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Graceling - Kristin Cashore - excellent. If I had a daughter, I'd buy this book for her. Spoiler ROT13'd: Fb avpr gb unir n ebznapr gung qbrfa'g raq va zneevntr!

Dark Moon Defender -
Reader and Raelynx -
Fortune and Fate - Sharon Shinn -
Really good series. Am contemplating for my nieces. A variety of relationships, and relationship types, and the last book is what happens after the war is over, which is a really nice thing.

Isabella - Loretta Chase - ebook - Regency fluff. Amusing.

The Fifth Elephant - Terry Pratchett - one of the Watch Discworlds. A good read. I really do prefer the Witches to everyone else, I think.

Friday's Child - Georgette Heyer - ebook - amusing enough.

Year's total: 48
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Pentecost Alley -
The Hyde Park Headsman -
Belgrave Square -
Brunswick Gardens -
Bluegate Fields -
Ashworth Hall -
Southhampton Row -
Seven Dials -
all by Anne Perry. If you couldn't tell, I'm reading myself out on these, and then donating them to the library.

Cousin Kate - Georgette Heyer - nook - a somewhat Gothic Regency romance. Don't read if you have issues with representation of mental illnes....

The Thirteenth House - Sharon Shinn - second in the series. Quite a good read. Am waiting on the last 3 from the library

Never After - anthology - good reads - subverted fairy tales.

I am Half Sick of Shadows - Alan Bradley - another Flavia De Luce; good enough, but not great.

Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs - another excellent read by someone who is consistently a good read!

The Broken Kingdoms - N. K. Jemesin - It took me a while to remember from the first book. Interesting read.

Year's total: 41
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Silence in Hanover Close - Anne Perry - ending a bit abrupt; otherwise, nicely crafted murder mystery. I especially like the bits where one character is acting as a lady's made in 1887 London. Not pleasant.

The Story of the Stone - Barry Hughart - amusing mystery. I will find the others in the set, but not buy them.

To the Resurrection Station - Eleanor Arnason - interesting book. Rather ... unfocussed? Atypical plot arc. Won't be keeping. Thinner book from the 70s; not as fleshed out as it would have been written 20-30 years later. Publisher would have allowed doorstop.

Mystic and Rider - Sharon Shinn - first of at least 5. Very good. Am in the second now. Probably won't keep. The entire book is spent on a trip to gather information and bring it back to the king. Obviously part of something larger. I do tend to like her books.

Year to date: 27
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The Thorn and the Blossom - Theodora Goss - received free from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program

This book is beautifully designed. The clever accordion binding allows one to read the story from the point of view of either of the main protagonists. The artwork is fantastic.

The story is a sort of mystical romance story. I was hoping for something more explicitly fantasy. I also find the protagonists unbelievable, in what they give up and where they end up at the end of the story. The ending is also ambiguous, which is not something I care for.

Year's total: 23
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The Secret Lives of Wives - Iris Krasnow - received free through the LibraryThing early reviewers program.

I was expecting something with more numbers and studies in it. Instead, this is a collection of anecdotes, and commentary on the author's own marriage.

As someone who is contemplating marriage, and in a 9 year relationship but not yet married, this book scares me. There is a lot of emphasis on how hard marriage is, and I saw very little in it that might encourage me to pursue one. I seem to recall hearing that marriage is detrimental to women's health. That research is not even brought up in this book.

The author has a definite viewpoint - you should get married, and stay married. And children are the glue that holds a marriage together. You should stay together if you are bored, unhappy, uncomfortable, for the sake of having a family, and not ripping apart the tapestry that a family becomes. You owe it to your forebears, and to your descendants, to maintain your place.

The background seems to be: A woman will get married, she will lose herself in taking care of the kids, then when they grow up and are out of the house, she will have the time and financial freedom to take up old hobbies and interests.

Most of the women she interviews are very well off indeed. 6 figure salaries. Enough money to take separate vacations.

She seems shocked at the swingers, in an open marriage.

She is very gender essentialist - she and her female friends seem to have some sort of "Sex in the City" thing going. She believes that you should have good male friends, but being friends with a guy is very different from being friends with a woman. Cherish the straight guys who actually want to have a conversation with you. Seriously. You can't expect your husband to talk to you, or listen to you. I find this a deeply weird attitude - people are people, friends are friends - why would I want to be with a person who doesn't talk to me?

I do agree with some of the underlying things in this book: do not expect your husband to be everything to you. Maintain interests outside of the relationship - a job, hobbies, friends.

This book was a disappointment, and I would not recommend it to anyone.
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Quatrain - Sharon Shinn - a collection of novellas set in four different worlds, some of which I'd met before. Excellent.

Troubled Waters - Sharon Shinn - a nice story of a young woman finding herself.

Witches Abroad - Terry Pratchett - fun witches story.
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Eternal - Cynthia Leitch Smith - second in the trilogy that started with Tantalize. Seems to have no link to its predecessor. A nice Twinkie like its predecessor.

Blessed - Cynthia Leitch Smith - third of the trilogy. Ties them all together. Again, a pleasant, quick, fluffy read.

Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell - nook - oh. What a good read. Less action, and more portrait of the people. Recommend.

Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett - reread. Since this was published, lots of people have remembered how ... dangerous the Fair Folk are.

Sword & Sorceress XXVI - latest in the series. Enjoyed.

Motel of the Mysteries - David Macauley - amusing book. Illustrated. Future historians excavate a motel, and explain (wrongly) what they find.

Beauvallet - Georgette Heyer - ick. Do not recommend.

The Sleeping Partner - Madeleine E. Robins - fantastic mystery/ alternative history/ Regency fun. Yay! Another will be coming!

Moon Called -
Blood Bound -
Iron Kissed -
Bone Crossed -
Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson series. Coyote in a pack of werewolves. I really like how the love triangle doesn't last for more than a few books.

Cry Wolf -
Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs - 2 more in the same world as Mercy Thompson. No coyote, only werewolves. Not quite as good.

Wolfsbane - Patricia Briggs - continuation of Masques. It is really nice to see a couple working out how they are going to be a couple, not just the start of, "Oooo! I like him!"

Steal the Dragon - Patricia Briggs - another in the Sianam series, set about 10 years after Masques.

When Demons Walk - Patricia Briggs - a fourth Sianam book. Set a few years after Steal the Dragon.
If you couldn't tell, I really like this series.

Year's total: 18
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Tantalize - Cynthia Leitich Smith - nook - fluffy YA vampire novel. An amusing Twinkie.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker - Leanna Renee Hieber - nook - I picked this up on a recommendation from someone at the bookstore. Didn't like it. Brooding "romantic" hero, fate of the world, yadda, yadda, yadda.....

The Stone Fey - Robin McKinley - reread - I do like this book. Sweet and romantic in all the right ways...

Food Matters - Mark Bittman - very interesting book about how to change your diet, and what to. Recipes included. I plan to try some of them.

The Escape - Katherine Mansfield - like the more boring stuff in high school English. Ick.

Crown Duel & Court Duel - Sherwood Smith - fantastic! Fantasy, lightly romantic, most of the plot focus is not on the romance part, which is excellent.

The Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer - nook - reread - delightful romp.

Mina Laury - Charlotte Bronte - wow. Very Gothic and overdone. Mercy.

The Whale Rider - Witi Ihimaera - Very interesting book. It has been a long time since I saw the movie, and I had a migraine when I did.

The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories - Charles W. Chesnutt - nook - fascinating set of short stories, written by a black man and set in black culture between the Civil War and the turn of the century. Recommend.

Year's total: 179

Well, I didn't make the 180 goal I set in November. The 2012 goal will be 52, which should be nice and easy.
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Buried by Breakfast - Claudia Bishop -
Carol for a Corpse - Claudia Bishop -
A Dinner to Die For - Claudia Bishop - all three from the Hemlock Falls series. I've decided not to keep them, and I also want to make 180 books this year, and I knew they'd be quick reads.

The Kepi - Colette - a short book. I don't particularly like it.

Night's Rose - Annaliese Evans - romance with monsters, set in the 1750s or so. Not bad.

The Heiress Companion - Madeleine Robins - quite a good Regency romance.

Year's total: 168
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1632 - Eric Flint - read on nook, free from Baen's library, but I did have a hardcopy - frothy story, in which a chunk of West Virginia is transported to the middle of the Thirty Years War. Subtly sexist - almost every main character woman is young, and all are attractive. The men's appearances are all described in terms of fighting, the women's in terms of being cute. I don't believe these people would have adapted as well as they seem to, nor do I believe the 17th century Europeans would have. On the other hand, the characterizations are pretty shallow, so maybe that part just got left out. Also, much too mil-sf for me.

The Door through Space - Marion Zimmer Bradley - pre-Darkover. She stole some of her ideas for Darkover from this book. A nice Twinkie of a read.

Masques - Patricia Briggs - ooooo. Very good story, with a fantastic heroine, a believable romance and a good plot. Will be looking for hardcopy.

Snuff - Terry Pratchett - okay enough. Not one of his best.
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The Apothecary Rose - Candace Robb - historical mystery, set in pre-War of the Roses England. Good enough to find the rest of the series, not good enough to buy them.

Cold Magic - Kate Elliott - mmmmm, yummy. I will be buying the next one in the series, and eagerly anticipating the third!

Thud! - Terry Pratchett - a Discworld Watch book. What more can I say?

Two Years Before the Mast - Richard Henry Dana, Jr. - So my parents gave my brother a copy when we were kids, to encourage him to read. But they wouldn't give me books at that point, because it was established that I was (and continue to be) a voracious reader. And now I have finally read this book. It has a lot of sailing jargon in it. I skimmed over that. The rest of the book is very interesting, especially since I have a slight familiarity with the parts of California he is discussing. Gutenberg has the e-book, if you'd like to try. I will probably read his other travel account, of a trip to Cuba.

Year's total: 158
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El Dorado - Baroness Orczy - yeah, um, I really liked The Scarlet Pimpernel as a 10-15 year old - so romantic - and I assumed I'd like the sequels. Well, I bounced off this. Love at first sight! Putting your mission at risk because she's just that amazing! I... just don't have the patience. Yes, that's a start. But it takes more than that to make a relationship, and I just couldn't deal with this book, so I put it down.

Lamb to the Slaughter - Roald Dahl - a small collection of some of his best stories. And they are fantastic. Much ... sharper ... than his children's books.

Naked City - ed. Ellen Datlow - I admit, I bought it for Ellen Kushner's Riverside story. So good. The rest of the book was not a bad read either. Some of the stories were good, others less so.

Legacy - Susan Kay - historical fiction - Elizabeth I this time. Fascinating read. It covers her whole life, all 70 years. I had been accustomed to sympathizing with Mary Queen of Scots, and this book put Elizabeth into a new light.

The Law of Becoming - Kate Elliot - fourth in the Jaran series. OMG. Just pulled the first three books all together. Amazing. Strongly recommend the series now!

The Freedom Maze - Delia Sherman - received free as an Early Reviewer for LibraryThing. Here is what I posted there:
An amazingly good book! I very much liked how the time travel element was handled, and that it was not an easy transition to the past for the protagonist.

The slavery at the plantation was probably about as "good" as slavery could get, with a mistress who preferred not to have her slaves whipped. The book brings out that even with that, slavery is pretty horrific. One of the slaves comments, wisely, that the overseer's job was to bully and beat people so the mistress could remain kind.

It's worth noting that I am white, and that the author did have beta readers of color.

Year's total: 154
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The Family Tree - Carole Cadwalladr - interesting, and out of my usual, as it is not mystery or sff or historical fiction or a "classic," which might as well be another world, no?

Georgette Heyer's Regency World - Jennifer Kloester - nook - nonfiction, drawn from Georgette Heyer's notes and materials on the Regency. Provides a lot of background to Heyer's novels.

His Conquering Sword - Kate Elliot - third in the Jaran series. Very good. Worldbuilding in the previous books kept up and added to. More disparate focus than the previous books, because it's following a lot more characters.

Year's total: 149
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Callendar Square -
Paragon Walk -
Death in Devil's Acre -
Rutland Place - Anne Perry, all three - all from a long running series, which for some reason, I want to read all of... Not bad mysteries, but I am not sure I will be keeping them.

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici - C.W. Gortner - interesting historical fiction about what was happening in France through Elizabeth's reign. Nice to have non-English historical fiction.

No Proper Lady - Isabelle Cooper - nook - very good romance/ fantasy fiction. Highly recommend. I picked it up because I "know" the author online.

Year's total: 146
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Colors of Space - Marion Zimmer Bradley - nook - I have a hardcopy, but read the project gutenberg edition. Amusing little juvenile. Mostly male.

An Earthly Crown - Kate Elliot - second in the Jaran series. Fascinating.

April Lady - Georgette Heyer - fluff, and not her best.

Year's total: 140
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Both by Alicorn. Twilight fanfic novels (full length). Very good - I think they answer a lot of the criticism I've seen about the original novels.

Year's total: 139
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Arabella - Georgette Heyer - nook - amusing.

Sisters of the Raven - Barbara Hambly - nook - interesting. The nook version has noticable spelling error, which I found annoying. Worth a read.

Powers - Ursula LeGuin - nook - decent YA. As always, good worldbuilding.

Jaran - Kate Elliot - I am not sure how I feel about this book. It's about a woman named Tess, and her relationships with 2 different men - her brother and another one. I find the different cultures fascinating, but I am not sure if the book should be shorter. It's worth taking a look if you like science fiction.

The Reluctant Widow - Georgette Heyer - nook - urgh. If the author was trying to make it clear that the heroine was okay with the things she was agreeing to, she did not succeed very well. There are hints, but it could have been brought out better. Do not recommend.

Regency Buck - Georgette Heyer - nook - okay. The bits in Brighton pavilloin are wayyyy to much description for me. I think the hero is an idiot; he could have explained himself. But then there wouldn't be a book would there?

Under the Duvet - Marion Keyes - a collection of essays previously published. Breezy style, and comfort read before bed.

Year's total: 137
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Gifts - Ursula Le Guin - First of a YA trilogy. A good read.

Voices - Ursula Le Guin - nook - Second in the same trilogy. Better than the first, about people who love books!

Both of the above have Le Guin's fantastic worldbuilding and culture-building, good characters and characterization. I have already started, and started enjoying, the third book.

The Sixth Wife - Susannah Dunn - nook - Retelling of the last few years of Catherine Parr's life. I found it very annoying that I had to use Wikipedia halfway through to figure out who the first person narrator was. The author took some definite liberties with the plot. Would not recommend.

Ooku: The Inner Chambers, Vol. 6 - Fumi Yoshinaga - another in the series. Very much enjoyed. Manga for grownups.

Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon - nook - unintentional reread. If I had realized earlier, I would not have finished it. Not a bad book, but not great either.

Cardington Crescent - Anne Perry - I think I am re/reading the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. This is the first one I've read in a while, though it is not the first in the series. Decent read, though from reading Marriage: A History, the author's take on Victorian marriage may not be accurate.

Imperial Hostage - Phil Cantrell - free through librarything's early review program:

This book was a bit clunkily written, and very obviously the first in a series (Book 1 of the Destruction Series is printed on the cover.).

It is set in an Atlantis-like place called Poseidia, capital of an empire which sort of has modern technology, but also ESP-type stuff. Iron and airships (hydrogen lifted, of course), with no real backstory on how/why they're there.

I grew bored with the amazing, multitalented boy who is the focus of the story. He is the hostage of the title, and befriends various Empire people, but seems to have little or no concern over what would happen to them if he follows his father's directions and figures out how to invade the island that Poseidia is on.

Nitpicking: The Poseidians' names are all hyphenated, which I found incredibly annoying. The elephants, mentioned in passing living on the/an island, kicked me right out of the book. No way! Looking back, they're supposed to be smaller than African elephants, but considering they're called "mammoth elephants," I don't feel bad about my confusion.

Year's total: 130
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The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer - a cross between a romance and a mystery. Pleasant light reading.

Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle - Georgette Heyer - one of her better ones; I'll be keeping an eye out for my own copy at some point.

Sprig Muslin - Georgette Heyer - a romp, totally. Very amusing, but I am not sure how re-readable.

No Will But His - Sarah A. Hoyt - Novel of Catherine Howard. Poor Catherine Howard. It's hard to make a novel of her, because there isn't much there there.

Ghost Story - Jim Butcher - the latest Dresden book. A good read.

Year's total: 123
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Faro's Daughter - Georgette Heyer - nook - unintentional reread; amusing, but really, the end is unbelievable.

The World that Made New Orleans - Ned Sublette (&, my brain adds, Constance Ash) - nook - fascinating book. More about the history of slavery in the United States than I had learned in high school. Highly recommend.

A Scholar of Magics - Caroline Stevermer - amusing book, followup to A College of Magics. A pleasant, amusing read.

My Dear Jenny - Madeleine Robins - on nook, from Book View Cafe - I do like her Regencies. Yum. I may have to figure out how to get a hard copy.

Priceless - Robert K. Wittman - interesting autobiography of an art thief hunter. A quick and easy read.

Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom - Cory Doctorow - nook - interesting, though I did not like the people in it very much.

Ars Magica - Judith Tarr - nook - historical fantasy about Pope Sylvester II, mostly before he became the pope. Not a bad read.

Brain Twister - Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer - nook, gutenberg - not bad. Somewhat dated.

The Chinese Maze Mystery - Robert van Gulick - nook - not bad. I won't be keeping it, though.

Year's Total: 117


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November 2015



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