Jan. 23rd, 2014

alithea: (Books)
Minette by Melanie Clegg. Story of Charles II youngest sister growing up in exile in Paris and her Cinderella-style rise to a match with the Sun King's younger brother. Charming, slightly YA in tone as the narrator is only 13 when it starts but does still have touching emotional depths.(Kindle)

A Trail of Fire by Diana Gabaldon. 4 short stories/novellas. The Lord John one set in the West Indies was my favourite but mostly this suffered from me having forgotten an awful lot of what happened in the Outlander series. Don't know if the title of the story about Roger's father is a nod to Firefly but it would be nice to think so.(Kindle)

City of Dragons by Robin Hobb. Eminently readable fantasy, looking forward to the next book.

The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer. More of a mystery than I was expecting. Entertaining enough but not a favourite.

Broken Homes (Rivers of London 4) by Ben Aaronovitch. Another entertaining instalment in this well characterised series with lovely world building and attention to detail. (Kindle)

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer. Entertaining Georgian melodrama.

Queen Lucia by E.F. Benson. 1920s social one-upmanship comedy, had me roaring with laughter in places. (Kindle)

Miss Mapp by E.F. Benson. More hilarious social escapades, think this was funnier than the first one.

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Lucia in London by E.F. Benson

Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson. Just a tad far-fetched but entertainingly so!

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Slightly frustrating but entertaining over all, and I approve of his assumption of sexual equality in his world and kick-ass women pirates even if some muppets think it's feminist overkill and unjustified because sexism is human nature (I'm sure you can imagine what I think of that nonsense!).

The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman. I did really enjoy this, he's definitely found his novel writing voice these days, it was a bit Graveyard Book, a bit 'Book of Lost Things', and very much it's own magical realist thing. But my reaction to it was much based on my current mental state I think, so I'm not sure I could put my finger on its general appeal other than the fact that the Hempstock family are marvellous and work in a way the gods in American Gods just didn't quite for me somehow.

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. Abercrombie continues to confound me, I find the violence and torture in his books decidedly uncomfortable but on the other hand, it's always written to be so and he's an equal opportunity torturer who isn't obsessed with raping his female characters to prove how harsh the world is. And there is no denying the man can write engaging characters. I enjoyed this one more than the 1st Law trilogy, mostly because the characters don't spend the entire book being manipulated by the world's most infuriating magician.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. By turns utterly beautiful and utterly horrific, highly recommended if you haven't read it - wonderful characters and well-thought out alien society (you can tell she's an academic), hard to put down.

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. 1st book in one of the Boy's favourite childhood series. Charming but childish, I'm assured that like the 'Dark is Rising' series, they improve after this!

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie. Further write-up on my journal.

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. His latest is a take on a Western and another good read with redemption being a strong theme.

The Bee Keeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King. I've been jokily referring to this as Sherlock Holmes fanfic but that isn't really fair because it's its own thing which happens to feature an aged Holmes, Watson and Mycroft. Rather enjoyable.

The Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb. Gah, I can't really say anything about this without spoiling anyone, can't wait for the next installment though, Fitz and the Fool again is like being reunited with old friends.

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. Thoroughly enjoyable fantasy yarn, I particularly enjoyed the 7th Sea (RPG) influence here, subtle as it was.

Clariel by Garth Nix. Abhorsen series prequel. About the choices you make and the ones you don't and Fate. Another great addition to the series.

Kraken by China Mieville. Incredibly imaginative, deeply, deeply bizarre and occasionally horrific and deeply creepy. Gritty London gang warfare where the gangs are mages and cultists, and the war is over the end of the world. Mostly I enjoyed it but as his other stuff I've read, it's an ideas book not a character book. I am not going to read the new Rivers of London book straight after this because I think it would break my brain!

Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill. A redemption story set up as ghost story. Not my usual fare but the Boy assured me I'd enjoy the character journey and he was right although I did have to get over the fact it includes hideous cruelty to dogs.

Let Down Your Hair by Fiona Price [Kindle]

The Scarlett Pimpernel by Emma Orczy.

Currently reading:

From Whitechapel: A Novel of Jack the Ripper by Melanie Clegg. [Kindle]

Given up on:

IQ84 by Haruki Murakami. Oh dear, I'm struggling with this. It isn't graphic the way that 'The Windup Girl' is but the plot does revolve around sexual abuse and I've kind of had it with struggling through uncomfortable things for the sake of it this year :(

By Light Alone by Adam Roberts. The development of photosynthetic hair sounds like an interesting idea but all he's done with it by the middle of the book is to parade a bunch of awful rich people who hate the poor and make clear that removing hunger doesn't solve anything on its own. Apparently it becomes a totally different book later on but I'm past caring. If this is 'worthy' SF, I'll stick with my space opera thanks!

Last of the Amazons by Steven Pressfield. I get that he made a conscious decision to reflect the style of ancient sagas, and it's very well done because it totally reminds me of translating The Iliad, but when it comes down to it, I want to read the characters' stories and not pages and pages of description of battles including entire paragraphs of lists of the tribes involved!

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