Hmm… I haven’t updated my reading list for a while. I keep track of this more for me than for you, but here, you can take a peek!
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. With all the buzz this book has gotten, I had to check it out. And all I can say after finishing it is “meh.” The characters are not well-developed, the writing is pedestrian, the sex is constant but not all that exciting (and the bondage that is promised isn’t much delivered.) All of that said, I’m fascinated by how this book and its sequels have captivated the public mind. Whether I like it or not, there’s an incredible amount to be learned, studied, analyzed, in why these books and why this time and why the huge reaction. (I don’t feel the need to read the others in the series.)
- Blackout, by Mira Grant. Yeah, pretty much the perfect ending to the series. I inhaled these two books, after hacking my way through another one that I won’t mention here, because I wasn’t able to finish it, despite weeks of trying.
- Deadline, by Mira Grant. I held off on reading this second book in the Newsflesh trilogy, because I’d heard it ended on a cliffhanger. It turned out, the cliff wasn’t as stark as I feared. I love, love, love this series — the characters, the writing style, the humor embedded in all the serious stuff. I know that the books are, technically, about zombies. But really, they’re about our current security theater, and fear and society and concepts of safety.
- The Glassblower of Murano, by Marina Fiorato. This is a time-switch book, where part of the tale is told in the contemporary world and part in the past. The current story was a bit too predictable for my taste, but I was very intrigued by the story told in the past, about a man who dares to defy the strong union of glassblowers in Renaissance Venice. The details about glass art were intriguing — eleven years after The Glasswrights’ Apprentice, and I’m still interested in the stuff!
- The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. I’ve been planning on rereading this book for years and finally got around to it. It’s as clever as I remember, with all the wordplay and games. Interestingly (to me, anyway!) the specific scenes that I remembered most clearly were all from the last quarter of the book.
- Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber. A very sweet YA book, set in the 1920′s, about a girl who loses her mother but gains other family of the heart. I really enjoyed the main character’s voice in this quick read.
- The Zookeeper’s Wife, by Diane Ackerman. This book came highly recommended, but I was a bit disappointed. There wasn’t enough of the “wife” — but the rest of the story, about Nazi occupation of Poland, and the attempt to save Jews, was interesting.
- The Dark Enquiry, by Deanna Raybourn. I adore the voice in these novels, and the London setting worked better for me than the Indian locale of the last book. Raybourn has done a great job of keeping the tension between her romantic hero and heroine, long after they’ve admitted that they love each other. I thought that I had the mystery of this book worked out from the first chapter, and I was partially right, but I loved every page getting to the end.
- A Confusion of Princes, by Garth Nix. I scored an ARC of this book, and I loved it – but I’ll tell you more about it closer to its release date of May 15.
- Kat, Incorrigible, by Stephanie Burgis. Fun, fun, fun – Regency-era fantasy for middle-grade readers with wonderful characters, excellent writing, and a moral that works.
- Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes. In a parallel time-stream, criminals are bonded to animals who reflect their law-breaking past. Um, I was terrified to read this novel, because I thought it would resonate too much with my own Darkbeast, coming out in August. I had no reason to fear – the stories are as different as two humans-with-animals stories could be. Beukes tells hers with a kaleidoscope of media (IMDB listing, anyone?) — I wasn’t always sure what all the slang meant, but I was thoroughly immersed in this book!
- Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest. I’ve traveled where this novel takes place, including Underground Seattle, so I was really looking forward to this read. Priest told an interesting story very well, but I’m afraid that I have to confess that steampunk is just not my thing. ::hangs head in shame and hands over F&SF badge::
- Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger. I was one of the big fan’s of Time Traveler’s Wife, and I’ve had this newer novel sitting on the to-be-read shelf for far too long. I adored the way the characters were drawn, and I was enchanted by the way I had no idea how the story was going to wrap up, when I was right in the middle of it.
- The Wind-Up Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi. I’ve had this novel on the to-be-read shelf for a while; it made a number of “year’s best” lists when it came out, including in mainstream press. It was the first “hard” reading I’d done in quite some time, and it was a challenge for me to shift gears into this post-apocalyptic view of Thailand. For the first several chapters, I just let the foreignness wash over me; gradually, I sorted out the characters, their slang, and their various plot goals. The ending has stuck with me in the few days since I finished reading — I’m tempted to re-read this one from the beginning, to see what I missed the first time through.
- Hearts in Darkness, by Laura Kaye. I’d heard Laura read from this novella when I attended the Baltimore Book Festival, so I knew a little bit about the story. The first half takes place in an elevator that has lost power; the author does an incredible job describing her characters without relying on visual cues. The characters were interesting and complex (especially the hero); however, I wanted just a bit more conflict.
- Matchmakers 2.0, by Debora Geary. Another in my study of novellas. This one had fun characters and a great chick-lit feel. My only complaint was that the conflict was resolved too easily.
- Winning the Wallflower, by Eloisa James. First in my study of romance novellas — a *wonderful* story, perfectly scaled to its size. There was conflict that grew organically from the characters, fun tricks to deliver background information, and witty dialog to satisfy even my critical eye!
- RITA Contest #8 – RITA books must be kept secret.
- RITA Contest #7 – RITA books must be kept secret, but this one was particularly problematic. I agonized over my scoring for several days, because the sub-genre is inherently unappealing to me, but I ultimately decided that the book failed as a *romance*, not merely as that sub-genre. Sigh…
- RITA Contest #6 – RITA books must be kept secret.
- RITA Contest #5 – RITA books must be kept secret, but this was one *superb*, and I’ll eagerly seek out other books by the author!
- RITA Contest #4 – RITA books must be kept secret.
- RITA Contest #3 – RITA books must be kept secret.
- RITA Contest #2 – RITA books must be kept secret, but this one was good enough that I’ll be seeking out the author’s backlist.
- RITA Contest #1 – RITA books must be kept secret. This one was neither here nor there, pretty average for its sub-genre.
- Blood Red Road, by Moira Young. I had heard that this book was difficult because the story is told in dialect. That didn’t get in the way of my reading at all – I inhaled this story that is a cross between The Hunger Games and Hansel and Gretel and a number of other stories. My only quibble was that the narrator states that she is 18, but she felt younger to me.
- Cleopatra’s Moon, by Vicky Alvear Schechter. Part of my Rome odyssey, . This book covers the same territory as Stephanie Dray’s Lily of the Nile, but it takes a different approach. In some ways, the Schechter book is more complicated — she uses the Latinized versions of names (Marcus Antonius, instead of Mark Antony), and her characters feel more formal and stylized. In other ways, the story is simpler than Dray’s — the characters’ motivations are more straight-forward. Schechter is writing more explicitly for a YA audience. There’s a very nice twist at the end, though, with one character’s motivation that I completely did not expect.
- The Next Best Thing, by Kristan Higgins. I’m a tough sell when it comes to humor — I tend not to laugh at most jokes in most books. That said, there were several times when I literally laughed out loud while reading this novel. It’s not going to change anyone’s life, but it’s good fun in the strongest descendant-of-chicklit tradition (and I mean that in the best of all possible ways.)
Gee. It seems like I’m missing some. (I know that I spent a fair amount of time trying to get through one book, but hmm… ) I wish I was a fast reader!
Mindy, who really wants to find a way to incorporate a couple of hours reading into her daily schedule, every day, without fail
Mirrored from Mindy Klasky, Author.