Wednesday, December 28, 2016

17. Ancillary Mercy

by Ann Leckie (328 pp)

I gotta be honest, I was disappointed. I loved the first one but had a harder time with the second one. This one was a slog for me. It felt like there were so many scenes with everyone drinking tea and talking about an AIs feelings. I also got bogged down in the world building. I had a tough time keeping the characters, species, governments, military units, titles, and locations straight. Still love the original idea. Would read another by this author.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

16. Nemesis Games

By James S. A. Corey (530 pp)

Expanse book #5. I loved it as much as I've loved all of them. Amos Burton remains one of my favorite literary characters that I've met in the past few years. In this one, while the Rocinante is being repaired, the crew separates to take care of personal business. Terrible things happen and they all have to rescue themselves and find each other again. I have been trying to zoom through several books to pass on to my cousin who I will see over the holiday. Ancillary Mercy is next up.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

15. Ancillary Sword

By Ann Leckie 356 pp

Wow. It's been two months since I posted a book. My reading has been scanty due to low brain juice in my spare time. I've read some novellas and romance. Getting through the New Yorker every week uses up the bulk of my reading time. I picked this up because I was going on a trip and wanted to get out of my rut. It's book 2 of a trilogy. I read Ancillary Justice in 2014. I did like this one but I had a harder time getting into it.

The protagonist is a soldier and sent to this space station and then things happen and there are mysteries to solve. I'm looking forward to finishing the series.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

14. The Curse of Chalion

By Lois McMaster Bujold (502 pp)

I have heard about this author forever and this is my first time reading one of her books and I am thrilled that there are at least 20 more including stories in space. This is a fantasy set in an ancient Spain-like place with swords and power struggles and complex religion. The protagonist Cazaril has been through some rough times and goes back to the household where he once served as a page in the hopes of having a quiet life. Unfortunately, that's not how things go. It's one of those books where people you like do things you don't want them to do and cause terrible things to happen to other people you like. Really good. Recommend. I have been promising myself that I would only read books I already have but I learned that there are other books set in this world and the next one, Paladin of Souls, won both the Nebula and the Hugo so click click, it's on my eReader. I'm going to start it when I have a couple of hours to get into it.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

13. Cibola Burn

By James S.A. Corey (581 pp)

This is Expanse Book #4.

I finally finished this book. I was working on a writing project and could not make time for reading. I finished Phase 1 of my project right before vacation and read 4 books while we were traveling. None knocked my socks off so I don't think I will add here.

Cibola Burn is about a group of refugees who settle a new planet, an evil corporation who has legal (?) stake in the planet, and there is some funky stuff going on with the planet itself. I loved this one once I got into it, although I'm not completely clear what happened at the end of the action. Reading around online, that seems like a common reaction.

I need to go buy book #5 and Book #6 comes out at the end of the year and then I'm waiting like everyone else.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

12. Abaddon's Gate

By James S.A. Corey (539 pp)

Abaddon's Gate is Expanse #3. There are 2 others published and one coming out in November. Then I have to wait like everyone else. I also have read almost all the novellas but I'm not going to put them up here. Love these books so much. Amos is my new favorite fictional character. More Amos. In this one, the protomolecule has built a weird gate and all kinds of science and military ships are going out to investigate. Then a ship gets blown up and its blamed on Holden and all kinds of crazy stuff happens. Recommend.

Monday, May 2, 2016

11. The Games

by Ted Kosmatka (305 pp ebook)

The Games was recommended on a forum I'm on and I finally grabbed a copy. When I was a teenager I loved horror and thrillers. This feels like the kind of books I read back then. The story is about some point in the future when the Olympics includes a competition where countries bio-engineer animal competitors and the creatures fight to the death. The U.S. uses some unorthodox method to create their latest competitor and things go very wrong. Lots of gore and people running screaming for their lives. It’s not literature but super fun read.

Friday, April 8, 2016

10. Soft Apocolypse

By Will McIntosh (281 ebook)

I don't know what to tell you about this book. It's not a bad book but the story is so grim. It's about the world slowly falling into collapse but from the point of view of regular people just trying to carve out something resembling a decent life. This collapsing world is similar to the Margaret Atwood books that started with Oryx and Crake. There is still basic infrastructure for the fortunate few. But lots of people are homeless and struggle to get food. There are terrible viruses and various forces struggling for control. The protagonist is an every day guy trying to stay safe and fed and find a little love for his life.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

9. Caliban's War

By James S.A. Corey (595 pp)

This is book #2 in the Expanse series and it is really good. Tough to summarize quickly - all kinds of crazy stuff happens in space. Amos is one of my favorite fictional characters in recent memory followed closely by Avasarala. I've been joking about switching over to writing fan fiction. Anyone interested in reading a story about Prax and Amos opening a B&B in space? It took me forever to read it because it's such a lump and I'm still nervous about my backpack being too heavy after the back debacle of last summer. I was going to buy the rest of the books as ebooks but I want to be able to pass them on so I bought paperbacks. I'm going to pick them up tomorrow.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

8. Leviathan Wakes

By James S.A. Corey (561 pp)

This is the first book in the Expanse series - which was a show on Syfy channel. I watched 1 episode of the show and had to run out and buy the book. (Technically, I asked for it for Christmas.) I really wanted to read the book before I finished the show but ended up reading and watching at the same time. And it was little bit jarring because of the differences. But I LOVED the book and I'm happy there are 4 more published! It's set in the future when people live in space with a conflict between earth, Mars with a strong military, and outer planets. It's hard to sum up in a couple of sentences. There is political unrest and the story is divided between a detective looking for a missing woman and a ship captain who runs into related trouble. It's really good: creepy, actiony, surprising. I recommend.

Friday, February 26, 2016

7. Secrets of a Summer Night

By Lisa Kleypas (309 pp)

This is a historical romance. Normally I prefer contemporaries but I wanted to try this author. It starts out as a generic story of woman with bad luck and no money needs a good marriage in London society (1843). A handsome rake with no title comes in to mix things up. But as the story goes on the story won me over. The characterization is wonderful. It gets a wee bit melodramatic at the end but a fun read for romance fans.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

6. The Best Man

By Kristan Higgins (331 pp, ebook)

This is a sweet and fun small town romance. When the story opens, Faith Holland's story book romance comes to an end at the altar when her fiancé comes out. She moves away and when returns home, there are sparks with the Chief of Police. But both have tragic back stories to overcome. Lots of cute dialogue and funny situations although at times it went overboard into too silly. I still thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend for romance fans.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

5. Come As You Are

By Emily Nagoski PhD (345 pp)

You don't know how much it pains me to not give this book a glowing review. I love Nagoski's website The Dirty Normal. There were so many times I read something there and thought: Well that would have been handy information 30 years ago. I love all the science and also reassurance that normal is a spectrum and barring health issues, you're normal. Again, would have been great to hear 30 years ago. I'm sure it was the publishers but this is a self-help book with exercises and fictionalized anecdotes about people who come in weeping about their problems and then do a few exercises and find miraculous change. In addition, the book is long and feels like a slog, sometimes repetitious, too often referencing other chapters. And finally, the casual tone grated at times. I think the information is worthwhile and would never discourage anyone from picking it up, but not a love.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

4. M Train

By Patti Smith (253 pp)

I'm sorry I didn't decide to make notes of pages I wanted to go back to until page 139 where I made a note that Patti returned from an overseas tour and upon taking stock, realizes she only lost one pair of glasses. I had low expectations for this book. After Just Kids I suspected this was an easy money grab. You could probably make that argument. It's still terrific. It's a quiet, aimless memoir with the kind of writing that makes you want to slow down and savor every word. I always have so many books to read, I'm in a hurry to finish. With this book I took my time and was sorry it was finished. Luckily, Bob gave me a tiny volume of Patti that's a memoir finished on her 45th birthday.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

3. Vintage

By Susan Gloss (263 pp ebook)

This is a light and sweet chick lit book that follows several women connected to a vintage clothing shop in Madison, Wisconsin. I met the author when I was in Madison. It's not my usual type of book but I grabbed it during the great ebook buying binge of 2015. I loved all the characters and the way each chapter started with the description of a vintage item. It made me wish I knew more about clothes

Monday, January 4, 2016

2. All Clear

By Connie Willis (641 pp)

It snowed  yesterday morning so I stayed in bed and almost finished this book. I had to wait and read the last bit today. I enjoyed it just as much as the first time but sheesh, the middle is a major slog. So much repetition. I get that a lot of it is relevant to the story developments but I think this could have been one shorter volume that read a bit tighter. Still recommend.

Friday, January 1, 2016

1. Blackout

By Connie Willis (491 pp)

I read this in 2010 - I didn't realize it had been that long. This and the sequel All Clear came out 10 months apart. It's deceptive to call it a sequel because it's really one giant book chopped in two. Book 1 doesn't even pretend to be a self-contained volume. Since I finished them the first time I've wanted to read them back-to-back and even though I have 3 other books partially read, I decided to pick these up now. It's about time travelers in WWII and it's hard to put down. Recommend.