I picked this up as a bit of light reading because I'm a huge sucker for sassy, spunky royals and a mystery series makes it even better. Georgie startI picked this up as a bit of light reading because I'm a huge sucker for sassy, spunky royals and a mystery series makes it even better. Georgie starts out as a minor relation of the Queen who's frustrated with her lack of life options and worse, lack of funds, so she decides that her best option is to run off to London (by herself) and crash in her family's unused townhouse (by herself) and then things will magically work out! Anything has to be better than wasting away on the Scottish moors with a shrewish sister-in-law and a classically kind but dimwitted brother! A classic start to charming shenanigans, right?
Here's the thing, though: everything does sort of magically work out and that's including the actual murder in this murder mystery, which is A) not all that interesting and B) very sloppily handled by everyone except the actual police who are just trying to do their job without a "proper" fear of the nobility. (The nobles are all very put out by this and voice their opinions fervently.) Georgie swans her way into town and conveniently runs into all sorts of old friends and dashing cads who all want to take care of her! She mooches food off her old pensioner grandfather and then pats herself on the back for being charitable and visiting a lonely old man who already dotes on her! She intrepidly solves crimes by clumsily running into things and having other characters conveniently drop clues in her lap! Y'all, it took three murder attempts before I even realized someone was trying to kill her because she comes off as genuinely stupid enough to kill herself by accident. By the end I was speed-reading to see if any of the threads are wrapped up in an interesting way but all of them were anti-climactic and weirdly abrupt and I'm frankly a little relieved to be done with these characters, flimsy paper cutouts that they were. I shall have to look elsewhere for my sassy crime-solving duchesses, I guess....more
My goodreads new year resolution is to actually review all the books I read this year, so let's start the new year on a good foot! I love Mary Roach iMy goodreads new year resolution is to actually review all the books I read this year, so let's start the new year on a good foot! I love Mary Roach in general so a Mary Roach book about eating is very particular to my interests, you might say. I love her liberal arts (read: lively and non-dry) approach to science without watering down the information, although she sometimes veers into a gleefully juvenile-boy-attitude about some of her more vulgar questions that I find irritating. A lot of time spent on the beginning and the end of the alimentary canal so I guess there's just not a lot of weird science about the small intestine? I now know all sorts of useless knowledge about saliva and stomach acid and colons though and that's basically my favorite kind of science so I am well pleased....more
READING STATS Number Of Books You Read: 47 although I'm still on the fence about including comic tpbs as "books"
Number of Authors You Read: 36 totalREADING STATS Number Of Books You Read: 47 although I'm still on the fence about including comic tpbs as "books"
Number of Authors You Read: 36 total - 13 male, 22 female, 1 male-female pair (a husband and wife team)
Most Books By One Author:4! Ilona Andrews wins this by a technicality since one of them was a novella but if it were only full-length books it'd be a tie between Ilona Andrews, Kelly Sue DeConnick, G. Willow Wilson and Yoshinaga Fumi.
Genre You Read The Most From: since I don't think "comic or graphic novel" really counts as a genre, I'm split pretty evenly between romance and sci-fi, which is super weird for me. Also very high: superpowers, space opera, and magic. The thing is, none of these were way larger than any other genre so it seems like I was fairly well-rounded this year, which is nice.
BEST IN BOOKS 1. Best Book You Read In 2015?The Magician's Land Even though I think of this year as "the year I learned to love space opera", I also finally got around to finishing the Magicians trilogy and it was so immensely satisfying that I can't believe I put it off for so long.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?Shades of Milk and Honey "Jane Austen with magic" is basically catnip to me and I was prepared to forgive a lot of faults but ultimately the dull writing and the absurd caricatures (Austen leaned towards satirical but these characters were 2D parodies compared to her originals) just made the plot feel even less forgivable given that it was a straight-up mashup of S&S and P&P. I'm willing to give the next one in the series a shot because it seems like it jumps forward quite a bit in time and hopefully that can cut out a lot of the family shenanigans that made the last one so frustrating.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015? Best surprise: Fortune's Pawn Originally read for Vaginal Fantasy and this really kicked off my "give space opera a chance" mood. Sassy merc-with-a-mouth who is also a woman! Great action and worldbuilding! Sexytimes that don't involve virginal blushing!
Worst surprise: Poltergeist The first book in this series was middling-to-average but I'd hoped that the series would smooth out after the First Book Jitters and alas, it only got worse. I think this is the only DNF that I've ever labelled on Goodreads.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015? I don't think I really push anyone into reading books except maybe the poor Significant Other but I will use this as a free opportunity to encourage people to read Uprooted! It's a fairy tale and it's got romance but the best part of it is the incredible friendship between two village girls who kind of change the world and remain wonderful to each other throughout the entire ordeal.
5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015? New Series: Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal! I am DYING for the next trades to come out, I love Kamala Khan so much. Of all the superhero-related things I've ever read or watched, none of them have made me intensely identify with them the way that Kamala did almost instantaneously. Sequel: Caliban's War I admit I'm cheating a little with this one since I also started this series this year but it's everything I've ever wanted in a space opera that I didn't know I wanted. I was afraid that I wouldn't like the sequel as much because my favorite part of the first book sort of...didn't make it out of the first one, let's say, but the book gave me my new favorite person of the series (thus far) and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one. Series ender: The Magician's Land again. A tremendous ending to a tremendous series.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? James S. A. Corey! Rachel Bach! M. R. Carey! (It is very confusing to have both a Carey and a Corey on this list, btw.) All sci-fi all the time, baby.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail I read this in anticipation of seeing the movie (the things I do for you, Oscars Game) and I usually don't go for memoirs because I prefer the more objective lens of biographies. I'm still not huge on memoirs but I found Cheryl's experience moving and surreal and entirely outside the usual spectrum of perspectives that I normally seek out.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? A tie between Leviathan Wakes and Annihilation. Shout-out to The Girl with All the Gifts which I think was elevated by an excellent audiobook narrator and got me through it faster than I think I would have managed if I'd read it on paper.
9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? The entire Magicians series because I already miss it. Or Ms Marvel.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
11. Most memorable character of 2015? Kamala Khan. Honorable Mention to Chrisjen Avasarala, whose name I will never learn to spell correctly but who I still want to be when I grow up.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?Annihilation Beautifully precise in its details and beautifully creepy in its precision.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? I didn't do much life-inspiring reading this year but both Ms Marvel and Cinder made me think a lot about cultural representation and appropriation this year.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? Probably the Magicians series? I've had book 2 and 3 sitting on my to-read shelves for years even though I loved the first one as soon as I read it. Also The Maltese Falcon because I've always liked noir but I've read shockingly little of it and I'm ashamed of myself.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
“Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner I shall bring forth the seeds of the dead to share with the worms that gather in the darkness and surround the world with the power of their lives while from the dimlit halls of other places forms that never were and never could be writhe for the impatience of the few who never saw what could have been. In the black water with the sun shining at midnight, those fruit shall come ripe and in the darkness of that which is golden shall split open to reveal the revelation of the fatal softness in the earth. The shadows of the abyss are like the petals of a monstrous flower that shall blossom within the skull and expand the mind beyond what any man can bear, but whether it decays under the earth or above on green fields, or out to sea or in the very air, all shall come to revelation, and to revel, in the knowledge of the strangling fruit—and the hand of the sinner shall rejoice, for there is no sin in shadow or in light that the seeds of the dead cannot forgive. And there shall be in the planting in the shadows a grace and a mercy from which shall blossom dark flowers, and their teeth shall devour and sustain and herald the passing of an age. That which dies shall still know life in death for all that decays is not forgotten and reanimated it shall walk the world in the bliss of not-knowing. And then there shall be a fire that knows the naming of you, and in the presence of the strangling fruit, its dark flame shall acquire every part of you that remains.” - Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer
I don't know if it's actually my favorite but I can still hear the audiobook narrator's exact intonation of "where lies the strangling fruit" in my head.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!): AGNIESZKA/KASIA (from Uprooted) FOREVER who needs that dragon guy NOT ME THAT'S WHO. If I have to pick an actual romance, Miller/Julie (Leviathan Wakes.) What, even that doesn't count? I BITE MY THUMB AT YOUR RESTRICTIVE RULES. Fine, Nick/Bex from The Royal We.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: still Agnieszka/Kasia? But also Melanie/Miss Justineau from The Girl with All the Gifts.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: I'm not including new series I started this year so that rules out the comics and a bunch of the excellent sci-fi, but even without those restrictions I still keep coming up with The Magician's Land so I'm sorry for beating that dead horse here, guys.
21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:The Girl with All the Gifts I'd never heard of it before Julie posted a glowing review and I'm so glad I chose to listen to her excellent opinions.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? CHRISJEN AVASARALA. I have never ever wanted to be a ball-busting Indian grandma so hard in my life.
23. Best 2015 debut you read?You're Never Weird on the Internet Felicia Day gives me hope that I too can one day be a nerd who doesn't have to work at something soul-crushing to pay rent.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?Leviathan Wakes for comprehensive expansive worlds or Annihilation for deep and mysterious and simultaneously unknowable
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?The Royal We All the sass and banter of the highest caliber rom-coms but with MUCH better character development.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?All My Darling Daughters for its thoughtful look at the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, and Issue 4 of Ms Marvel for a scene between Kamala and her father that probably didn't make anyone cry except me.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year? All My Darling Daughters for sure - it's pretty old as far as manga goes but it still felt genuine and relevant to me.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? MAGICIAN'S LAND are you sick of seeing that now you should really read it for yourself and experience that delightful soul-crushing yourself!
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?Ancillary Justice As sci-fi goes I didn't find it all that revelatory but it was a fascinating thought experiment in grammar and gender expectations.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?Ancillary Justice, because I wanted to like it but the gender confusion was less liberating than anticipated; Poltergeist, because I wanted to like that series but it was just so bad I couldn't even finish it.
LOOKING AHEAD, LOOKING BACK
My plans for next year’s reading: --more comics and graphic novels! Especially standalone novels because I'm really interested in seeing what a visual element brings to my usual reading experience. --more classic literature! Will this be the year I actually read all of Jane Austen? Will I finally read Dracula and Moby Dick and all the other books that I'm supposed to have read already? --READ THE BOOKS I ALREADY OWN! i can't remember that specific Japanese word for "buying books and leaving them around the house without ever reading them" because that is my life right now
General retrospective: I feel like I stuck pretty narrowly to Vaginal Fantasy picks and sci-fi this year but overall my spread was wider than I anticipated so I feel pretty good about that. I do wish I'd read more serious (and/or literary) fiction or more substantive non-fiction but I've also started a lot of good series this year that I'm excited to read more of. ...more
When I was in middle school a friend recommended Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald-Mage trilogy to me and while I found them reasonably entertaining,When I was in middle school a friend recommended Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald-Mage trilogy to me and while I found them reasonably entertaining, I already thought (and this is saying something, if it's coming from a 13 yr old) that the protagonist was kind of a drama queen. So much moaning about his pain and how singular his pain was! I was curious about Lackey's other books but I never really got around to any of them (disclaimer: I'm pretty sure I've read at least one or two other Lackey books but I literally can't remember which ones) and looking back, that was a mistake because I clearly missed my enjoyment window for these books.
I have to cut the author some slack for first book awkwardness but Talia is the Mary Sue of my adolescent fiction dreams: (view spoiler)[young teenager who is oppressed by her incredibly strict conservative family is rescued by a MAGICAL HORSE who whisks her away to a big city where she's the most chosen-est of the special chosen ones! Her suffering and culture shock is gently nursed by all the important people who all become her bffs! Literally everyone loves her (except the villains, natch) because her magical abilities make her a super-wise therapist* at the tender age of 15!
*I also have reservations about Talia's liberal use of her empathy powers to "soothe" people without telling them. I get that you wanna help people, girl, but that's a terribly grey area you're going into. (hide spoiler)] Had I read this series as a middle schooler I would have loved Talia (I'm not immune to overblown magical fantasies, okay) but as an older reader I had much less patience for her special snowflake status.
This book also has a weird thing about telling, not showing? A vast amount of the action happens off-screen and people's emotions are all delineated in the straightforward fashion that you usually get beaten out of you in your earliest creative writing classes. I almost felt like I was reading a first draft rather than a finished product and I didn't expect that from such a beloved author so I have to assume that this might be due to the fact that it's one of her earliest works.
It was a bittersweet nostalgia trip, in the end. I'm a little sad for younger me who would have torn through a lot of Lackey's books but I'm not terribly upset that I missed out on what seems to be mediocre writing. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more