Monday, October 30, 2017

September AND October Book Reports


1.  The Brightest Fell, Seanan McGuire - I really, really, really hope that McGuire will be able to maintain the quality in her October Daye novels for the long haul.  So far, so good.  In fact, this is one of the best long-running series I've ever found!  This is her newest, and I'm delighted to report that 11 books in she's still got it!  The Toby Daye books are pretty much everything I want in a fantasy series....fantastic characters who actually grow and change throughout the series, a beautifully built world, enough new each book that you don't get bored, magic, romance, fairies...yep, I love these books! So much so that I've started to purchase all of them, and may do a reread sooner rather than later!

2.  The Wind In His Heart, Charles De Lint - What can I say?  De Lint remains one of my favorite authors for good reason.  He's been away from adult fiction for a little while, and my oh my...when he returned he came back big.  I devoured this book in about 24 hours...and am going to get ahold of the audio for a reread this winter because I want to experience it again.  So much to love.  De Lint's true gift is that he writes with an intimacy that makes the reader feel that they are a part of the gets into your heart and soul, and carries you along.  His usual themes of healing, redemption, art, community, love, friendship...they are all there.  Nods to fan-favorite characters are a welcome treat, and help ground the book in the world that he's built over time.  So grateful for his writing.

3.  The Girl With All the Gifts, H.R. Carey - Oh wow.  I picked this book up on the virtual sale table after stumbling across the hardback in the bookstore a few months ago.  I was impressed with the blurbs on the cover, but had little to no idea what the book was about.  I don't really want to spoil it for anyone, but I will say that it's the best book in a somewhat tired genre that I've read in ages and ages.  In fact, I had thought for a long while that the genre could use temporary retirement because it's so overdone....and then along comes this book.  It's a fresh, unique take...and I loved every minute of it!

4.  Dead Spots, 5. Trail of Dead, 6. Hunter's Trail (unfinished), Melissa F. Olsen - I really, really wanted to like these books, and am super dissapointed with my experience of them.  I discovered Olsen through a review of her most recent book in this, her Scarlet Bernard, series.  The review was glowing - and it was done Charles De Lint, who's never steered me wrong before.  In many ways, though, these books are Laurel K. Hamilton light (the market has been flooded with such books for years), tough and hot young woman in a world filled with vampires, werewolves, etc....solving crime, futzing over her love life.  I'll give Olsen credit for a twist on the subgenre that was actually pretty cool, but it wasn't enough to elevate the books beyond the rest of the crowd.  Even with that, I might have kept going...if it weren't for something I noticed (probably because I read them back to back).  Olsen has a really bad habit of unnecessarily using weight to describe characters, and she has at least one derogatory stock phrase that she used repeatedly.  In fact, I stopped reading the third book when I stumbled on that phrase for the fourth or fifth time in the series.  To give her the benefit of the doubt, I'm sure she was just trying to populate her world with something other than the standard 'everyone is gorgeous' that you typically get in this type of book.  Unfortunately, the way that it was done displayed both lazy writing and a bias that was uncomfortable for this particular reader.


A note:  typically I do scary books in October.  It's a tradition that I've done for 4 or 5 years now - one that I enjoy very much.  I found that this year, though, the world itself is scary enough, so I turned to fairy tales...including four rereads that are all great favorites of mine. It was comfort reading, and it was perfect 

1. An Unkindness of Magicians, Kat Howard - Kat Howard is one of my favorite discoveries of the last few years.  This is only her second book, and based on her writing so far she has an amazing career ahead of her.  Her two books are quite different in tone, plot, and characterization...and yet they are connected by the simple fact that Howard is a brilliant writer with beautiful prose.  I don't want to spoil it.  It's just that good...and you should all read it. 

2.  The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman - iBooks has been recommending this series to me for quite some time, and I finally decided to take them up on it!  (The first book was on's a good incentive for me.)  No, it wasn't a perfect book by any means....but it was fun and original and I loved the world that Cogman built.  Can't wait to read the next couple of books!

3.  Uprooted, Naomi Novic (audio, reread) - Love, love, love this amazing book.  It's a must read for anyone who loves fairy tales/fantasy/magic.

4.  The Replacement, Brenna Yavanoff (reread) - It's a changeling story, and ultimately is a book about love...and I adore it.  No, it's not the most perfectly writen book out there, but it makes me cry every time.

5.  Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Caitlin Doughty - I've heard a couple of interviews with Doughty, and was intrigured.  This is her first book, a memoir of her early days in the mortuary buisiness.  It's not for the faint of heart or the squeamish, but if you can handle her description of what happens to our bodies when we die you will find that it is a book full of compassion.  It will also really make you think about why we do things the way we do.

6.  The Bear and the Nightengale, Katherine Arden (audio, reread) - I didn't realize this was the first in a trilogy.  I discovered as I was getting ready to listen to it that the second is coming out soon, so it's been preordered. This was my first time listening to it, which always adds to the experience...particualrly with an amazing reader.  Love this one too!

7.  The Boy on the Bridge, M.R. Carey (unfinished) - It's the sequel/prequel to The Girl With All the Gifts, and although I wanted to enjoy it given how much I enjoyed that book, I found I just wasn't in the right space to read it...and I just didn't care.  The first book may have been too perfect alone.

8.  The Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black (reread) - I'd almost forgotten that so much happens in this lovely fairy tale! Perhaps part of why I love it so is because of the changling story within...just one component, but one that's beautiful. 

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