Erin’s 2013 reading list

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  • #210294
    ErinMH
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    I’d gotten a lot of recommendations to read this book, and I finally did. Truly excellent. It captivated me from the beginning, and each tale, told by a different pilgrim, cast a different light on the story, the civilization, and the world. I’ll be picking up the rest of the series to see how it turns out.

    I may reread the Canterbury Tales as well.

    #210295
    ErinMH
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    An excellent follow-up to the first volume. Saw it at the library today and grabbed it. The house’s capabilities are wonderful — and I found it fascinating that the house is actually rather normal in this world, not just another of Silas’s inventions. New allies, more implacable foes, and a growing question of what exactly the stone wants. Definitely a worthy successor to Kibuishi’s first book in the series. I’ll have my eyes open for the rest.

    #210296
    ErinMH
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    I snatched this up when I saw it on the library’s New Books shelf, eager to read the latest Mercy Thompson (Hauptman) book. It did not disappoint; I read it in one evening. It’s an exciting read, with plenty of old and established allies (and other familiar faces) as well as Cantrip agents, assassins, and new fae artifacts. Along the way to saving her husband and her pack, Mercy learns more about both her abilities and her limits, as well as things about others. Highly recommended if you’ve enjoyed other books by Briggs or other urban fantasy.

    #210297
    ErinMH
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    I’m really enjoying this series. The artwork and color are lovely, and the world always seems to have new things to discover — stolen memories, a storm that’s existed for centuries, and yet more hints about the intelligences behind the stones. I can’t believe it took me this long to find the series, but at least I can catch up on them fairly quickly.

    #210298
    ErinMH
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    I loved the blend of mystery, con, and magic; the feel of loving and hating family and not knowing what to do about it; the challenge of trying to figure out what was going on before Cassell did; the marvelous way Black used misdirection even while Cassell is telling us what he’s doing, so we miss bits and pieces; the world-building that creates a world almost identical to our own, with cell phones and Internet and everything else to make us feel at home — but where the significant detail of everyone wearing gloves all the time is a defining characteristic; and most of all, the way the story carried me along so I wanted nothing more than to pick up the next book in the series right away.

    #210299
    ErinMH
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    I thought Cassel’s relationships — with girls and with his family — couldn’t get even more messed up. I was wrong. And Holly Black manages to work her magic again, with misdirection and lies, planting clues and solutions in plain sight (I totally did not see that it with Barron at the end coming!) to weave a wonderful story. She also layers in complications — political propositions, federal agents, other crime families, and yet more ghosts from Cassel’s past. I’m a little disappointed that things with Audrey didn’t work out better, but it makes more sense the way Black writes it.

    Another fabulous read. I’ll probably swallow the third book (Black Heart) tomorrow.

    On Goodreads, I rated the first book a 5 and this one a 4. I still loved it, but it wasn’t quite as overpowering for me — maybe because I was already acquainted with the world, so it wasn’t all new and different, to blow me away? Still highly recommended.

    #210300
    ErinMH
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    I’ve heard about this series for years but never made time to read it. Now I’m wishing I’d grabbed more of the volumes. The art reminds me a lot of Pogo — simple, but captivating — and the story has already had some unexpected twists and turns. Great fun!

    #210301
    ErinMH
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    A prequel to the Bone series — I checked it out because the library didn’t have the next one in he series available. I was surprised by some of the things I discovered,but I imagine when I read the series proper, I’ll learn most of them anyway. And Charles Vess always does amazing artwork, so that was a treat, too

    #210302
    ErinMH
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    Full title: 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

    It’s an inspirational read, and I’ll certainly be trying some of her techniques. I’ll admit that I wonder if she ignored her own advice in the editing section and did not have a hired editor go over her prose before she published this; many sentences had extra or missing words, and there was a high number of misused words, primarily similar words replacing the ones meant (you’re for your, dudes for duds, and so forth). Despite the poor editing, the writing itself was clear and convincing. I just feel I should warn people who may alsobe attuned to notice such errors, so they know what to expect going in.

    #210303
    ErinMH
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    Oops. I’m behind in these. Here’s what I had to say on GoodReads:

    I love grabbing new Simon Green books — both the Secret Histories and the Nightside. Green has done a marvelous job of creating a world most of us aren’t aware of that has everything we like to imagine as real: secret societies, King Arthur, elves, magic, dimensional doors, future tech, intelligent cars, secret cabals that rule the world, and even the odd dragon. This latest offering in his Secret Histories series has Eddie Drood going undercover as Shaman Bond, along with Molly Metcalf, his one true love, to break the Shadow Bank and avert a war over the Inheritance of The Most Evil Man In The World.

    Shaman and Molly trade quips, protect each other, and take down everything that gets in their way, from Panzer women riding pteranodons to null fields that block Molly’s magics to betrayal. Along the way, we get to see the Martian Tombs, the oddest food fight ever described, a living god, and an alien world where everything is just slightly off. It’s a lot of fun. Some of the jokes and references require having read other books, but for the main storyline, one can read this book by itself.

    Very enjoyable, as always.

    #210304
    ErinMH
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    My review, from GoodReads:

    The world-building and characters are well crafted and absorbing. If, like some reviewers, you find it insulting that Clare is written as an homage to Holmes (complete with coja habit), you’ll probably hate this book. If you’re looking for pure steampunk instead of a delightful alternative history urban fantasy, don’t bother picking this one up. On the other hand, if you’re willing to dive into the world as it is presented — one where mentaths are licensed by the Queen, where the spirit of Britannia takes up residence in each new ruler, where sorcery comes in every shape from simple hevvymancers working at the docks to Primes capable of multiple Great Works at a time, where people and animals can be Altered with clockwork parts — you may well find this an enjoyable read.

    That’s not to say it’s perfect. More than once, I was annoyed when a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter wasn’t resolved, with the characters merely picking up later at a meal or other random spot with no allusion to how they’d gotten out of their trouble. Yes, showing these things may have made the book longer and might have felt redundant if similar methods were repeatedly used to deal with trouble — but it felt like hand-waving, with the author not sure how they would get out of the situation, so simply declaring by fiat that they did.

    Overall, however, I liked the book and will almost certainly pick up the second in the series (THE RED PLAGUE AFFAIR).

    #210305
    ErinMH
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    I enjoyed the slanted view of what the world could be with magic in it. The characters were compelling — I’ve heard of face-blind people before, but this is the first time I’ve seen one used as a main character. Schwartz did a wonderful job of using a wide range of people, with different personalities, genders, colors, ideas, and goals.

    This book was originally published as a Kindle Serial, and every other Tuesday, I would eagerly check my Kindle app again and again to see whether it had updated yet.

    What keeps me from rating this 5 stars? I felt too many threads were left dangling at the end, too many characters left with their stories unresolved and the reader having no idea even what they were going to do next. I certainly hope Schwartz writes more in this world, and if I get to find out what happens to some of these characters in the future, even better!

    (Rated 4 of 5 stars on GoodReads)

    #210306
    ErinMH
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    From our very own Valerie Comer! She did give me a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

    I’ll preface my comments by saying that if you don’t like Christian fiction — if it’s going to bother you to have characters who tell each other to trust in God or to spend more time on their knees in prayer — you’re going to want to give this book a miss. The author wrote this book out of her convictions about God, about our duty to take care of the earth, and about how people ought to relate to one another. All of that is there in the book, and it’s not a hidden message. That’s not to say the characters are perfect; they’re people, which means they have foibles and faults, just like anyone else.

    Obviously, I enjoyed the book, both the sections that made me laugh and the ones that made me cry — and there were plenty of both. Jo Shaw’s a little spitfire, who’s wanted to get back to a farm since her mom took her away from her grandparents’ farm at ten. Zach Nemesek is only back at his parents’ farm because his father has been hospitalized with Guillain-Barré Syndrome and his mom needs help to get the spring chores done. They meet when she opens a door to dispose of a dustpan full of baby mice and throws them all over him. That pretty much sets the tenor of their relationship.

    Friends and family play a big part in this book, from the two friends Jo is trying to create a sustainable community with (Sierra and Claire) to Zach’s best friend Gabe and his wife Bethany, to Zach’s parents and his grandmother, to Jo’s mom and stepbrother (who drop in for a visit). Everyone has something to contribute to the story, no matter how active they are, or how often they show up. Oh, and I can’t forget Domino, the cute border collie who shows up on the cover and who spends his time happily romping between the two farms.

    I expected to like this book; I’ve read other work by Valerie Comer, and it’s never disappointed. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, or to be disappointed after reading the sample chapter of the next book (Wild Mint Tea) to realize I have to wait to buy it. If you do get this book, be warned: You will cry. A lot. And it is so worth it.

    #210307
    ErinMH
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    A fun read — a graphic novel targeted at middle-grade audiences, second in a series. I’m hoping there will be a third.

    #210308
    ErinMH
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    Yet another in the series that I’m enjoying so very much. Betrayal, history, revelation, unexpected friends — very gripping development.

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