All the books I read this year with short reviews. Assume if it says “reread” that I liked it pretty well in the first place.
1. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham. Charming fluff.
2. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. Reread, one of my favorite Discworld books.
3. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett. Reread, Tiffany Aching is love.
4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Serious lols.
5. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker. Holy crap balls, my heart. Julia lives in a southern California suburb and is just starting the 7th grade. One Saturday, she wakes up to find it all over the news. The Earth’s rotation is slowing down. It affects everything; gravity, the tides, the birds, and human behavior. An older Julia tells the story of her life the first year of the slowing. It’s beautifully detailed, interesting, lovely and sad. And for once, the main character is not that the center of the extraordinary events. Julia’s parents are an OBGYN at a local hospital and a high school drama teacher and Julia is a normal kid in middle school. Nobody is drawn into the quest to find out why the slowing is happening or how to reverse it. Julia and her family are on the outside, dealing with the everyday reality of these events, listening to the news in a fruitless hope for answers. It’s refreshing, new, and wonderfully written. I highly, highly recommend The Age of Miracles.
6. Ringworld by Larry Niven. I don’t know? Wildly sexist, terrible female characters, and I had a hard time picturing the things being described. But it wasn’t horrible? I’ll probably read the next one and then decide if I like Mr. Niven.
7. Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings. On the whole, good, but the whole “people of this country/race are ALL one thing” trope is really starting to wear on me. If I hear a variation on “Those Tolnedrans sure are greedy” one more time…Also, there’s not much tension in these books. Like, the good guys are clearly going to win because this is quest fantasy and that’s what good guys DO. And the life of a few side characters might be in danger, but at my count, at least five members of the fellowship are in the “safe for sure” category. It’s kind of comforting in a way.
8. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Go read it now, for lo, this book is awesome and interesting and smart and fucking fantastic.
9. Castle of Wizardry by David Eddings. Not bad but suffered very much from “middle of the series” syndrome. Still, Ce’Nedra is badass in this one, which I enjoyed.
10. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. Audiobook, read by Fisher Stevens which was just the most perfect voice casting ever. I found Lamb quite amusing and not a little sweet. Highly enjoyable.
11. Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill. Jesus Christ, what the hell, why. It was gruesome, disgusting, and one of the more depressing thing I can remember reading recently. Now, since it was a book about fairies, gruesome and disgusting are legit things for it to be, but it was seriously unrelenting. And just, the overall theme of the book was, “Bleak. Bleak. Bleakbleakbleakbleakbleak. Bleak UNTIL YOU DIE. And then, maybe more bleakness because there is a very real chance you’re going to hell! Did I mention? BLEAKNESS UNTIL THE END OF TIME.” It was not a badly written book by any means, but it was a hopeless one in a lot of ways and there was never going to be a way for me to read this and like it. I might read something else by this author some day because he’s not without talent but it would have to read lots of reviews first to see if his other stuff is as relentlessly off putting as this one.
12. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It was really interesting, reading this and the last book at the same time, comparing the different takes on fairies. I much prefer this one. I loved all the things about this. The characters, the plot, the clothes (so 80s), the music, all the things. Must read all the Emma Bull, asap.
13. Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds by Gail Simone, Ed Benes, Alex Lei, and Rob Lea.
14. Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student by Gail Simone et all.
15. Birds of Prey: Between Bark & Dawn by Gail Simone et al.
16. Birds of Prey: The Battle Within by Gail Simone et al.
17. Birds of Prey: Perfect Pitch by Gail Simone et al.
18. Birds of Prey: Blood and Circuits by Gail Simone et al.
19. Birds of Prey: Dead of Winter by Gail Simone et al.
20. Birds of Prey: End Run by Gail Simone et al.
21. Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle by Gail Simone et al.
Okay, so my issues with the writing in these comics were few and far between. There was some slut shaming and the whole “Black Canary’s secret identity is revealed and it causes her WOE” thing baffled me, because she doesn’t wear a mask or change her hair and given that she’s a founding member of the Justice League, her face is a pretty well known one and I was 100% unaware that that she even HAD a secret identity until the plot came up in “End Run.” Also, the whole “Death of Oracle” storyline had me baffled too, because…she kept being Oracle? Like, wtf? I didn’t get the point. But for the most part, the writing was fantastic. The focus was on female friendships and kicking ass and it was great. Woo!
I did have many, many issues with the art. There’s not really much to say about the costumes of female superheroes that hasn’t already been said (though I have some complaints to launch about their off duty clothes too, because ugh) but I would just like to reiterate that fishnet stockings seem like one of the worst possible things to wear while engaging in hand to hand combat. Also, in “Death of Oracle” half the characters inexplicably looked like Taylor Swift, wtf, stop it.
My larger issue is one that I’ve complained of before. It’s that comics are friggin’ hard to follow. At one point while reading this series there was just a page that said, “Yo, the events of Infinite Crisis happened so your comic has skipped ahead a year and a lot of shit happened, you might want to check that out.” And it’s not that I don’t want to. I would LOVE to read Infinite Crisis. But no two sources I can find agree on which comics/collections are the vital parts of Infinite Crisis and the publishers have seen fit not to offer any advice on the subject and ARG. I WANT TO READ THINGS, MAKE IT EASIER, DAMN YOU.
Okay, I’m done. What you should take away from this is that if you want to read some comics about a group of women who are good friends and kick lots of ass, the Gail Simone run of Birds of Prey is an excellent place to start.
22. Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles. An oddly beautiful dystopian novel. Kind of slow at times, but overall lovely and thoughtful and funny and lyrical and hopeful and just, yes.
23. The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe. I think I would have liked this better if it had been written by a woman because I feel like it would have been less about sex then? Or just that the sex stuff would have been handled in a way that didn’t make me cringe? I don’t know. I still liked it, it was a really, really interesting take on fairies and I plan an reading the next book, I just feel like it could have been executed better. Or not even better. Just with less sex. Unnecessary, kind of gross sex.
24. Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. I have no memory of what happened in the last book and I’m sure by the time I get the next book (I’m 54th or something on the hold list) I will have no memory of this one. Mindless fluff.
25. Bones of Contention by Jeanne Matthews. Mystery, set in modern Australia. Not great. Not even good. The characters were all terrible people, and while I think the author was trying to be inclusive with the characters of color and non-straight characters, but it was not well done at all. Super offensive in places, in fact. Will not be reading more things by this author.
26. Trapeze by Simon Mawer. Set in England and France during WWII, about a young woman who is bilingual and undergoes spy training in England before being sent to France to help in the resistance. Partially based in fact (and now I want to find out ALL THE THINGS about the organization that is featured in the book). It was interesting, sad, funny, and lovely.
27. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. I probably would have liked this more if I’d read it as a kid, but I liked it plenty now! I enjoyed reading about a character as clumsy as I am and just in general it was really interesting how it could be fantasy or it could not be? YOU DECIDE.
28. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. Hmm. I’m not sure this was the best Margaret Atwood book to start with? I was expecting feminist sci-fi and that’s not what I got. Plus, this book in particular was kind of hugely triggering for me. It was well written and I plan to read the sequel, I just wasn’t expecting what I got at all.
29. Railsea by China Miéville. THIS AUTHOR IS SUCH A WEIRDO. In the best possible way. This book is really fantastic though I couldn’t begin to describe it to you.
30. Enchanter’s End Game by David Eddings. Suffers from being written in the 80s but on the whole, very enjoyable end to the series.
31. Wonder Woman: The Circle by Gail Simonoe, Terry Dodson and Bernard Chang. So, so good.
32. Wonder Woman: Ends of the Earth by Gail Simone, Aaron Lopresti, and Bernard Change. Also so, so good.
33. The Bride Wore Size Twelve by Meg Cabot. Charming fluff.
34. Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot. Reread. Apparently I was in the mood for charming fluff?
35. All American Girl by Meg Cabot. Reread. Some parts of this book are less funny as a grown-up but other parts are super much more hilarious. Laughed out loud several times, despite having read it at least three times. Oh, Meg, thanks for the oh so excellent fluff.
36. The Joker: The Greatest Stories Ever Told by various. A compilation of a bunch of Joker comics. I’ll be honest, the earlier ones were really hard to get through. 50s era comics hold little to no interest for me. There was one where “boner” kept being used for “blunder” and it was said over and over and over again. How am I supposed to read that, I ask you. Plus, I think some of the best Joker comics (The Killing Joke and Joker by Brian Azzarello, among others) were written after this version was compiled. Oh well. Still enjoyable on the whole.
37. The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens. Not her best. And for the love of god, woman, do some research and find out what kind of undergarments people wore during the time period you’re writing about.
38. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. I did like this one more, but I’m going to have to think about it a while to get my mind around it. Also, I listened to the audiobook and production wise, I have two notes. First, the reader who did the Adam 1 bits was absolutely, fantastically brilliant. Second, I thought some of the hymns would have been more affecting if they’d been sung a cappella, especially towards the end.
39. Destiny’s Road by Larry Niven. Audiobook. I liked this better than Ringworld, but I still have trouble picturing some of the things the author describes. And the science is massively wacky. And while the women are massively better written than the ones in Ringworld, there’s still quite a way to go. But on the whole, enjoyable.
40. The Silver Dream by Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves and Mallory Reaves. Ebook. Well, that sure did end abruptly as fuck and on a giant cliffhanger. It was good but geez, books, stop doing this to me.
41. Wisp of a Thing by Alex Bledsoe. In a lot of ways I liked this better than the first book, but in other ways it made it seem like the continuity was off? I don’t know. Also, since I read the audiobook, I wish some kind of effort had been made with the music, since it was such an important part of the narrative.
42. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. This was a shitton of fun but it also seemed really well researched, which I greatly appreciated. Set in England during the Napoleonic war, it really seemed like the author thought about how both the British and Napoleon would use dragons in battle. Now, were some of the dragons better written characters than some of the humans? Yup. Did I give any damns? Nope.
43. Looking for Jake by China Miéville. Eh. A couple of the stories were decent and one was massively creepy in a really good way, but by and large, I think Mr. Miéville should stick to the long format.
44. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden. Reread. I watched the movie on Netflix and it made me want to read the book.
45. Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Ebook. Cats in space! Not either authors’ best, but fluffy good times. HAHAHA, SEE WHAT I DID THERE.
46. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik. Not as good as the first one, but still lots of fun. I’m very fond of the main character, which is unusual, since the main character is a middle aged guy. But he’s actually very sweet under his period correct correctness and it’s ridic adorable when he calls his (male) dragon “my dear.”
47. Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich. Yup, no real memory of what happened in the last one. I might be done with these, they haven’t gotten actively bad like the Anita Blake books but there’s still only so many car explosions and so much Joe vs. Ranger a girl can take.
48. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Because I saw Divergent and it made me more eager to read the second book than I was after finishing reading the first book. It was okay.
49. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. It was good, but I’m just done with the dystopian genre for a while. Even when they end well, there’s just too much bleakness for me right now.
50. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Oh Neil, you delightful weirdo.
51. Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane. Well, the main character is very unsympathetic (in fact, pretty much the only sympathetic character is a drug dealer’s enforcer, which, problematic) and the plot was a mess, but it was kind of mindless fun so I might just read the next one, if only to see if poor Terrible gets any action.
52. The Principle of Desire by Delphine Dryden.
53. The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden. Not as bad as they could have BDSM romance novels. There’s still a ton of sketchy shit going on re: “Let’s just start doing it and work out the details later!” that’s probably not the best way to portray things, but still miles and miles and miles ahead of 50 Shades.
54. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I’m going to do a full review of this whole series, so I’ll just say here that I really liked this book.
55. Ender’s World ed. by Orson Scott Card. The whole thing was very self congratulatory. It would have been nice to see at least one essay that wasn’t entirely, “ZOMG, BRILLIANT.” Not that Ender’s Game isn’t an amazing piece of fiction, but it’s not the end all be all of sci-fi, you know? Still, there was some interesting stuff in this and it was enjoyable on the whole. I did find one part really funny. The contributors asked questions and Mr. Card answered and at one point, Mr. Card is discussing Ender’s attack on Bonzo. And he said something along the lines of, “Ender’s attack was deliberate. He set out to seriously injure Bonzo, because that was the only way to really win. I would never cheapen it by having Bonzo hit his head on a sink or having Ender win through a Bonzo making a mistake.” And then I lol-ed because that’s EXACTLY what the movie did (the head+sink thing) and it’s one of the many reasons the movie SUCKED.
56. The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven. Aaaaand I’m out. I’ve decided that Larry Niven is not my cup of tea. I still had trouble picturing the things he was describing AND I found this one super boring. Add that in with the fact that another of his books (Building Harlequin’s Moon) was so irksome I couldn’t finish it because it was about people from Earth who hadn’t done their math right and need to terraform a moon of a gas giant on the way to their colony world to refuel and decided to BREED A RACE OF SLAVES to do it, instead of using the (readily available) AI or nanobots because that was against their principles and WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK. But they could use the nanobots to achieve immortality! But you can’t expect the colonist to do the necessary work, because that’s not what they signed up for! So, let’s pick a few people to give birth to a a bunch of people and raise those people to do all the work we don’t want to and when we finally get what we want, we’ll leave them here on the moon that we haven’t set up for long term stability! JUST BECAUSE WE CAN. It all just made me so angry and upset. So, yeah. Larry Niven is not for me.
57. The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card. The plot was interesting and I really liked what Mr. Card did with Wad/Loki (until the end) but jesus fucking christ does this guy not know how to write teenage girls. All of Danny’s female friends throw themselves at him in super blatant and harass-y ways and the one that Danny is actually interested in says something along the lines of “When her man goes off to war, a woman wants his baby in her belly.” What the fuck, no. Not one single 16 year old I have ever been personally acquainted with would ever, ever say that. Just everything that had to do with sex was problematic, and there was a LOT of it. Danny wants to have sex but it’s too noble and pure to do it and all the girls want to have sex either to have a baby or to prove their self worth. Wtf, shut up, why are you so stupid. And yet, I’ll probably still read the next one.
58. Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane. I have the exact same feelings about this one that I did the first one.
59. Bone Dance by Emma Bull. Kind of post apocalyptic sci-fi by way of voodoo? Whatever the hell the genre was, it was awesome. There were some lovely friendships and a not small amount of humor.
60. The Sky People by S.M. Stirling. Very interesting concept. Alternative history/take on the pulp sci-fi of the 40s/50s/60s. What if Venus and Mars really did have life on them, which we discovered via telescopes in the 50s? Everybody started pouring money into their space programs and we had colonies on both planets by the 80s. There’s a bit on how if affected politics on Earth (Kennedy wasn’t assassinated, the Cold War just kind of fizzled out, the European Union happened decades earlier, but without Great Britain because they’d allied with America for space stuff, etc) but it was mostly about the colony on Venus (the sequel is about Mars) and man, it was tons of fun. For sure brought to mind C.S. Lewis and Ray Bradbury and, man, so many others like that. Mr. Stirling didn’t always succeed in straddling the line between honoring what came before and NOT being racist/sexist, but he did pretty well, all things considered. Will def be reading the sequel. One thing that did drive me crazy is that it KEPT being mentioned that because of the higher level of oxygen, fire burned all that much fiercer. Seriously, shut up about the O2 levels, okay? I GET IT.
61. The Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff. Reread. I enjoyed this book much, much more the second time around. SLIGHT SPOILERS It seemed to go faster (what I remembered from last time was the Craig had been held for a loooong time before Torin managed to rescue him, but it was less than a week!) and how did I miss/not remember the Werst/Ressk stuff because it is ADORABLE. If I was Mashona, I would never, never stop teasing Werst about it because of the vast levels of adorableness. END SPOILERS It was just so much more fun than I remember. I mean, it’s still not as good as the first three books (THE FOURTH BOOK IS TOO SAD, I JUST CAN’T LIKE IT AS MUCH AS THE OTHERS, OKAY) and it’s clearly a transition book, but I remember it as being actually bad when it is a perfectly fine, fun book. And now I’m actually looking forward to the next book! Woo!
62. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Reread. The book is still adorable but I kept thinking, “Check your privilege” and then lol-ing at myself.
63. Birds of Prey: Club Kids by Tony Bedard, Nicola Scott, Jason Orfalas, David Cole. UGH. COMICS, WHY. This collection contained issued 109-112 and 118. The next one contains 113-117. WHERE A MAJOR PLOT POINT FOR 118 HAPPENED. WHY. WHY. Just collect them in the order they were published, okay? IS THAT SO HARD. UGH.
64. Birds of Prey: Metropolis or Dust by Sean McKeever, Nicola Scott, Doug Hazlewood.
65. Birds of Prey: Platinum Flats by Bedard, O’Hare, Scott, St. Aubin.
66. Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I like that this wasn’t a “noble blood will shine through” story. Cedric is a sweet and kind child partly because of his nature but also because his mother raised him to be. All in all, very delightful.
67. Oracle: The Cure by people I forgot to write down. My bad.
68. Birds of Prey Vol 1: Trouble in Mind by Duane Swierczynski, Jesus Saiz. Hmm. New 52 storyline.
69. Birds of Prey Vol 2: Your Kiss Might Kill by blah blah blah. Yeah, I don’t think I’m a fan of the New 52 stuff. All the relationships feel unearned.
70. Birds of Prey Vol 3: A Clash of Daggers by Duane Swierczynski, Romano Molenaar, Vicente Cifuentes. So, this included one issue of the New 52 Batgirl and it was fucking glorious. The art, the story, the relationships, it was all fantastic. It made the Birds of Prey stuff all the worse by comparison.
71. Damned by Chuck Palahniuk. I thought Chuck Palahniuk was supposed to be funny? Because I did not get that from this book. It was bitter and cynical and….I don’t know, jack-assy? Don’t know that I’ll read any more books by Mr. Palahniuk in the future.
72. Anathem by Neal Stephenson. Reread, still love it.
73. Cress by Marissa Meyer. Lots of fun! Really looking forward to the next one.
74. Stealing Magic by Tanya Huff. Reread, love the connected short stories.
75. Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones. Reread. I was home sick with a migraine this day and the only things I could do were lie very still and pray I wasn’t going to throw up and lie very still and pray I wasn’t going to throw up while reading. Hence this book and the last. Enchanted Glass made me desperately miss DWJ, because it is calling out for a sequel. And then I got to thinking about how Earwig will never be finished and how we’ll never find out how Duck became such a moron and whether Nick and Roddy got together and we won’t see Sophie and Howl grow old together and man, the world became a less magical place when Diana Wynne Jones died.
76. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stephenson. I’m not sure I properly absorbed this book, I might have to reread it.
77. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I’ve been trying to finish this book for more than ten years. It’s a resounding “eh.”
78. The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones. Reread. My favorite characters are always the ones who need hugs and I’d forgotten just how chock full of them the Dalemark books are. Oh, Duck how could you be so stupid? Bright, brave Duck. Do you think he didn’t see Tanaqui for the entire 200 years between the time he found out Noreth was dead and he saw Mitt at the palace? Because I can’t help but think that she would have talked him about of being so stupid.
79. Shadows by Robin McKinley. Reread, love it.
80. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Reread, love it.
81. Terrier by Tamora Pierce. Reread, along with http://markreads.net/reviews/. I think this is the first time I’ve reread this since it was published. I’d forgotten, because I dislike the next two books so much, that this one is actually quite fun. But I think that’s part of why I was so displeased with the next two books. There’s so much potential in the first book, with Beka making the Lower City a better/safer place because she cares about the people there, with Beka’s relationships with Rotso and Kora and Erskine and Aniki and how they’d work together on different sides of the law to do good, with Beka’s relationship with her family and how it would evolve and change as everybody grew up, and just, it’s all ABANDONED in the other two books and boooooo. We don’t get to see reforms in how the Dogs do things (because the system of Happy Bags, and “we’ll break this robber’s arm because he’s not a big enough criminal for us to take him in” thing, and tolerating people who get drunk while on duty THAT’S NOT AN OKAY WAY FOR A POLICE FORCE TO BE) and it’s just all bullshit. Plus, I ALWAYS thought the framing device of “George reading his ancestor’s dairy to learn right from wrong” was stupid. So, yes, this book was fun but SO FRUSTRATING.
82. Deep Secrets by Diana Wynne Jones. Reread. How on Earth did I miss (FOR YEARS) the fact that this book was all about coincidences and Rupert consistently ignoring them despite the fact the it’s part of his Magid training that “there are no coincidences?” Like, seriously, it is EVERYTHING the book is about and I never knew it. Wtf, self, wtf.
83. Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach. What. WHAT. So this book is rockin’ along, being awesome and badass and funny and I’m loving it. And then the end. WHAT THE HELL. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, RUPERT. Almost every single thing Devi ever said to you was about choice. SO WHAT THE FUCK. UGH. Really looking forward to the next book!
84. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Reread.
85. Black Powder Way by Naomi Novik. Dragged a little at times, but was still tons of fun and I’m looking forward to the next one!
86. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Reread.
87. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett. Reread.
88. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It turns out, the book never once mentions either lightening or dead bodies. Victor Frankenstein uses chemistry to bring his creation to life. Who knew? Also, he’s not a doctor. He is, however, a coward, a shit-head, a whiner, a moron, and an asshole. I do not understand the appeal of this book.
89. Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich. It is what it is!
90. A Sudden, Wild Magic by Diana Wynne Jones. Reread.
91. Original Sin by Allison Brennan. Fun, though not really very good.
92. The City of Ghosts by Stacia Kane. The only sympathetic character continues to be the drug lord’s enforcer. And even that was questionable, because even when you’re justifiably angry, verbal abuse does not win you any points. But despite the lack of any characters to give a fuck about, the world building is interesting and these books are a fairly entertaining way to pass the time.
93. White Cat by Holly Black. Reread. I really, really love these books.
94. Doll Bones by Holly Black. Holly Black, you are one creepy ass motherfucker and I love you for it. This was also a very sweet story about “growing up.” Good times.
95. Red Gloves by Holly Black. Reread.
96. Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach. Tons of fun! Lots of action, lots of humor, lots of kicking ass. My only worry is that Devi is going to forgive Rupert, which, no.
97. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Reread. This continues to be one of the most beautifully descriptive books I’ve ever read. Also, I love a book that doesn’t ignore fashion.
98. You by Austin Grossman. Reread. I was able to pick up a lot of details I missed the first time, when I raced through because of feeeeeels.
99. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Full review to come.
100. Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Back. BAH. I enjoyed how the main plot was resolved but I hated, hated, hated the romance, So, BAH. There’s still enough good that I would recommend the trilogy as a whole though.
100.5 Faro’s Daughter by Georgette Heyer. Audiobook. I didn’t realize this was abridged when I downloaded it but It quickly became apparent. I’m not going to count it as a full book but I still wanted to comment on it because it was my first Georgette Heyer experience and despite the fact that the plot was super jumpy, the characters were charming and fun and there was much banter, so I’m going to check out some ebooks by Ms. Heyer, because I’m sure those have full text.
101. Black Hearts by Holly Black. Reread. Again, I really love these books.
102. The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones. Ugh, feels. So, this was the last book Diana Wynne Jones wrote and it was finished by her sister. I couldn’t tell where Ursula took over, so well done her. I just. Diana Wynne Jones was such a delightful author. The characters, the plots, the humor. I’ve loved her since I was a little girl and her books hold up as an adult and seriously, you are so, so missing out if you haven’t read any Diana Wynne Jones or even if you’ve only read Howl’s Moving Castle. I have recommendations out the wazoo and am always happy to find exactly the right book to help somebody fall in love with DWJ, you need only ask.
103. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine. This was largely “eh” but there were a couple of really good moments and it was entertaining and mindless, so I’ll probably give at least the second book a try.
104. Legend by Marie Lu. Audiobook. I only found this book “okay” despite some pretty decent world building because the two main characters are waaaaaay too similar. But after some though I realized that that might be on purpose? SPOILERS. It bodes well for the government to have June, one the privileged class, be “perfect” because that means the government is doing things right. But to have Day be “perfect?” One of the scum? So not on the party line. If it’s on purpose, that’s pretty clever and I hope the next book explores that!
105. The Dead Girls’ Dance by Rachel Caine. Not as good as the first one. All the characters got more stupid. And the number of head injuries the main character has sustained is highly improbable at the least. And speaking of the main character, Claire. It’s one thing for her not to want her bully (who is a legit psychopath) to die in a fire and I get why Claire saved her, but to not report attempted rape because “other than that they seemed like nice boys.” WHAT. NO. That is wrong on so many levels and is not a message the author should be spreading. They’re not nice boys who made a mistake, they’re terrible people who should face the consequences of their actions. Ugh.
106. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean. Oh, crappy romance novels, how you amuse me.
107. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. I loved the crap out of this book! Does it have it’s problems? Yes. The, “Oh everybody is going to be racist against Maia because he’s half goblin! thing,” and then nobody is stands out. I don’t think even Shevean brings it up when she SPOILERS? Or if she does, it’s indirectly. And then there’s the fact that with a couple of notable exceptions, everybody seems to embrace and welcome the fact that Maia has 180 views/policies from his father. I do think Ms. Addison tried to show that a lot of people were unhappy under that policies of Maia’s father (for instance, while there are clearly deeply engrained gender roles in the society, I think the novel showed that Varenechibel’s complete dismissal of his female relatives was very distressing to a lot of the characters and maybe meant to be a tipping point for change in Maia’s reign? I don’t think things work that that, but it felt like that’s what the author wanted us to think?) and were happy for change and while that would almost certainly be true of the lower classes, we see almost none of the lower classes (which Maia comments on but we don’t see him do anything to change) and it’s the upper classes that have been benefiting for these super shitty policies and who in all reality would be much more resistant to change. But flaws aside, I loved the characters and the setting was really interesting and I easily see this becoming one of my favorite books.
108. Island in the Sea of Time by S.M. Stirling. In March of 1998, the island of Nantucket (and a Coast Guard ship near shore) is transported back in time to 1250 BC. Almost no time is spent on figuring out how or why because the pragmatic inhabitants focus immediately on figuring out how to survive. The police chief and the captain of the Coast Guard ship (a female queer person of color!) form a provisional government with the immediate goal of figuring out how to feed the ~7000 people of Nantucket. It’s a really interesting take on alternate history/time travel and I really look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy!
109. Guardians of the West by David Eddings. I’m not normally a huge fan of quest fantasy but the characters and sense of humor in these books more than make up for any lacking in the plot/the vast amount of trope-iness.
110. The Rook by David O’Malley. Reread. This book is so funny and strange and delightful. I really hope it’s the start of a series!
111. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. Reread, I adore this series a ridiculous amount.
112. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. Reread.
113. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. Reread. And the main character of this one is perhaps my favorite character of all time. Oh, Ista. She’s bitter and sarcastic and world-weary and she never gives up. Oh, you want Ista on your team. She’s clever and fast and quietly stubborn and so, so awesome. She used to be mad and she learned a lot from it. Shining Ista. She’ll cut a bitch.
114. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold. Reread. I like this book more and more ever time I reread it..
115. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente. I was loving the crap out of this and then it didn’t have an ending? Well, it did but it was waaaaaay underdeveloped and WTF-y. IDK, guys.
116. King of the Murgos by David Eddings. Surprising funny.
117. Lucifer: Devil in the Gateway by Mike Carey, Scott Hampton, Chris Weston, James Hodgkins, Warren Pleece, and Dean Ormston. Oh, shiny, yes, yes, yes.
118. Lucifer: Children and Monsters by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly, and Dean Ormston.
119. Lucifer: A Dalliance With the Damned by Mike Carey, Peter Gross Ryan Kelly, and Dean Ormston.
120. Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice. It didn’t feel like a terribly well researched book? And the main character was super, super whiny and apathetic. He recognized it as a flaw within himself, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to kick his ass into gear. And the reader wasn’t super fantastic, I occasionally had trouble telling which character was speaking. But some of the more icky parts were handled rather deftly (the whole “child vampire” thing among them) and while I can see why it was met with resounding “ehs” back in the day, I can also see why people picked up the next book when it came out.
121. Lucifer: The Divine Comedy by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly, and Dean Ormston.
122. Lucifer: Inferno by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly, Dean Ormston, and Craig Hamilton.
123. Lucifer: Mansions of the Silence by Mike Carey, Peter Gross, Ryan Kelly, Dean Ormston, and David Hahn. This series is all about predestination and how much Lucifer (the character spun off from the Sandman series, not the biblical one) cannot abide the concept. I’m not a big fan of it myself, so I love, love, love this series. The artwork is by and large not my favorite but I’ve also seen worse.
124. Gom on Windy Mountain by Grace Chetwin. This is the series I mentioned on Facebook where I read it as a kid and it ended on a cliffhanger and I just discovered there are more books. But they’re only available in ebook format and I wanted to see if the books had held up before I spent money, so I check out the four my library had. And I’m not actually sure I read this one? I know I read the third book first and I think by the time I read the other two it didn’t seem necessary? It was 20 years ago, I don’t really remember. Anyway, this book was a perfectly nice kids’ book and I’m glad I read it!
125. The Riddle and the Rune by Grave Chetwin. Reread. I started to think I hadn’t read this one either, but there was a specific incident with peas that I remembered, so I guess I did read it. It was quite good, even if the continuity seemed a little off.
126. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger. Steampunk fantasy, tons of fun, lots of good characters.
127. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Not terrible, not great. I guessed the plot almost immediately.
128. The Crystal Stair by Grave Chetwin. Reread. Some continuity errors in Gom’s personality and how old he’s supposed to be is never really settled but still an engaging and enjoyable book.
129. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price. I would call this pop romance urban fantasy? It’s a fairly good example of the genre but that doesn’t mean it’s actually good.
130. When the Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath. Even with my low expectations for the genre, this was not great.
131. The Starstone by Grave Chetwin. Reread. Okay, so that didn’t end on quite as big of a cliffhanger as I remember, though it is clearly not meant to be the last book in the series. I’m for sure going to buy the next book.
132. The Magicians by Lev Grossman. Reread. I actually enjoyed this much more this time around. Since I knew what I was getting with the characters, I could focus more on other things and it turns out, this is a very well constructed book. Good job, Lev Grossman!
133. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Reread. I love this book so much. It has all of my favorite things. A sarcastic female lead, characters who need hugs, banter, teamwork, people who are good friends to each other, just, I really, really love this book.
134. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Reread. Second verse, same as the first.
135. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. Reread. Oh courtroom scene, you’re the best.
136. Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett. Vetinari seemed weird in a way that was maybe reflective of Mr. Pratchett’s anger over his Alzheimer diagnosis? And just in general this book seemed more didactic and less…joyfully satirical than past Discworld books? It was by no means bad but it wasn’t as good as even the more recent books. It did seem to be kind of tying up loose ends, giving the goblins a more sure footing and have lots of characters show up, so maybe Mr. Pratchett is trying to end to series on his own terms? I don’t know.
137. Against the Tide of Years by S.M. Stirling. So many battles. SO MANY. There was also some interesting stuff about how the Islanders interacted with the different nations of 1250 BC and the different tactics used to make alliances and how they dealt with cultural differences that was contrasted with Walker’s (the villain) style of “I’m going to do things my way and so are you or you won’t like the consequences.” But for reals, SO MANY BATTLES. The third one promises more of the same, but I still like the characters (even though there a looooot of viewpoint characters at this point) and like I said, there is some interesting stuff going on re: politics/culture/whatever so I’m for sure going to read the third one still.
138. The Quick by Lauren Owen. This was Ms. Owen’s first novel and it, frankly, showed. There were pacing problems galore and the order the story we told was very strange/jarring at times. That said, the characters were good and the plot was an interesting take on a well trod subject. I’ll gladly give Ms. Owen’s second novel a chance when it appears.
139. Horns by Joe Hill. Um? I don’t know. There was a lot of good stuff here but there was a lot of not good stuff too (the female characters among other things). I think the book actually would have been a lot more effective of it had been told in more or less chronological order. Most of the stuff from when the characters were teenagers was really good and made me care about the characters much more. It also would have made Iggy’s transformation much more startling. I don’t know. I don’t think it was a bad book but I also don’t think I really liked it either.
140. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. Full review to come.
141. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman. My favorite of the series by far! Turns out Quentin is much less annoying as a grown-up. And we got to see some depth from Janet and Eliot, characters who were previously totally lacking depth. Julia was kind of a let down, but you can’t have everything, right?
142. Sandry’s Book by Tamora Pierce. Reread. I never really liked Sandry as a kid/teen but I have a whole new appreciation for her now. She’s a BAMF and I can’t believe I never noticed it before. Also, over the years I’ve come to value books about friendship and well built relationships more and more, so while I always found Sandry’s Book kind of boring when I was younger, now I suspect it’s going to be my second favorite of the series, right after Daja’s Book. Yay for seeing things in a new way!
143. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. Reread. Why yes, I did just read this for the first time two weeks ago. THAT’S HOW GOOD IT IS, Y’ALL
144. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. On the whole I liked it but there were a few problems. The main character was raised in virtual isolation with just her two foster parents but when the time comes for her to become queen, she has no problem adjusting to the hordes of people who now surround her constantly. There were a number of little things like that that by no means ruined the book for me but which made me go, “Yup, def a first novel.” But like I said, overall it was good and I for sure am going to read the next novel in the series when it comes out, especially since this one ended rather abruptly.
145. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger. This is a super, super fun series. Set in a spy school for young ladies of good breading, there are supernatural elements (werewolves and vampires) as well as steampunk (the school is in a giant dirigible) and there’s a ton of humor and cleverness in the writing. Weeeeee!
146. Fluke by Christopher Moore. A very mellow book but hilarious and great all the same. I’m going to look and see if Mr. Moore has written any books with female protagonists, because of the two books I’ve read by him, his female secondary characters are fantastic and I think he’d do pretty well with a female lead, which is not always true of male authors.
147. Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm. See full review.
148. Beauty by Robin McKinley. Reread. It becomes more and more obvious the older I get that Disney stole sooooo much of this book for both the movie and Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast.
149. Galore by Michael Crummey. Full review to come.
150. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Reread.
151. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mondel. Full review to come.
151. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison. This book was okay, fluffy magical realism in a small North Carolina town. The fantasy elements were fairly poorly done but the rest of it was decent. Kind of Sarah Dessen-esque but fluffier?
152. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. I liked this much, much more than Interview With a Vampire but I read it in such a disjointed fashion (I think I checked it our four separate times over the course of four months) that I don’t really have anything to say about it.
153. Prodigy by Marie Lu. I liked the plot and the action but man, I wish the characters were older. Even when I was in high school I didn’t have much patience for people who thought their love would last forever and now that I’m 30? Boy oh boy, do I not want to hear about a 15 year old who is planning her future around some boy. But there’s enough good here that I will for sure read the last book. Just know that every time one of the teen age character talks about their broken heart or eternal love, I am going to rolling my eyes SO HARD.
154. Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie. This was a very different novel from the first one but mostly in ways that made me love it even more than the first one. There’s friendships and team building and feelings and I loved, loved, loved it. So many warm fuzzies. SO MANY.
155. Demon Lord of Karanda by David Eddings. There was one chapter where all the women were trolling the men SO HARD and it was one of the more hilarious things I’ve read in a long time.