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Forum nameReading Challenges, 2010
Topic subjectLucy's Shelf
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=505&topic_id=991
991, Lucy's Shelf
Posted by Lucy, Sun Sep-05-10 06:34 AM
I'm joining late, and am tempted to try to list off what I've already read this year, but I think I'll just look ahead and aim for 25 books in the last 4 months of the year.

I aim to edit this post later with the titles/authors of books in my TBR pile as well so I can see it shrinking. Ignoring that more than half the books I read are from the library these days.
993, 1. The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams
Posted by Lucy, Wed Sep-08-10 09:02 PM
I had a review typed out and lost it. *sigh*

It was slow to start, but everything came together nicely in the end. There was a lot of historical detail provided as explanation in dialogue from one character to another - this got a little enh towards the middle of the book.

I think I *will* look for the second book in the series, to see if the author follows up with something that can catch my interest and doesn't feel forced. :)
999, 2. P is for Peril by Sue Grafton
Posted by Lucy, Sat Sep-18-10 09:22 PM
The first in the alphabet series that I actually read instead of listening to as an audiobook. I liked it, reading it was a different experience.

The end of this one was a little different, and I'm not sure I liked *that*. It wasn't quite as satisfyingly conclusive as earlier books.

I will definitely be picking up the next one in the series the next time I make it out to the library!
1001, 3. Halfway to Heaven by Susan Wiggs
Posted by Lucy, Mon Sep-20-10 04:54 PM
Grabbed on impulse from the library.

I hate to include romance novels in this list not because I don't consider them to be valid books, but because I can whip through them so quickly that it feels a bit like a cheat.

I liked this book. The heroine was not portrayed as an idiot, the hero wasn't so patronizing that I wanted to beat him with a stick and the love story was quirky enough to keep me engaged the entire way through. I'm glad I picked it up as it was a genre of romantic fiction that I don't think I'd read before (set in the US, but not contemporary and not featuring cowboys!).

I will look for this author again.
1010, 4. Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
Posted by Lucy, Thu Sep-23-10 08:08 PM
A cute romance that was a follow up to one I read earlier in the year. I *didn't* like that the main character - Leo - didn't match up with my impression of him from the earlier book. That said, there were apparently two other books in between the two that I read, so perhaps there was significant development in his character between them.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I`ll keep an eye out for the books I skipped over.
1014, 5. First Impressions by Nora Roberts
Posted by Lucy, Sat Sep-25-10 05:58 PM
A decent contemporary romance from a reliable and prolific author.

It was a 'gentle' romance - not a lot of conflict, just a sort of easing into the inevitable love affair.

I've read lots of books by Nora Roberts, and I'm sure I'll read more.
1015, 6. Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Posted by Lucy, Sun Sep-26-10 01:17 PM
I discovered this author by chance at the library and I'm quite smitten with her at the moment. She writes historical romance, and in this latest novel that I've read, pulls off a manly hero who doesn't ever make me cringe by being heavyhanded or overbearing. Huzzah!

1016, 7. Minx by Julia Quinn
Posted by Lucy, Mon Sep-27-10 01:24 PM
Cute, cute, cute.
1027, 8. Night Shadow by Catherine Coulter
Posted by Lucy, Tue Oct-05-10 08:12 PM
This was the second in the 'night' series by Ms. Coulter, and I haven't read the first. That said, I wsan't missing out on anything - it wasn't even obvious to me who the couple from the first book were until I looked at the author's website.

I liked the sense of humor in this book. I didn't entirely get why the children and Lily (MC) were so afraid and almost subservient. Though they'd recently been through quite a bit, there wasn't really a history that would have moulded them to be so afraid that they'd be thrown out/rejected by Knight.

I found it irritating that the misunderstanding between the couple was so obvious, but I was glad to see the male lead err and acknowledge his error. There definitely should have been more apologizing on his part.

I'll look for the first one, I think.
1029, 9. Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Posted by Lucy, Thu Oct-07-10 01:55 PM
Super cute conclusion to the Wallflowers quartet.

I love love love the pre-existing relationship between the hero and heroine and how that impacts their love story.

I really like that Kleypas doesn't always have her leads 'hate' each other early in the story. It's nice to see the relationship develop from something a little more cordial. ;)

I still want to go back and read Evie's love story, in particular. Lillian sort of drove me nuts, so I'm not overly concerned with finding a copy of the book featuring her.

Probably going to turn to urban fantasy next - I may have nearly od-ed on romance.
1035, 10. My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne
Posted by Lucy, Thu Oct-21-10 10:23 PM
This book was an interesting one - I had read a stack of Harlequin novels between the last one on my list and this. It made it hard to stick with the book the entire way through. I was used to compact stories.

That said, there were some distinct positives in this story. I liked the strong heroine and that the hero loved her from the start. I enjoyed the central plot. I didn't enjoy the use of Cockney in the dialogue, and used a *ton*.
1039, 11. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Posted by Lucy, Sun Oct-24-10 03:12 PM
This was an excellent novel. I really like October, the MC. She's gutsy, appropriately respectful and I like her voice.

The whole urban fantasy female lead as lone wolf detective with huge emotional baggage thing is getting a little worn - I'd like to write a story about a woman who is surrounded from the start with family and friends, who is cheery and positive.

Anywho, I liked that this book promises so much more while still being a contained story. The owing of favours, her unresolved relationships with her husband and daughters and the hints about what could be going on with Tybalt. I really look forward to following up on those threads.
1040, 12. Dangerous by Amanda Quick
Posted by Lucy, Mon Oct-25-10 08:45 PM
I always enjoy Jayne Ann Krentz, and most especially her books published under the name Amanda Quick. I love that her historical romances always feature inquisitive, capable women who enchant men who are typically above them in station/power/whatever.

1041, 13. A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
Posted by Lucy, Tue Oct-26-10 06:22 PM
Love, love, love this series. Fantastic! I want to be this author. ;)
1057, 14. An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire
Posted by Lucy, Fri Nov-12-10 09:51 PM
Went out and bought this one so I'd be caught up with the series.

Ready for the relationship between MC and Talbot to heat up big time.

I read a critique of urban fantasy before I picked this up that was criticizing authors who write characters who take a beating and are conveniently healed so that they never suffer for their injuries. It did make me pause as I was reading this, because it's certainly a criticism one could have of McGuire's books. But I enjoyed it anyways. :)
1058, 15. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews
Posted by Lucy, Fri Nov-12-10 09:54 PM
I've had this book in my TBR for over a year. I think I had put off reading it so long, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the series.

I did find Curran overbearingly arrogant at times, but I was glad to get answers to the questions about the MC's background in this book. The vagueness in the first two drove me nuts!

I like the Andrews' take on the urban fantasy world. It's different enough to be thoroughly interesting.
1059, 16. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Posted by Lucy, Fri Nov-12-10 09:58 PM
I had to get this from the library to finish up the series (as it is available). Love the developments with Curran. This could have been the last book and I would have been satisfied even though there's still the issue of Kate's father to resolve.
1060, 17. Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Posted by Lucy, Fri Nov-12-10 10:11 PM
Not your typical romance novel. I was expecting the romance component to be stronger, particularly as it was published by a Harlequin imprint. Still, the story itself was solid, and while at first I wasn't sure I was going to be into it, I was hooked by the end. So much so that I bought the next three in the series - possibly with the desire to get to the HEA....
1063, 18+19. Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn and Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn
Posted by Lucy, Tue Nov-16-10 03:50 PM
I'm devouring this series. I'm already a third of the way through the fourth book, and quite put out that there isn't a fifth on the shelves already.

Nicholas reminds me a bit of the male lead in Holly Lisle's Stardoc series in that he drives me nuts by not being more forthcoming about what he's about. I just want to shake him and tell him and Julia to actually share strategy together. I'd be over the moon if they actually manage it in the next book.

I also felt a little cheated that the big romantic declaration was paraphrased. If Raybourn had given us a solid romantic interlude, some physical affection on paper instead of off screen, I might not have been so irked.

Still, the mysteries in the books are good, and there *is* a draw in the relationship between Brisbane and Julia. I just wish that there was a bigger payoff in the latter. :P
1073, 20. The Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn
Posted by Lucy, Fri Nov-19-10 08:07 PM
Finished all the books out in the Lady Julia Grey series now, and I'm not sure if I'm satisfied or not. I did get my romantic declaration scene in this book. I still think it would rock if Julia and Nicholas could come to an actual good working relationship in the next book so that they're not just repeating their mistakes over and over.

1074, 21. Someone to Watch Over Me by Lisa Kleypas
Posted by Lucy, Sun Nov-21-10 10:43 PM
I read this book completely out of order.

The cover does *not* match the story at all, it looks a lot more modern than it is. I found that really jarring, to be honest.

I liked the story. Amnesia stories are getting a little thin for me though.
1075, 22. The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn
Posted by Lucy, Thu Nov-25-10 11:18 PM
Enjoyed this one immensely. There was really no major conflict at all in the book, which did make it feel a bit silly that the two MCs didn't get together faster. But it was light and happy, and that was what I needed when I read it.

Not her best work, but better than a lot of books I've read :)
1100, 23. The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry
Posted by Lucy, Tue Dec-07-10 12:37 AM
I'm actually writing a fantasy novel right now that is based on the Steve Berry/Dan Brown style of writing. That made it extra interesting to read this book right now.

All in all, it wasn't the best I've ever read in the genre. There was plenty of action, and the tie-in to Alexander the Great was okay. What bothered me was how schizophrenic the writing was. Berry switched perspectives every page or two - sometimes even every paragraph or two - and that made it very difficult to connect with any of the characters. I felt like I was being held at a distance from them.

I will read the next one in the series, out of curiosity.
1119, 24. The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Berry
Posted by Lucy, Wed Dec-22-10 01:07 AM
Oh dear. On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with a good action-y, pulpy paperback. On the other hand... oh dear.

It was a quick read. It had the same jarring flips from POV to POV that I noted in his earlier work. I almost wish he had restrained himself a bit when it came to creating the historical mystery around which the book revolved.

There should be consequences in each subsequent novel for the unveiling of the mystery in the previous one. I.e. ***Spoilers*** the cure for disease found in the previous book should have an impact on the world at large in this one. We should see that impact.

Other than that, it was what I expect from an author like Steve Berry.

It does make me feel a little... I don't know... silly? for not counting the Harlequin novels that I've read. I'd probably put the better quality of them on the same rung of my personal literary ladder as Berry's work (and probably the best of them quite a bit above it!)
1120, 25. Soulless by Gail Carringer **Goal Reached
Posted by Lucy, Wed Dec-22-10 01:13 AM
So pleased to reach my goal for the last four months of the year with this book.

I should have read Soulless when I first bought it so that I'd have Changeless and Blameless already. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequels.

I read a review that suggested the book should have been more heavily marketed as a romance - and this was a fair assessement. The Steampunk components, which I had been lead to believe were strong, were not so strong. Yes, there's a Victorian setting, with the Queen herself putting in an appearance. And we have werewolves and vampires setting this reality apart from our own. But steampunk? A brass/buckshot outfitted parasol and references to diribles and scientific experiments fail to fully satisfy me on this point. The experiments do have some significance, but I think there's too much reliance on the supernatural and magical for me to be satisfied with this book as a suitable representation of steampunk. More steampunk will definitely be on my list for next year's reading.

A real strength of this book was the voice it was written in. I loved it and it made me feel inspired to stop letting myself get caught up in what genres are saleable and what the conventions are for those genres in terms of voice. I was able to remember that authors each put their own spin on a genre through the voice in which they write, and that there's no reason I couldn't bring something fresh to the table as long as I stay true to myself and stop worrying about not being prepared to pounce on the newest/fuure trends.