
The Girl With No Hands and other stories by Angela Slatter -  Scribd


What's next
Probably Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, as it's eligible for Hugo nomination, and I've had it since release day.  The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (also known as Sarah Monette) if I can swallow the huge ebook price.  Or something off the library pile before I run out of renewals.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I've been nursing a sick toddler since Saturday, and also sick myself for much of the last few days. On the good side I got more reading done!

Books read:

Prisoner by Lia Silver
Laura's Wolf by Lia Silver
These are turning into comfort rereads for me. Also I haven't got over getting a Yuletide gift from the author :-)

Night School: Legacy by CJ Daugherty
This is book 2 in a series about a boarding school for the teenage children of the rich and powerful. It was due back at the library and I started it in a bit of an impatient mood with it and its tropes (undecided between two boys! beautiful mean girls! secret society secretly runs the world!), but eventually the storytelling drew me in and I finished it in a rush before it was library-run time. I don't think I will bother with the rest of the series though.

Fool for Love by Eloisa James
A fairly fun regency romance; second in a series. I find the style a little stilted and the plots completely silly, but there's a lot of charm and I'm a sucker for farce, which I think James does very well. Also though each one has its own "complete" romance story, there's at least three or four more going on in a more long-winded way among the wider cast, and I do want to see those resolved too. (I am not sure why I'm tolerating the romance tropes here better than the young adult ones in "Night School", but I am.)


Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron
Pack of Strays by Dana Cameron
Books 1 & 2 in an urban fantasy series (the third is due out at the end of March) about a trainee archaologist who discovers she's part of a Family, of werewolves and vampires and oracles. They're both fast moving with fairly complicated plots and the archaology is intermittently vital to the plot. The viewpoint protagonist is believably confused and flailing and trying to do the right thing even as it gets harder to figure out what that is.

I enjoyed them very much and I've preordered the next one. I have to thank [personal profile] davidgillon for bringing them to my attention (and writing a better review than I've managed here).

Hostage by Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith
This is the sequel to Stranger, which came out only a short while ago, and which I liked very much. I probably liked this one even more: it raises the stakes, develops the characters and the world a bit further, and has some lovely culture-shock exploration, between the small-town democratic society of Las Anclas, vs the power, wealth and control of the nearby Empire that threatens it. We lost the Mean Girl viewpoint from the first book (though we see her from other points of view) in favour of a new character from the Empire.

The authors have self-published this sequel, after getting the first published through a traditional route, and Sherwood Smith has published a thoughtful piece about that decision, which I think is worth reading if you are generally interested in what's happening with publishing, even if not in post-apocalyptic young-adult novels, or these ones in particular.

Selfishly, I'm glad that this sequel came out so quickly, and I do rather hope both books sell enough that the remaining two books planned can get written too.


Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor
I bought this on the basis of its mention in a podcast transcript by Smart Bitches Trashy Books (the main podcast discussion is on trigger warnings for rape, but this was in the "what have you read recently" bit), and enjoyed it very much. The romance is between a pregnant widow, with four children already, and a Navy SEAL, and it could have been awful, but the way the children in particular were written felt realistic and not-annoying to me, and the romance worked well and showed the two of them having to work their way through conflicts and life-changing decisions if they're going to make things work. It was the SEAL end of things I found less believable, in particular the Last Minute Dramatic Tension about 9/10 of the way through. But overall it worked for me really well, and there's a sequel out in about two weeks which I've preordered.


Next book
No idea, something else easy, ideally off my to-read pile, as I'm still ill.

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