Tuesday, December 26, 2023

46. Squad: Anyone Would Kill to Belong

By Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Lisa Sterle Illustrator)(211 pp)

This is a graphic novel about a teenager who moves to a new school and falls in with the "it" crowd only turns out they are werewolves and she has to join them now that she knows the secret. I don't want to give away any spoilers but problems ensue. Loved the illustration style. Fun story.

Monday, December 25, 2023

45. Blood of Elves

By Andrzej Sapowski (398 pp)

This book was first published in 1994. I think I got it before I started watching The Witcher but then I never got around to reading it until after I watched the show. Like I say for almost every fantasy book: I got lost with the kingdoms and which people were for an against other people and who had what goals. But I loved the characters and active writing style. I loved the humor. I don't think I'm going to carry on with the entire series. Maybe.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

44. Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas

By James L. Adams (209 pp)

This is one of those books I have had sitting around and read a chapter here and a chapter there and took a few notes. The book talks about creativity in organizations and problem solving. The book was recommended to me in the context of writing and for that I don't think it's particularly helpful. But as a general text to get someone thinking about blocks to creative problem solving (e.g. cultural, intellectual) it is interesting. There are also lots of exercises and ideas to improve creative thinking.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

43. Tracy Flick Can't Win

By Tom Perotta (272 ebook)

This is a sequel to the book, Election, that might better be known as a movie staring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. Like all of us, Tracy is 30 years older and like many of us, the ambition of her youth didn't turn out quite the way she had hoped. Due to her mother's serious illness she ends up back in the town where she grew up and back at the high school of election where she is the vice princpal. The story is told through several viewpoints including some of the high school students. This is my favorite kind of story: dark but funny and nothing turned out like I expected.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

42. The Heart Principle

By Helen Hoang (351 pp)

I followed up my romantasies with a contemporary romance. This one is about a violinst, Anna, suffering from burnout. Her terrible boyfriend wants to open up the relationship before they commit so she seaches for a one night stand and finds a dude, Quan, who is going through some stuff of his own. When the book started, I didn't think it would work for me but the leads are super charming and won me over. The story did get a little long for me with almost all of Anna's family being so insentitive and wretched toward her.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

41. A Broken Blade (Halfling Saga #1)

By Melissa Blair (450 pp ebook)

When I finished Fourth Wing, I was in the mood for another fantasy book and had this one already on my ereader. I bought it because the author is Native and I love seeing a Native author in this genre. The story is about a young woman who is an assassin for the King in a magical world. There are Fae, Elves, and Mortals plus Halflings. A mysterious Shadow threatens the kingdom and Keera is dispatched to take care of him. Everything quickly becomes more complicated with lots of surprises. Fun book.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

40. Fourth Wing

By Rebecca Yarros (528 pp, ebook)

This book has been popping up everywhere for me since it came out in May. It's been on my list and then moved up the list. I decided to treat myself for a long airplane ride and I am happy to say the book delivers. It's fantasy about a young woman who is enrolled against her wishes into a brutally competitive military academy. By brutal I mean people die because they can't keep up with the training or because they kill each other. Also, there are dragons. If you take all the super popular books of the last 20 years and stick them in a blender -- this is what you'd come up with. But it was super fun and page turny. I almost forgot to mention there is a steamy romance. The book isn't perfect, I had a few beefs but very fun to read. A flight attendant glanced at my ereader and immediately asked me how I was enjoying the book and whether I had Book #2 yet. It's loaded up and ready to read next.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

39. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk and Robot #2)

By Becky Chambers (152 pp ebook)

Love these books. Sibling Dex and the Robot Mosscap hang out together and travel around to different villages. I find these books very comforting and relaxing.

Friday, November 3, 2023

38. What Moves the Dead

By T. Kingfisher (176 ebook)

What a creepy read! It's about a soldier who is called to visit some friends in distress and arrives at the moldering estate where unsettling things are afoot. I was lamenting that I didn't set aside anything scary to read for Halloween this year. At the same time I read this and yikes! Really good. T. Kingfisher is terrific. This was inspired by Fall of the House of Usher. I have not seen the TV series but have it on my radar and now that I've finished the book, I will prioritize. I put the Poe story on my nightstand so I can re-visit that. The author also cites Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia and I thought for sure I had it on my ereader but, alas, I do not. It's on the list for next time I buy books.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

37. The Interestings

By Meg Wolitzer (560 pp, ebook)

Meg Wolitzer has been on my radar for decades. I don't know how many times I've picked up one of her books and then set it back down. I finally bought this one and loved it. I can't wait to check out more of her books. This is the story of a group of friends that starts in the 70s when they are all at summer camp together. The story follows them into their 50s with success and setbacks and lives that didn't come out as expected. Terrific writing. Great characters. I really enjoyed the book although I found the ending a wee bit unsatifsying. I say this more as a reader who likes when everything works out perfectly than as a flaw in the book.

Monday, October 16, 2023

36. The Blade Itself (First Law #1)

By Joe Abercrombie (560 pp, ebook)

This is a fantasy series set in a primitive-ish Europe? It's the story of a bunch of very different characters who cross paths by the end. There are battles and more set to come, crooked politicians, some slight magic elements that add mystery. I just read my first Joe Abercrombie earlier this year and now I have at least 6 of his books sitting around here. Terrific characters. Very dark and brutal but also funny. Inquistitor Glotka is one of my most favorite characters I've come across in a long time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

35. Dust and 3 short stories (Silo Book #3)

By Hugh Howey (539 pp, ebook)

I wanted to wrap up this series so I plowed through this last book. I felt the longer the story went on, the harder it got to suspend my disbelief. So many of the characters acted ridiculously. In this last one, the secrecy of the Silo world is undone and there is lots of violence and miraculously, equipment that's been sitting around for 500 years still works. This is one post-apocalyptic story convention that always gets me, how technological devices still work hundreds of years later. Have you ever found an iPod that's been in a drawer for 10 years and tried to make it work? There are three short stories set in this same world and I would avoid them. The characters make the most bizarre choices, it's not worth it.