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Lobby 2. Welcome The Reading Room Reading Challenges, 2011 topic #26
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Mesg #26 "David's reading list"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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561 posts
Date Sun Jan-02-11 08:11 PM
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Sat Dec-24-11 11:05 AMby dabrownofmn

I'm going for 25 books again this year.

1. Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice
2. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
3. Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey
4. The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear
5. Chill by Elizabeth Bear
6. Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin
7. Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories by Gregory Frost
8. Sword and Sorceress X edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley
9. Green by Jay Lake
10. Diplomacy of Wolves by Holly Lisle
11. The Poison Master by Liz Williams
12. Grail by Elizabeth Bear
13. Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K. Le Guin
14. Nightseer by Laurell K. Hamilton
15. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
16. Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt
17. Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey
18. Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost
19. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
20. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
21. The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin
22. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
23. NaNo for the New and the Insane: A Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo by Lazette Gifford
24. Undertow by Elizabeth Bear
25. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
26. All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear

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Mesg #55 "Servant of the Bones"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sat Jan-08-11 12:27 AM
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I tried reading this last year, but didn't finish, probably because I was reading something else that held my attention at the time. I enjoyed this book a lot.

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Mesg #74 "Fool Moon"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Tue Jan-11-11 06:17 PM
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The sequel to Storm Front. Overall a good book with a lot of action. Better quality writing than Storm Front, though Butcher still has ticks that annoy me (word repititions mostly). I can't help but think that Murphy has serious trust issues, and Butcher never quite expands on the character far enough. Ditto with Dresden's background, but this is a long series so I hope the characters' backgrounds become fuller.

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Mesg #189 "Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Feb-21-11 01:10 PM
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Pretty good, but slow in its plot development. The strength of this book rests on Lackey's characterizations and unique spin on King Arthur's legend. Enjoyed it overall for the strong main character, but much of the book focused on what could have been backstory.

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Mesg #209 "The Chains That You Refuse"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Wed Mar-02-11 01:48 PM
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This is a short story collection. Many of the stories are off the beaten path, with odd uses of POV, expectation, and setting. I didn't read all of it yet, only because it's due back to the library. Overall, a good read.

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Mesg #255 "Chill"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Mar-20-11 05:13 PM
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This is the sequel to Dust, and equally enjoyable. I'm unsure how good the plot is. The end is not a complete deus ex machina, since it is hinted at through out the book. The characters carried the story for me. Tristen and Benedick, who were secondary characters in Dust, become more alive and interesting. I was disappointed that one of my favorite characters ceases to exist.

I know this is a vague review, but I can't say much without spoiling this book. Overall, I liked this one.

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Mesg #256 "Changing Planes"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Mar-20-11 05:19 PM
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This is a collection of short stories all centered around the theme of being stuck at the airport. Whenever she is waiting for her airplane, the narrator uses "Sita Dulip's method" to travel to other planes, or worlds. The stories are funny, dark, and often ironic. A lot of times, the narration reads more like a popular science or travel article, but the worlds Le Guin creates are so fascinating that I hardly cared. This is a very good, and creative book.

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Mesg #299 "Attack of the Jazz Giants"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Tue Apr-12-11 05:44 PM
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I chose this book only because I thought the title was amusing. Loved it. The stories range from mythological fantasy to science fiction. Frost very cleverly plays on standard tropes, and adds his own twists. Wonderful collection, and I will be looking for Frost's other works.

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Mesg #300 "Sword and Sorceress X"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Tue Apr-12-11 05:53 PM
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As always, S&S has many gems ranging from light-hearted to dark. Volume ten contains several stories that were memorable for me, and I will be looking for other works by those authors. Unfortunately, many of the stories in this volume felt unpolished. I don't mind omniscient when it's well done, but much of the head hopping in S&S-X was annoying. Some of the authors didn't go far enough with their ideas. Nonetheless, all of the stories were creative. This one wasn't always satisfying, but still worth the read.

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Mesg #316 "Green"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun Apr-24-11 03:43 PM
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I really wanted to finish reading this one, but I can't. The blurb makes the book sound good, the cover art is amazing, and I thought the character interesting at first.

A young girl (later named Green) is sold into slavery and trained to be a "lady" under the guidance of abusive mistresses employed by an evil immortal duke. The story starts off promising, but stagnates and reads like a memoir with a lot of seemingly random anecdotes. About half way through, the plot picks up the pace, and then falls down again when Green kills the duke without much hassle. No further plot development is hinted at, now that the main antagonist is dead. Twenty pages later I stopped reading.

I looked up the reviews for this book on Amazon. Apparently there is a plot about how the gods interact with people, but this is barely hinted at in the portion I read, except in one infodump that I can think of. Also according to the reviews, there are random frivolous sex scenes.

This is a good book to read only as a lesson on how not to plot, development character, foreshadow, build suspense, etc.

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Mesg #375 "Diplomacy of Wolves"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun May-15-11 11:59 AM
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I'm ashamed to say I haven't read any of Holly's novels until now.

This one was engaging and entertaining. The story starts off a little weird, and ends on a cliffhanger. A lot of people die horrible gruesome deaths, and complex politics abound. Refreshing take on werewolves and love triangles, especially since these tropes are currently the bubblegum flavor of popular books. Overall, a good read.

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Mesg #386 "The Poison Master"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Fri May-20-11 09:29 PM
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Not a particularly well crafted book, but entertaining. The book suffers mainly from unnecessary back-story, weak verbs, and weak POV. Good story, but could have been so much more.

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Mesg #396 "Grail"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Sun May-29-11 12:11 AM
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The last in the Jacob's Ladder series. Overall, I enjoyed this one. This book resolves the annoying loose ends from "Dust" (the first book). The story focuses on the clashing of cultures, both within the Jacob's Ladder star ship, and between the Jacobeans and the humans on the world they intend to settle on. Very strange ending.

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Mesg #415 "Four Ways to Forgiveness"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Fri Jun-10-11 10:46 AM
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This book consists of four novellas interconnected by setting and characters. Good read, but I felt like I was missing something through a lot of it. There is an appendix in the back of the book that would have helped me keep track of the complex politics and world-building, only I didn't feel like reading it

I loved the characters. I wish Le Guin had done more with Batikam, the cross-dressing entertainer. Overall, I enjoyed this one, but I may have to reread it to see all the nuances and complexities.

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Mesg #427 "Nightseer"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Wed Jun-15-11 11:52 AM
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I can't read this book properly. I'm skimming it, and skipping around to look for gems. The MC is a hodge-podge of a traumatic childhood with many sort-of related skills (seer, alchemist, enchanter, mage, warrior). From the beginning, there's plenty of action, every chapter is a new dramatic crisis with lots of things blowing up and blood. But the story goes nowhere, and the character doesn't seem like a real person. I got to page 47 before I skipped ahead.

At the moment I'm going through it to look for things to write a blog post about. Not that this is stopping me from reading the Anita Blake books, which I need to do as part of my market research plan.

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Mesg #442 "Guilty Pleasures"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Thu Jun-23-11 11:31 AM
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The first Anita Blake novel. Decent writing, started off strong. The book hooked me right away, unfortunately the hook wore off about halfway through. By my count, only two characters were well developed, and even in those cases Hamilton didn't go far enough. The murder mystery is "solved" about halfway into the story, but Anita is slow to catch on. The climax is disappointing, mainly because the antagonists are defeated way too easily.

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Mesg #458 "Blood Engines"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Fri Jul-08-11 01:36 PM
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Awesome book. I like how Pratt kept Marla from becoming a Mary Sue character. She is incredibly powerful, but her powers have steep costs and risks. Entertaining, quirky, and memorable characters.

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Mesg #499 "Burning Water"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Aug-01-11 04:31 PM
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A madman resurrects an Aztec deity, recruits four young women to be his handmaidens, and goes on a killing spree to provide blood for his god. Enter Mark Valdez and Diana Tregarde, who investigate the murders and bring about justice.

I got bored with this one, and stopped reading about two-thirds of the way through, at which point I skimmed the rest. The main characters, Mark and Diana, were good and interesting. Diana rarely had viewpoint scenes, and never shined as a character.

A lot of the book was taken up with scenes from the sacrificial victims' points of view. This is what slowed the story for me, as these characters' lives and problems seemed trivial to the bigger plot, though I knew Lackey was making a point by showing what these characters were like. But it also killed the suspense, since it was obvious what the villain was doing.

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Mesg #500 "Fitcher's Brides"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Aug-01-11 04:41 PM
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Set in the 1840's, and based on the Bluebeard fairy tales. Mr. Charter is hired by the charismatic Reverend Fitcher to be the gatekeeper to his utopian community, where the faithful wait for Judgment Day. But Fitcher has an evil side, and uses mesmerism and magic to sway people. He marries Charter's eldest daughter, kills her, and does the same with the middle daughter. Kate, the youngest daughter, outwits him at his own game.

I loved this book. It started off a little slow, and spent a long time detailing life in the utopian community, but it was never a dull read. I feel this one is worth a second read to catch the small subtleties with dialogue and detail. Rather gruesome, especially near the end. I highly recommend this one to anybody who loves fairy tale re-tellings.

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Mesg #508 "The Left Hand of Darkness"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Mon Aug-08-11 06:02 PM
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Wow... awesome book. This book is full of symbolism and subtleties, so much it's probably worth a second read to catch them all. I got hung up at the middle with the slew of characters and strange names, and all the counter-plots going on, but everything sorts itself out quickly and the story progresses at a steady pace. I loved the unique culture, and how Le Guin contrasts the different perspectives.

Le Guin is one of those authors I wish I could be like. I love her stories for her style and imagination.

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Mesg #540 "Middlesex"
Author dabrownofmn     Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this author Click to view this author's profile Click to add this author to your buddy list
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Date Wed Aug-31-11 04:01 PM
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A story of a hermaphrodite, his family, and Detroit. Overall this book was okay, but I was rarely excited to be reading it. The first two-thirds focuses heavily on back-story- how his grandparents came to America, etc. The best parts of the story were about his grandparents' experiences adjusting to life in Detroit.

The main character's story doesn't truly begin until late in the book, and then feels rushed. I wasn't convinced about his decision to choose to be a boy. I was less convinced when a minor character suddenly turned evil.

A lot of people liked this book, and it really isn't bad. Just not my type of book.

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