September 22nd, 2010

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Mini-Reviews #18 - My reading lately

Ahem. When "lately" is given to mean for almost the entire year to date! I kind of forgot to post updates. I think I actually recorded my reading almost all the time, but with the lump of WA Premier's Book Awards reading, I didn't make notes on quite a few! 

Solace and Grief: The Rare book 1, Foz Meadows - Not bad for a first novel - a few too many characters and plot threads, and the writing wasn't always engaging, but a good first book.

Single White Vampire, Lynsay Sands - An okay read, but some offensive attitudes and behaviours by the male vamps. Believable world-building.

Twilight: the graphic novel Vol. 1, Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim - Beautiful artwork, minimalist text, works very well even without the Twilight juggernaut behind it.

The Dead-Tossed Waves, Carrie Ryan - As with the first book, this story totally drags you along for the ride. It's not all that deep, although it is dark, but it's compelling. A bleak post-apocolyptic tale.

Candleman, Glenn Dakin - Quite good steampunkish fantasy on the dark side. A bit caricaturish at times, but engaging.

Shalador's Lady, 
Anne Bishop - I loved this! Bishop is definitely on form with this Black Jewels novel. Literally could not put it down!

Stormlord Rising, Glenda Larke - Thoroughly enjoyed this - stands alone quite well, even though it's the second of the trilogy. Action packed and great characters. A must-read of the year for fantasy lovers.

Dracula the Un-Dead, Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt - The best bit about the book was the essay at the end by the authors on how the book came to be, and why they made the choices they did in terms of story, character and so on, particularly in terms of reference to the original Dracula. A little clunky in the writing and I never really became immersed in the story because the narrative seemed very distant.

The Griffin's Flight (The Fallen Moon Book Two), KJ Taylor - Sadly didn't live up to the wonderful promise of the first book, which I really enjoyed. Still a reasonable read, but I wanted more.

Kitty and the House of Horrors, Carrie Vaughn - Carrie Vaughn has made it on to my automatic "must read" list. These books are fun, pacy and character driven. Look forward to the next!

The Fall of Ossard, Colin Taber - Interesting premise, executed dully. Not at all engaging although one of the more competently written self-published books I've read.

The Painted Man, Peter V Brett - Largely enjoyed, although a bit disappointed by some events at the end. A solid fantasy read.

Death Most Definite, Trent Jamieson - Fantastic debut novel from a skilful and compelling writer. Loved reading this and looking forward to the next book!

The Desert Spear, Peter V Brett - Another good read, lots of action, although the characterisation is a bit uneven. Not pleased there's such a long wait til book 3!

The Wildkin's Curse, Kate Forsyth - Took a while to get into, but really got good. I often find Forsyth's books are slow to start - a bit offputting for the younger readers the books are aimed at, but worth the payoff.

The White Cat, Holly Black - Couldn't put this down. Captivating characters, premise and plot.

Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott - Took a long time to get into, but really kicked in about halfway through - second half of the book compelling

Dead in the Family, Charlaine Harris - Need to have read the short story "Gift Wrap" to get everything in this novel, and it's very same old same old. Fans will love, newbies should not start here.

Hourglass, Claudia Gray - Really not a book to read if you haven't read the rest of the series and seemed to drag a bit. Could have been shorter and tighter for a more effective story. 

The Hotel under the Sand, Kage Baker - This was lovely! At Alice in Wonderland end of the fantasy scale, I really enjoyed it. Clever and sad and sweet.

Ice, Sarah Beth Durst - This was different - it riffs on a non-European fairytale which is nice, but I'm not sure it really fits my definition of YA, which is what it is. An 18 year old getting pregnant to a man she knows mostly as a bear is a bit different...

Ceremony in Death, JD Robb - This is one of the early In Death books, and amazingly, one I hadn't read. I'm gradually building up my collection of these, so was delighted to find one I hadn't borrow-read from elsewhere! However, this is absolutely not one of the best of the series. Apart from the supernatural elements (which detracted from the usual SF feel of the books), there is a LOT of point-of-view jumping around, sometimes from paragraph to paragraph, which is, to me, a sign of lazy writing. A bit of a disappointment, and that's the first time I've ever said that about one of these books!

Marvel 1602: Fantastic Four, Peter David & Pascal Alixe - Interesting, but not as good as the original Gaiman-authored Marvel 1602.

Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts - Absolutely adored this. Can't wait for the next volume!

Fables 13: the Great Fables Crossover, Willingham etal - Crossing over with Jack of the Fables and the new Literals titles, the 13th Fables compilation is probably the best in a while. I love the Page sisters, so any story that has them kicking butt is a good 'un :)

Bone Crossed, Patricia Briggs - Patricia Briggs really is one of the best authors writing paranormal fantasy at the moment. In the fourth and fifth instalments of the Mercy Thompson series, she manages to maintain her cast of characters and her pace, without devolving into over the top plotting. Mercy is not super human (even if she is supernatural) - she's been badly hurt, and it's taking time to recover, rather than her just getting over it. I love the secondary characters in these books too, and devoured these two in only a couple of days!

Silver Borne, Patricia Briggs  

Demon Angel, Meljean Brook - Meh. This book was WAAAY too long and seemed really convoluted. I bought this (and books 2 & 3 set in the world) because of a short story by the author I read in an anthology, but this novel didn't quite live up to it. I hope the series gets better (tighter), because I like the premise and the characters!

The King's Bastard (The Chronicles of King Rolen's Kin book 1), Rowena Cory Daniells - I really enjoyed this - very big fat fantasy, but action-packed and draws you through quickly. Might just be me, but it actually felt quite YA-ish in style and plot. Loved the characters, but Rowena is truly a NASTY person for what she puts them through! Can't wait to read book 2.

Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad book 1) David Eddings
    
Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad book 2) David Eddings     

Magician's Gambit (The Belgariad book 3) David Eddings     

Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad book 4) David Eddings

Enchanter's End Game (The Belgariad book 5) David Eddings

Soulless, Gail Carriger - Love these!!

Changeless,
Gail Carriger  

Cinderella: from Fabletown with love,
Roberson, McManus etal - I'm such a big fan of Fabletown, so am really enjoying the spin offs so far. Cinderella is cool!

Lost Girls, Alan Moore & Melinda Gebbie - I really liked the premise of this series and the stories are very clever. Got perhaps a bit too over the top erotic, but it's well done.

Rose by any other name, Maureen McCarthy - I've been meaning to read Maureen McCarthy for SO long, and I finally picked up the audio book at the library last week. I love listening to audio books in the car, but unless I'm travelling by myself on decent journeys, they take SO long to get through! This one I got so involved in, that yesterday when we went to the library again, I got the book, because I couldn't wait to finish it. Yes, is good. Will be reading more.

The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle, Jim Butcher etal - Having read a few Dresden novellas and the first two books of the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this original graphic novel of Harry. And while it was EASIER to follow because of that background, I think the authors did a great job laying backstory without overloading the plot at hand. Really good stuff, and will probably bring more readers to the series.

House of Mystery: Room and Boredom, Sturges, M, Willingham, B & Rossi, L - Picked this up on the strength of the Willingham name, and glad I did. Interesting, dark, unusual. I enjoyed it.
Spider-Girl: Marked for Death, Marvel - Cool! A "What-If" turned YA series. Great characters, lots of action, lots of hear - good stuff and I'll be looking for more!

Avalon High Coronation Vol 3: Hunter's Moon, Meg Cabot 

Wolverine 1: Prodigal Son, Marvel  

Serenity: Better Days, Whedon etal 

Serenity: Those left behind, Whedon etal 

Huntress: Year One, Ivory Madison etal - Really enjoyed this - dark and sad and action packed.

Batman: Hush, Loeb, Lee, Williams - This was BRILLIANT - absolutely loved it, read in one sitting - it's great writing, great art, great colour. Favourite Batman EVA (could have something to do with showings by Huntress, Catwoman and Poison Ivy).

Moonshine, Alaya Johnson - Best urban fantasy I've read in ages. Couple of minor quibbles relating to modern dialogue in historical setting, which contributed to not feeling the setting, but the characters, story etc were great.
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