Thursday, November 01, 2007

My October Reading

  1. Niccolo Rising - Dorothy Dunnet (9/10)
    Historical fiction; book 1 of The House of Niccolo.
    I loved Dunnett's Lymond books and had tried to read this one in the past, but didn't get far. At the end of August I found an online group that was doing a slow read of the Niccolo books together and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I had to catch up with this first book to be where they were and I found it a surprisingly easy thing to do. As always, Dunnett has so many layers and details in this book that I'm sure I missed a lot, but a loved it all the same. A rich and detailed tapestry of merchant life in Bruges in the fifteenth century with a truly fascinating main character.

  2. On the Prowl - Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance and Sunny (8/10)
    Paranormal romance anthology.
    The rating here applies to the two stories I read in this anthology (and were the reason I bought the book). Briggs' story, Alpha and Omega, is set in the word of her Mercy Thompson books but features completely new characters. It was a surprisingly short story, but beautifully written and I really enjoyed it. Apparently the publisher did too as Briggs has now been contracted for more stories about Anna and Charles and I'm looking forward to reading them. This story is the meeting between two very differing werewolves and how they compliment each other. Wilks' story is also a further development of an already published world, her world of the Lupi, and again features new characters. Both are intriguing people (and I just loved what Nathan turned out to be) and the story also shows how the world has changed as magic grows stronger and technology less reliable, both results of events in the previous Lupi books. I'm looking forward to more from Wilks as well.

  3. Doomsday Book - Connie Willis (10/10)
    Science fiction/Historical fiction.
    I read this with a reading group and I'm very glad I did, as I probably never would have picked it up otherwise. It features a slightly future Oxford University where the history department has a time machine and sends scholars back in time to study their subject first hand. The book neatly parallels events in the "present" and the fourteenth century as a student is sent back in time and then contact is lost as an epidemic brings Oxford to its knees. While the book is not flawless, I found it a compelling, fascinating read and worthy of full marks. I recommend it, although responses on the group showed it was clearly not to all tastes, and expect I may read more Willis in the future.

  4. Devil May Cry - Sherrilyn Kenyon (9/10)
    Paranormal romance; Book 14 of the Dark-Hunters.
    I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I've always looked on this series as a guilty pleasure, but I found this one to be more than that. In the most recent books, Kenyon has moved away a bit from a total focus on a couple and the books are now about half and half fantasy about her now-detailed world and about a romantic relationship. I like that balance better, so the series is going well for me. In this one, we also learn one of the major secrets Kenyon has been keeping for a while - just who is Katra and what is her relationship to some of the major characters? We also face the Summerian apocalypse and while the immediate threat is averted, it's clearly not all over yet. The world is facing some rough times as the series progresses. I'm looking forward to it.

  5. Jewels of the Sun - Nora Roberts (8/10)
    Romance, book 1 of the Irish Trilogy.
    I felt it was time for some gentle reading and decided on a Nora Roberts trilogy. This was a pleasant read with nice characters and a satisfying ending. It wasn't anything to blow me away, but a very nice interlude, which is what I look for in a Roberts book.

  6. Sins and Needles - Monica Ferris (7/10)
    Cozy mystery; book 10 of the Needlecraft mysteries.
    I had stopped reading this series after the previous book; the plots had been getting weaker and I felt Ferris was more into name-dropping her needlecraft knowledge than telling a good story. I got this one from the library after a friend said she thought it was fine. The story was better this time and was the focus of the book, so I'm glad I read it. It was a nice, light read and if that's what you're looking for, don't let the previous few put you off.

  7. Tears of the Moon - Nora Roberts (7/10)
    Romance, book 2 of the Irish Trilogy.
    I liked this too, although not as much as the previous book. I liked Brenna and Shawn, but I just didn't find them as appealing as I had Jude and Aidan. All the same, it was nice to revist Ardmore and have a pleasant time watching the characters try not to fall for each other.

  8. Aunt Dimity's Death - Nancy Atherton (7/10)
    Cozy mystery; book 1 of the Aunt Dimity series.
    A new mystery author to me, recommened by the same friend who had good things to say about Sins and Needles. I enjoyed reading it, but don't feel the need to rush out and get the rest of the series. Some of that may have been the fault of the publisher rather than the author, as the text was very small and tightly squashed together and I find that hard to read these days.

  9. An Enchanted Season - Maggie Shayne, Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy and Jean Johnson (8/10)
    Paranormal romance anthology; Psy/Changeling short story by Singh.
    As is usual for me, I only read the story in this anthology that interested me, which was Singh's short story. In fact, I won a copy of the book from Singh's blog, which was totally cool. The story is lovely, about the meeting and courtship of a well-established couple in the main books of the series. It is very nicely told and lets a female reader mutter "men are so stupid" with a satsifying sense of superiority as Nate takes his time figuring out what it is he should be doing. I don't know how a male reader would take it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. (And for anyone wondering why I never bother with other stories in anthologies, I actually struggle to read short stories. I have no idea why, but I do. So I prefer ones that fill in gaps in a world I already know to starting something cold, although I'll do it if it's an author I trust. But mostly, short stories just aren't for me.)

  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling (8/10)
    Fantasy; book 7 of Harry Potter.
    At last, I've finally read it. I kept meaning to, but also kept putting it off. I did thoroughly enjoy the story and it's conclusion to the series. All the same, I thought it had its faults. I see Rowling as a very good storyteller, but not necessarily a great writer and there were places where I felt this showed. The book could have been about 200 pages shorter (cutting most of it from the first half where Harry, Ron and Hermione wandered around without achieving anything, especially the part of that concerning Ron) and there were a couple of pacing issues at the end (where we stepped away from the main action to learn the "why" of characters' actions) but for the latter I don't know how she could have done better as the information couldn't be revealed any sooner. Harry Potter has been a very fun ride and I've enjoyed it thoroughly, but I still scratch my head a little trying to figure out why this became so insanely successful when there are other things out there that are just as good or even better and remain unnoticed.

  11. Heart of the Sea - Nora Roberts (8/10)
    Romance; book 3 of the Irish Trilogy.
    I liked this one more than number two and about the same as number one. I hadn't particularly liked Darcy in the first two books (not that I disliked her, I think I just didn't get her) and wasn't sure what I would think of this one. But Roberts did a lovely job with her and I loved Trevor. Their romance was easy and nice to read and my main complaint is that the story stopped as soon as they had admitted to each other that they loved each other. So many other things outside the romance had been set up, particularly the building of the theatre and the Gallaghers singing Shawn's songs, and I felt cheated that these weren't resolved. I would have liked an epilogue showing the opening of the theatre in order to tie up those threads and I felt the book was weaker without it.

  12. Island in the Sea of Time - S. M. Stirling (DNF)
    Science fiction; book 1 of the Island in Time series.
    I thought the premise of this book - that some unexplained phenomenon sends Nantucket Island back approximately 3000 years in the past - was fascinating, but I got bogged down in the reading of the book. I really liked the parts on Nantucket as people tried to prepare for winter and the more distant future without their technology, but found that trading voyage off to Europe to be more of a struggle. I think the main problem was that I wasn't reading this as my main book, but as a background read when I needed a break (I started it when reading several hardcovers that I didn't want to get wet - I read a few chapters each night while Marcus plays in the bath before we get down to the serious washing part of the business) so I wasn't focusing on it as it required. I may try again some other time with this as a primary read.

  13. A Shadow in Summer - Daniel Abraham (DNF)
    Fantasy; book 1 of The Long Price Quartet.
    I'd seen this mentioned around the blogsphere and thought the premise looked rather good - a world where an empire maintains its mercantile power by having poets make fundamental ideas take physical form and use their resulting power to the empire's advantage. The idea was clever, but the characters didn't grab me and about a third through I found myself bored and wanting to read something else. After starting that something else, I found I didn't feel any desire to go back to this one. A pity, as the idea was great, but it wasn't enough to save the book for me.
Books read this month: 11
DNFs this month: 2
10/10 reads this month: 1
New reads this month: 11
Rereads this month: 0

Books read so far in 2007 = 112
DNFs so far in 2007 = 10
10/10 reads so far in 2007 = 14
New reads so far in 2007 = 100
Rereads so far in 2007 = 12


Jennie said...

I love reading about what you've read and your reviews as we have pretty similar tastes. :) I agree with you completely about short stories, I really hate to read them for some reason - but like you said, if its a world you know already its ok.

The Silver Thistle said...

I'd like to get into Dunnett but I've not had much patience with her yet.

I'm definitely getting Doomsday though, that sounds like a great one.

I've been putting off the Deathly Hallows too. I think it's because when really IS finished :(