Majkia's 12 in 12 - Continued
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Above the line is what I've Read thru June 30th. New stuff added below a marker line.
1. Fairytales Retold
Hogfather - T Pratchett
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
2. Ancient Rites - Historical stuff
The Conqueror - Conn Iggulden - ER Book
Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliff
Sacrilege - S.J. Parris - ER Book
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel - Library Book
3. What If? (History with a bit of Fantasy)
Tongues of Serpents - Naomi Novik
Crucible of Gold - Naomi Novik
4. Beyond the Sea of Stars (Sci Fi)
Spin - Robert Charles Wilson
The Black Lung Captain - Chris Wooding
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - Lois McMaster Bujold
5. Clankers - (steampunk)
Court of the Air - Stephen Hunt
6. Darwinists (messing with DNA and such)
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood (audio)
Death at Wentwater Court - Carola Dunn (Audio)
The Winter Garden Mystery - Carola Dunn (Audio)
A Clubbable Woman - Reginald Hill (Audio)
Still Life - Louise Penny
The Invsibile Ones - Stef Penny - ER Book
Requiem for a Mezzo - Carola Dunn
The Breach - Patrick Lee
Death at the President's Lodging - Michael Innes
Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear
Prophecy - S. J. Parris - Library Book
8. Who Dat? (new to me authors)
The Shape of Water -Andrea Camilleri (Audio)
Solitary House - Lynn Shepherd - ER Book
Heresy - SJ Parris - Library Book
Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig - NetGalley Book
Dissolution - C. J. Sansom - Library Book
The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths
Full Dark House - Christopher Fowler
9. High Tea with the Queen
The Alienist - Caleb Carr
The Dante Club - Matthew Pearl
The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton
Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn
Some Danger Involved - Will Thomas
10. Brave New Worlds - heavy-duty world building
Midnight Tides - Steven Erikson
The Last Argument of Kings - Joe Abercrombie
Scourge of the Betrayer - Jeff Salyards
11. Foreign Climes
River of Gods - Ian McDonald
Faceless Killers - Henning Markell
Iago: A Novel - David Snodin - ER Book
The Last Kashmiri Rose - Barbara Cleverly
The Master of Verona - David Blixt - NetGallery
The Dogs of Riga - Henning Mankell
12. Where are the Unicorns?
Before They Are Hanged - Joe Abercrombie
The Riddle-Master of Hed - Patricia McKillip
Tea with the Black Dragon - RA McAvoy
The Sword-Edged Blonde - Alex Bledsoe
40 books read
19 female authors, 21 male authors
14,452 pages read
I'm surprised by which categories are filling up fastest. I need to adjust further reading!
#4 Well, at the beginning of the year, I'd only figured on reading 50 books the entire year, so was leaving how many per category open. Now I've adjusted my number of books upward and hope to read 75. I'm going to still leave number for category open, but hope to see a more even split by categories at the end of the year.
I’ve decided not to write an actual review. A zillion have already been done. Instead a few comments regarding the book.
Firstly, it was certainly a different take on things, to look at Henry VIII from, of all people’s viewpoints, Thomas Cromwell’s. I knew little about him as an individual before I began the book, so not sure how close to what we really know Mantel stayed. But the character she created was certainly interesting, with depth and intelligence. He certainly changed throughout the book, growing to fit his increasing stature and importance.
Second, why the heck did she call it ‘Wolf Hall’? Yeah, I get that the Howards etc were really important, but still…
Thirdly, I found the writing style very off-putting at first. I had lots of trouble with dangling ‘he’s and was confused a lot as to who was speaking, who was acting. I had to go back and re-read to figure it out. I also didn’t much care for use of present tense. I dislike it in most books, but combined with the ‘he’ problem, it made reading the book more difficult and pulled me out of the atmosphere all too much.
I expect I’ll read the follow on ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ at some point or other. Because the story is interesting from this different viewpoint.
The Dogs of Riga - Henning Mankell
When a raft holding two dead well-dressed men washes ashore in Skane, Kurt Wallander finds himself in the midst of an international mystery. Latvia? He knows nothing of Latvia, yet first finds himself partnered with a Latvian police major, and then has to travel to Riga to find the beginnings of the mystery.
I love these mysteries. Wallander is no hero, he’s not psychic, he’s not gorgeous, he’s not sure of himself. He’s just a guy doing the best he can dealing with a changing world he hardly understands.
Unfortunately, I find myself saying the same sort of thing about dozens of books. So many books, so little time!
Crucible of Gold is the seventh in the Temeraire series - Napoleonic Wars with dragons.
The tale finds Laurence and Temeraire, who had been drummed out of the military because of rank insubordination (mostly on Temeraire’s part), still stuck in Purgatory (in this case Australia), and doing what they could to make the most of it. Laurence was mostly just glad neither of them had gotten shot as traitors.
Suddenly the British ambassador to the Chinese crown turns up with papers saying Laurence is reinstated (grudgingly) into the Aviator Corps. He also brings orders for Laurence and Temeraire to board the dragon ship still docked in Sydney and head to Brazil where Napoleon is attempting to destroy Rio.
Glad to be back in harness, glad to be doing something useful, both are eager to find themselves back in the war.
Naturally things go very very wrong.
I found Crucible of Gold to be as enjoyable as the first of the series, His Majesty’s Dragon, was. I did find Tongues of Serpents, book six, to be a bit of a slog, but this one is right back up there, with Temeraire being his usual mouthy and opinionated self, Iskierka driving him nuts, and the dragons’ captains doing whatever it takes to keep their dragons focused on the big picture: Napoleon.
(I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program)
Full Dark House - Christopher Fowler
What a terrifically fun book. It’s 1940, London. The Blitz is on. One morning, making his way past the destruction from the bombers the night before, a young man makes his way to his new job at the Peculiar Crimes Unit.
Thus begins the joint detective work of May and Bryant. May, a few years younger, logical, practical, feet firmly planted on the ground, and Bryant, the dreamer, the thinker, the guy who calls in mediums and witches for consultant work.
The dialog is sparking with wit, lots of dry humor and lots of atmosphere, not only with regard to the Blitz but also the theatre.
Highly recommended. I'm definitely continuing on with this series.
There are more quite enjoyable elderly sleuths, I listed 10 on my blog with a short blurb -
As well, my last ER books was Harry Lipkin, Private Eye by Barry Fantoni and it was a hoot. Predictable ending, but a very good time getting there.
Me, too! That's definitely one I want to get to.
The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
The power vacuum left when the Romans retreat from Britain, had been filled by kings and warlords who not only fight amongst themselves but also fight off invading Saxons and Irish warbands. One king, Uther, manages to cobble together a group of kingdoms. But he's dying, and leaves behind him only one legitimate son, Mordredd, born with a club foot. He gets a promise from one of his allies, that he will marry Mordredd's mother, Uther's queen, and act as regent until Mordredd, then only a baby, comes of age.
When Uther dies, the king betrays his promise and attacks, killing Uther's widow and attempting to kill Mordredd. But Merlin's band of Druids and outcasts manages to save and hide the future king.
Into that tableau comes Uther's bastard son Arthur, who had been banished to Amorica and who is now a warlord of great renown. Arthur promises to protect Mordredd and hold the kingdom for his half-brother.
Following the actual historical record (what there is of it), the tale is unlike all the other Arthurian books I've read. There's little brightness in the world of the Dark Ages. It is full of betrayals and endless wars and there are few men of honor to be found. Even Arthur is flawed and despite his desire to war for peace, he's foiled at almost every turn if not by his own flaws, then by betrayals and impossible odds.
An amazing book. ( )
New Amsterdam - Elizabeth Bear
The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton
The Killing Moon - NK Jemisin an ER book -TIOLI #4
Mission to Paris - Alan Furst an ER book - TIOLI 17
The Iron Wyrm Affair - Lilith Saintcrow an ER book - TIOLI 3
The Map of Time - Felix Palma - on my Nook - TIOLI 3
The Eight - Katharine Neville one I've had for ages, TIOLI 13
Medicus - Ruth Downie on my Nook -TIOLI 16 and for Reading Thru Time : Ancient Rome
I'm probably being over-ambitious as we start Early Voting on the 4th, and have regular voting on the 14th. If things are slow I can do some reading there. If not, not.
The Eight by Katherine Neville
The Game. Played by kings and generals and grand masters. The game of strategy taking intellect and concentration and dedication to truly understand it.
Catherine hasn’t ever paid much attention to chess, although she knows several competitive players, mainly a young woman she finds annoying. So when Lily invites her to go to the latest chess match Cat is less than interested. But then she keeps seeing this man in a white hoodie riding a bicycle, and its disturbing, since she’s been painting the guy for weeks. She finally follows him. And thus, she enters the Game.
Who are the players? Who’s white, who’s black? What are they after? What’s the endgame they’re playing for? And why, suddenly, is Cat finding dead bodies strewn around New York?
The Game takes Catherine from New York to Algiers, following in the footsteps of a French Nun from 1792 as she searches for the pieces of a very special chess set, to find and protect a secret that’s threatened the world since Charlemagne.
Not just an exciting thriller, but with great characters beautifully drawn, exotic locales that spring to life, and puzzles galore.
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin creates a world dark, complex and intricate. The magic is based on dreams and is different enough to make a reader pause and have to consider it deeply. The characters are written with depth and compassion, and are fully realized. They're put in a world we don't understand, and one they, also, don't fully grasp.
If you like your fantasy dark and deep, characters you can nearly see standing before you, and a plot that confounds, but delivers in the end, then The Killing Moon is for you.
Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and it is part of an on-going series, but didn’t suffer from that at all.
Very good spy mystery with great atmosphere and intriguing twists and turns. Very likeable characters as well.
Set in Paris just before WWII when the Nazis were busy attempting psychological warfare on France. An Austrian émigré to the US, goes to Paris to film a movie and finds himself being forced into a position to seem to be backing the Nazis.
The Iron Wyrm Affair is a terrifically mad romp through Londinium, a place riven with magic, the force of which renews itself with the tide of Londinium’s great river Themis. The young Queen Victrix, inhabited by Britannia’s living spirit, requests one of her Primes, particularly potent sorcerers, to investigate the sudden murders and attendant disappearances of her mentaths, who are brilliant thinkers.
The Prima, in this case a female, sets off with her Shield, the mysterious and oh so sexy Mykal, to ensure one mentath’s safely, arriving only moments before he too would have been killed. The three of them set out to discover who is killing the mentaths and just what he and his cronies are up to.
Terrific world-building, innovative and complex characters, and an intriguing plot. Highly recommended.
I can’t wait for book two.
The Eight - Katherine Neville
The Mysterious Lady Law - Robert Appleton
The Killing Moon - N.K. Jemisin (an ER read)
Mission to Paris - Alan Furst (an ER read)
Medicus - Ruth Downie
The Iron Wyrm Affair - Lilith Saintcrow (an ER read)
I had a great August reading experience. I enjoyed everything, but particularly The Eight and The Iron Wrym Affair
My planned reading for September:
A Shadow of Summer - Daniel Abraham (TIOLI 17, and Reading thru Time Seasons
Box Nine - Jack O'Connell - (TIOLI 8, and 12 in 12 monthly challenge)
The Last Kingdom - Bernard Cornwell (TIOLI 6 and Quarterly Challenge Medieval Times}
The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R King (TIOLI 4)
Tooth and Claw - Jo Walton (TIOLI 14)
Each also works for September Series and Sequels.
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
Enjoyable pastiche wherein a retired Sherlock Holmes meets up with a precious teen, who then becomes his apprentice. Russell and Holmes strike up a surprising relationship which grows over time.
The characters are well done, the world certainly believable. I found the mysteries a bit light and easily seen through, but everyone tells me the series gets better so I shall plod onwards and read more Russell and Holmes adventures.
I do like Russell and I do like Holmes, but found the book a bit plodding at times. Hoping for better soon.
A Shadow of Summer - Daniel Abraham
Set in a vaguely Eastern sort of world, where thoughts can be made flesh by ‘poets’ who then enslave the resultant creature. The creature, an andat, is then held captive and forced to act in ways to increase the power of the city-state the poet serves.
One young man in training to be a poet, leaves the school because he finds the brutality of the training unacceptable. He eventually meets up with a young man he’d himself trained and who is now a poet, and finds himself drawn into a mystery involving murder and disappearances and treachery. And even discovers the andat is somehow involved.
Complex plotting, very well drawn characters, and an intriguingly different world. I enjoyed this greatly and plan to continue the trilogy.
A very noir mystery, with scifi aspects. A new designer drug is on the streets which is set to create havoc. The narcotics squad hopes to find the distributors and cut off the supply before too much damage is done.
The tale is told mostly in stream-of-consciousness through the eyes of several of the cops and several civilians involved. Most fail to appreciate the horrors of this drug, as all are jaded and focused on their own problems and issues and believe they’ve seen it all.
Gritty, all too realistic in nature.
I enjoyed the first one, despite it being plodding, but haven't got around to reading the next book in the series. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think if you read it.
The second of the Cotton Malone series, The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry is a thriller with twists and turns. Cotton’s bookshop is attacked with rockets just before he learns his son has been kidnapped. He’s maneuvered into a race to find the hidden scrolls and papyrii saved from the Alexandria Library.
Fast paced and entertaining.
The first book of the Old Man’s War series, John Scalzi posits the idea of a world where 75 year olds enlist and fight the wars of humanity. Humans are colonizing the galaxy but there are other races doing it too. So, when humans on Earth become old they are offered the opportunity to join the Colonial Defence Forces and fight to protect the colonies. That must mean that the CDF has to rejuvenate them somehow right? So off they go to war.
A romp across the galaxy with lots of shoot ‘em up action and some interesting forays into alien thinking, and a re-evaluation of just what it means to be human.
54. A Shadow of Summer Daniel Abraham
55. The Beekeeper's Apprentice Laurie R. King
56. Tooth and Claw Jo Walton
57. Box Nine Jack O'Connell
58. The Alexandria Link Steve Berry
59. Old Man's War John Scalzi
I've read 59 books so far this year, far more than I expected to.
Planned reading for October:
The Bonehunters - Steven Erikson I'm halfway through this one.
Curse of the Mistwraith (Green Dragon Group read)
The Skystone Jack Whyte
Warchild - Karen Lowachee
The Rule of Four - Ian Caldwell
Newton's Wake Ken MacLeod
The sixth book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
Epic, complex, heartbreaking. War rages not merely among the living, but now the gods are at war. Choose a side. Or can you even tell what side you’ve chosen?
Amazing how seemingly disparate storylines fold together at the end, setting up the next book in the series.
Repeatedly the Rauven mages had stressed that assumptions were the weakness of the learned. With a vengeance.
Two half-brothers at war. Thus begins a tale that travels from one world through a portal to another world where mages hope the brothers working together can heal the plague of the mistwraith.
Misunderstandings, assumptions, wrong choices, overlooked opportunities, prophesies and hatreds abound. Sorcerers, it seems, are just as prone to error as everybody else.
The characters are well drawn and perverse and with minds of their own. The world is complex and the magic strange and confusing. The plot, though it seems fairly simple, confounds with consequences that aren't foreseen and complicate matters horribly.
I'll definitely be continuing with this series.
And I'm a Lois Bujold fan too, so surprised.
The second book in the Wars of Light and Shadow. The curse continues and drives Lysaer to found armies to hunt down his cursed half-brother. Arithon, understanding what has happened to both of them, opts to evade and avoid. But events continue to make that difficult. Interference from any number of others complicates and wrecks even the best laid plans.
Complex world-building, intriguing characters, and a plot with twists and turns aplenty made me unwilling to put this down. Highly recommended.
Fabulous book I couldn't put down. And Janny is one of the few authors who makes me use a dictionary!
What a fun quick read. I couldn't put it down, I though the main character so cool. Very spare writing, in that no extra words are added, yet there is enough description and color to let you picture the action. And speaking of action, lots of it!
– Period mystery with some great descriptions of Victorian London. Atmosphere is terrific, the amateur detective is interesting, and the mystery itself is complex enough to keep you wondering. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this book.
#67 Terovolas – Edward M. Erdelac
– This was a free book I got through LibraryThing.com ‘s Early Reviewer Program. Have you ever wondered what happened to Van Helsing after Transylvania? He went to Texas, got mixed up with a mysterious woman on a train, some wacky Norse cowboys, a couple of Red Indians, a drunken trapper, and oh, yeah, werewolves….
#68 Death Warmed Over – Kevin J. Anderson
– Another Early Reviewer win. - Finally, a Zombie I can relate to. This one is a private eye who got wacked and came back. Well, it seems a lot of folks are coming back. As Zombies, ghosts, vamps, and a few other species. Ever since the “Big Uneasy’ when the necronomicon got exposed to moonlight, a virgin’s blood, all while there was a special arrangement of the planets. New Orleans will never be the same….
#69 Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
- What happens when a 12 year old chooses ‘criminal mastermind’ as his career field? Well, he was following in Daddy’s footsteps. But then Daddy never attempted to kidnap a Leprechaun and start a race war. Atemis is a hoot. And the fairy was not amused.
Ian Rutledge survived WWI with body intact, but his mind is very nearly broken to pieces, His lover left him because she was afraid of him, he has a voice in his head, and he's tempted to self destruction, In an attempt to piece his life back together again, he returns to his job at Scotland Yard, He doubts himself, is fragile and vulnerable, but needs to see he can again have a productive life,
The case is complex, with lots of possible suspects, but the main one is a hero of the war, winner of the Victoria Cross, and there's pressure from London and even the King to find anyone else guilty of the crime,
Rutledge, knowing his life never mind his job is on the line, tries desperately to reconnect with his instincts and identify the killer,
Great atmosphere and descriptions. Rutledge is likeable and sympathetic, and the mystery is awash with possible motives and perps. I'll definitely be continuing on with this series.
Someone suggested Rutledge is a more realistic Lord Peter Wimsey, as they both struggle with the effects of the War. I can see that! But Rutledge doesn't have the title and the money to shield him from his nightmares. Nor a Bunter.
This is one of the books that was on my wishlist the longest, since long before I joined LT.
What a great fun read! An epistolary novel that works terrifically. The world is alternate universe where magic is common, but not ubiquitous.
It is 1817 and one young lady is off to London to do the season. The other stays at home, and their correspondence begins. The one in London meets the odious Marquis, the one in the country learns of a magical plot connected with the Marquis, and both young women are drawn into retrieving the magical chocolate plot as well as trying to figure out just who is the bad magician and what is he/she up to.
Lots of wry comments regarding the mores of the era, Austen-esque.
A college student, whose father was an obsessed researcher, meets a would-be disciple of his father’s. Their frendship grows and both young men are drawn into the same obsession, trying to figure out an ancient book written in code.
This book reminded me a lot of A.S. Byatt’s Possession. The same sense of nearly mad obsession, the same sense of needing to solve the puzzles and devote all of one’s time and energies to the mystery.
I personally loved it, but can see why others might not. I’m all for puzzles, bibliomysteries and obsessions!
Me too! Sounds like great fun. :)
my first book will, I think, be The Queen of Attolia. Won't count Cocaine Blues which I 'm reading now since I've begun it before the 13th.
Despite coming perilously close to being too romancy for me, I do enjoy the characters. Lady Julia is in Italy, recovering from the previous book’s events. One of her brother marries without daddy’s approval so daddy angrily calls them all home for Christmas. They obey and bring along Alessandro, their Italian friend, who is sweet on Lady Julia although she is busy denying it.
When they arrive, guess who is there as another house guest. Of course, the mysterious and sexy private inquiry agent, Brisbane. Julia and he heat the house up and hunt a murderer, a ghost and a thief, not to mention paying a visit to the gypsies.
The best part of these books for me, is the mad March family, who are all delightfully ‘odd’.
An extra for my 12 in 12 until tomorrow when I start my 13 in 13!