lizzardgirl: (books)
(I may not be getting the order right but who cares, eh?)

61: Nathaniel Philbrick, Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War

Rather interesting look into the beginnings of the New England colonies, especially as I didn't really know a lot about them and Philbrick takes pains to use several, differing accounts, and also from the Native Americans.

62: Susan Hill, The Pure in Heart
63: Susan Hill, The Risk of Darkness
64: Susan Hill, The Vows of Silence

Hmm, well, I was pretty positive about her first but I think they're not that good as a series. And it's all pretty gloomy and lots of triggering topics like children dying, child abductions, suicide, euthanasia. I don't think I'd recommend them very much.

65: Sophie Kinsella, I've Got Your Number

This on the other hand, was a fluffy, fast-paced romp that really worked both the ridiculous footnotes and telling the story partly through text messages.

66: Terry Pratchett, Masquerades
67: Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies

Better than Snuff, both, but I still liked Witches Abroad a wee bit better.

68: Selden Edward, The Lost Prince

This is a sequel to The Little Book, the one that I was so in love with in early 2012. This is still good, and very riveting, and a wonderfully nice book - but The Little Book is just better, and quirkier in the premise. However, I liked that this one sort of explored the flip side of time travel (without resorting to time travel again, as in the first book, it's complicated): what to do with foreknowledge and already knowing your destiny? TLB also did that but this one's protagonist had a complete different view point on it all. I can't say much more without spoilering but seriously if you like time travel and thought experiments and history of the early 20th century, seek those two out. And definitely, whatever else to cover text says, read TLB before TLP!!!

69: Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum

I really liked the vampires but I'm not sure I really got all the Granny Weatherwax bits.

70: Alan Bradley, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Really liked this. So quirky. It's like if Sherlock Holmes were a girl and 12 years old and living in the 1950s. Have the next three books from the library but not started yet.

71: Nora Roberts, High Noon

Pretty much standard Roberts fare, of which I think I've read too many this year ;-)

And unless I've forgotten any that's all books for this year. I won't deny that 71 is a bit of a disappointing number after 96 of last year, but, well, no use crying over spilled milk.
lizzardgirl: (books)
55: The Hedge Knight, by G.R.R. Martin
56: The Sworn Sword, by G.R.R. Martin
57: The Mystery Knight, by G.R.R. Martin

Okay, so I could've counted them all as one book, since they're not only all very short, but actually, in the German edition, all in the same book. But, you know. Upping the counts ;-)

I rather liked this. So many allusions in the series to the backstories and now here are some. I'd like more! Only I'll not read them in German again because they translate all the names differently and it's totally confusing. But the library only had it in German, so, eh.

58: Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchett

I liked this much better than Snuff. So much funnier in its whackiness, so much more stringent in its plot and just generally more fun. I have to conclude that maybe the middle Pratchetts are the best.

59: Slam, by Nick Hornby

This was a quick, fun, fast-paced read, on par with About A Boy.

60: The Various Haunts of Men, by Susan Hill

I totally wasn't prepared for this. I'd expected a cozy mystery, somehow - I don't know why, the book cover looked eerie enough - and that, it definitely wasn't. It was a total page-turner, mind you, and I raced through it and found it very good, but it's most certainly not cozy. And there's a total downer ending. Which made total sense plot-wise, and all, but went against all conventions of mystery novels, so quite a shock there and not the uplifting ending one expects. Still I'm going to find more by her.
lizzardgirl: (books)
No spoilers under the cuts, I was just trying to save some space!

41: J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers

I think I mentioned before my feelings about this book ;-)

42: Robert Galbraith: The Cuckoo's Calling

Two thumbs up for JKR's new endeavour!

43: J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Nothing to say ;-)

44: Katherine Webb: The Misbegotten

It was okay, I guess, but it didn't thrill me. A regency mystery that seemed to thrive on misery for its creatures.

45: Val McDermid: The Vanishing Point

A really nice thriller although the ending was a bit far-fetched and abrupt.

46: Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall

Read more... )

47: Melissa Anelli: Harry, A History

Read more... )

48: Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches

Read more... )

49: Deborah Harkness: Shadow of Night

Read more... )

50: Terry Pratchett: Snuff

Meh. It was okay, I suppose, but I've come to expect more from Pratchett and this just ... fell short.

51: Hilary Mantel: Bring up the Bodies

See above for the first volume.

52: Kate Kingsbury: Fire When Ready

Read more... )

53: Kerstin Gier: Silber. Das erste Buch der Träume

Now Lydia is going to hate me because I have to say that I liked the beginning of this new fantasy YA trilogy even better than Ruby Red, and I have no idea when/if it will be available in English ;-) Or when the next volume is coming out. I hope soon.

54: Mischa Meier/Steffen Patzold: August 410. Ein Kampf um Rom

Read more... )

I feel that 54 is an awfully low number for November ... I did much better last year. :/
lizzardgirl: (books)
Uhm, the list got pretty long again because I forgot to update. So, eh, bullet points ;-)

27: Love Letters, by Katie Fforde (library)

Rather sweet, but a bit uninspired.

28: Joseph Andrews, by Henry Fielding (mine)

Great fun. Not perhaps as hilarious as Tom Jones, but an awesome parody of Pamela nonetheless.

29: Tribute, by Nora Roberts (library)

One of the Robertses I liked rather better. Very cute couple and I loved that it was treated very matter-of-factly that the heroine was a contractor. No 'she's a contractor in spite of being a woman!!!' nor any 'of course she's a contractor because she's a woman because long rant about feminism!!!' but simply 'she likes building houses and he draws comics and now on with the story!'

30: Sweet Danger, by Margery Allingham (mine)

A night-time re-read of an old favourite. The translation I own is pretty rotten, unfortunately, but still a favourite book.

31: The Glass Book of Dream Eaters, by Gordon Dahlquist (library)

Difficult to describe this book really. It's awesome fantasy imagining, great worldbuilding, compelling adventure, but there are some scenes where a sexual assault is described quite detailedly. It's not gratuitious and not graphic, but I can see how it could be triggering for some. Also, frequent mentions of sexual situations and lots of violence - all not gratuitious, but necessary for the plot, but probably not everyone's cuppa tea.

32: Now You See Her, by James Patterson (library)

Pretty formulaic, very cardboard-y characters and very weird plot, but very gripping and fast-paced read.

33: Without a Trace, by Nora Roberts (library)

One of the Robertses that I didn't really care about. It's one of her earlier works and it shows, IMHO. I couldn't care less about either of the couple and the plot lacked the wittiness of her later works.

34: False Impressions, by Jeffrey Archer (library)

Rather convincing thriller. I liked that it was all hingeing on 9/11 without there being any direct relation of the plot to any terrorist conspiracies or anything like that.

35: Blue Smoke, by Nora Roberts (library)

Liked this one better than the one I read before. The plot was a bit silly, but still nice to read.

36: Silent Voices, by Ann Cleeves (library)

Rather good mystery novel, as Cleeves usually delivers.

37: The Next Always, by Nora Roberts (library)
38: The Last Boyfriend, by Nora Roberts (library)
39: The Perfect Hope, by Nora Roberts (library)

I practically devoured this trilogy. IMHO, it's Roberts at her best. She's created a community that's so wonderful and perfect it's almost unbelievable, but I absolutely want to be a part of it. The only thing that was grating was the random capitalisation of nouns instead of giving things names - like The Patio or The Lounge. It was as if she'd written the books on my iPhone ;-)

40: The Lady of the Rivers, by Philippa Gregory (library)

Had to read this as background for The White Queen. Is like the series, good history crack. The only thing I don't like is that there is too much hindsight showing. Like when two characters discuss Margaret Beaufort at a time when she is ten or so and say 'don't worry about her, it's not as if *she* would ever give birth to a king' and stuff like that. Also there was not enough Margaret to hate but I have high hopes for The Kingmaker's Daughter, as soon as I'll get it from the library. Unfortunately they don't have The Red Queen.

Have now started a Harry Potter-re-read. Am reading the first one in French right now but will probably switch to English some time soon because it's slooooow going.

Books 23-26

Jun. 6th, 2013 12:33 pm
lizzardgirl: (books)
23: The Summer of Love, by Katie Fforde (library)

It was a nice read, in the end, but the beginning rather dragged so much that I almost wanted to give up. It got considerably better once the male love interest appeared and there was actual conflict and, you know, plot.

24: Pamela, by Samuel Richardson (mine)

This book. Oh this book. It is ... just so much. Hilarious on a whole different level.

There is so much I want to talk about, like the constant veneration of Pamela's virginity, and the constant worshipping at The Altar of Our Lady Pamela's Iron Hymen & The Riches of Mr B (Not That We Care About Money One Jot But Just For The Record He's Totally Loaded). Or how Pamela's employer is supposed to be evil and I'm supposed to think him the vilest of men for his attempts on Pamela yet I blame him most for not smothering the stupid girl at the earliest opportunity.

I suppose I would find the book quite infuriating in parts if it weren't so hilarious and overwrought that I couldn't take it serious at all, but it would probably be either spoilerific or boring if you haven't read it, so I'll leave it at saying that in spite of all that, it was an oddly compelling read and I can see why it was the 18th century's Twilight, of sorts.

25: Wicked Business, by Janet Evanovich (library)

It would be moot to deny that Janet Evanovich writes formula, and this new series really is nothing else but Stephanie Plum with just some bit of the supernatural sprinkled over it. But while she does write formula, she does it good, and this was a quick, witty, quirky read - exactly what one needs after reading Pamela.

26: Angel Falls, by Nora Roberts (library)

This really had all the makings of a good Roberts, with a quirky Wyoming community and a very realist heroine and a gripping mystery. For a long while I couldn't fathom why I didn't really warm to it, but I think it's because the male love interest and I just have no chemistry. It's not that he's horrible or anything, he just doesn't do it for me, somehow. Too pastiche, perhaps, or maybe I'm just not that into him. Otherwise, it was a good enough read, but I've read Roberts' I liked better.
lizzardgirl: (books)
18: A Storm of Swords, by GRR Martin (mine)

19: A Feast for Crows, by GRR Martin (mine)

20: A Dance of Dragons, by GRR Martin (mine)

I'm planning a separate "Song of Ice and Fire and why you want to read it!" post so this just here to complete the statistics ;-)

21: Chasing Fire, by Nora Roberts (library)

This book reminded me why I like reading NR so much. It's because she just has a gift for writing groups of people in such a way that you want to belong there. Whether it's, as here, firefighters in the wilderness, or as in other books, friends in a wedding business, or dog rescue units, or what-not, she can write these groups in such a way that you really feel how much they depend on each other, how much they rely on each other and how they just are a unit and you want that too and love being a part of it through the book. They're open and accepting and tease each other and all and it's just awesome. I mean, this book is about firefighters jumping out of planes to battle with bushfires and I still wanted to be in that group. The mystery bit was a bit weak, I guessed in advance who would be revealed to be the baddie, but that didn't really matter because I loved the interactions between the characters so much.

22: XO, by Jeffrey Deaver (library)

Okay, so when I was younger, I was a big Deaver fan, but his latest books ... I don't know. Either it's that I'm just so jaded, or I know his shtick by now, or he just can't write anything original anymore, but this one was so utterly foreseeable it got really boring and I didn't care about any of it. I'll probably read any new book of his anyway because they remind me of how awesome I found his books when I was a teenager, but I'm not feeling it anymore.
lizzardgirl: (books)
16: George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (mine)
17: George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings (mine)

Both re-reads.

And I must say, as unwilling as I was to be dragged into it all AGAIN (took weeks of my life last year :P ) they definitely hold up for a re-read. In fact, now that I know what's going to happen (roughly, there's so much happening, one is bound to forget stuff) it's really awesome how much foreshadowing there is. That is buried amidst so much other stuff that you never noticed it the first time round, but whenever something unexpected happened that punched you in the gut, you still had the feeling it made sense and now I know - it's because it was all foreshadowed and you probably picked it up subconsciously. It's unbelievable how much work must have gone into these books.

The TV series is not bad (apart from some parts ... *coughFlorencebloodyNightingalecough*) but these books are a whole 'nother league of worldbuilding and plot-crafting.

Needless to say I'm already knee-deep in Book 3.

Oh and if you want to share Thoughts about the series do so in the comments!! Expect spoilers for books and TV series there!
lizzardgirl: (books)
12: Ordinary Thunderstorms, by William Boyd (library)

This was a rather good thriller, very gripping and with an ultimately rather surprising resolution. The main mystery was a bit foreseeable, but the way the protagonist interacted with it made it rather worth reading. Some violent bits were a bit gruesome but not too graphic.

13: The Magician's Nephew, by C.S. Lewis (mine)

Well this is so far all that I've got in my great Narnia-read (got distracted ...). I didn't like this as well as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (the only other Narnia I've read so far) but it made sense as a prequel and explained some things. The Christian theme was very obvious but I liked that it wasn't in-your-face or anything as unfortunately so often happens.

14: Next of Kin, by John Boyne (mum's)

I didn't like it as much as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, or my absolute favourite of his, The Absolutist, but it was much better than Thief of Time and a rather good read. Very nice setting in the abdication crisis. The bit that bugged me most that some very obvious things were sloppily researched - like the wife of Sir Roderick Bentley skips between being called Lady Bentley and Lady Jane, or someone saying that Prince Albert being suspected of being Jack the Ripper when Albert had been dead for almost 30 years by then and it was his grand-son who was suspicious. It had no bearing on the story at all but it irked me because it's so easy to look up.

15: Waiting for Sunrise, by William Boyd (library)

This reminded me of The Little Book but there was no supernatural angle here. It's a rather good spy-thriller and an interesting take on the First World War. The protagonist's sex-craze is a bit annoying but then this *is* a novel about Freudian psychology so it's only to be expected I guess. What really irked me was the constant skips between first person and third person narration for no apparent reason, because they were both from the protagonist's point of view.

Now re-reading Game of Thrones even though I didn't mean to ... I blame Shem! She also makes me rant about the tv adaptation and stupid Florence Nightingale!Mary Sue that ruins the complete plot! Grrr!

Book 11

Mar. 26th, 2013 11:19 am
lizzardgirl: (books)
Heribert Schwan, Die Frau an seiner Seite. Leben und Leiden der Hannelore Kohl. (library)

A resounding blah is my judgment. I had had high hopes for this book because it'd been praised very much in the media, and I'd been hoping for an insight into a complicated character, the wife of a Chancellor who in sixteen years saw lots of defining political moments, a woman who by all accounts had a complicated childhood and could have achieved greatness of her own, yet had a very complicated relationship with her husband and lots of personal weaknesses.

Instead, this was ... well I collected a list of adjectives while reading. Plump, superficial, uncritical, fawning, ingratiating, sloppy academic work, unreflected, unstructured. The only part that was really handled with any sort of dexterity was the discussion of her illness, but that also took only a small part of the book. The rest of it read more or less like Mr Collins writing a biography of Lady Catherine based only on those things she told him about herself. Bah. So much to my resolve to read more non-fiction for educational purposes. What was I supposed to learn from this?

Books 1-10

Mar. 16th, 2013 01:51 pm
lizzardgirl: (books)
Because I was lazy, and forgot to update the list, I'll keep this very brief. If you have questions about any of these books, or would like to know more, just drop a comment.

1: The Shakespeare Secret, by J L Carrell

2: Schweinehunde, by Lotte & Sören Hammer

3: For The Love of Life, by Rhys Bowen

4: Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl

5: Thames: Sacred River, by Peter Ackroyd

6: Triumff, by Dan Abnett

7: Unseen Academicals, by Terry Pratchett

8: The Glass Room, by Ann Cleeves

9: Explosive Eighteen, by Janet Evanovich

10: The End: Germany, 1944-1945, by Ian Kershaw

Two non-fictionals. Go me!


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