Friends Mostly

Locked (except for book babbling) during the last round of LJ paranoia, but generally happy to add people if we know each other from somewhere (comms/mutual friends/other interaction).

Secret Santa Squee, and December ramble meme, day 19: characters in need of Iroh's parenting advice
hamster -- happy
So I've been having some very productive mail days! I went and mailed off the New Year packages to ikel89 and danny_li2 (and I've gotten *really* good at packing just under the 4lb weight limit -- one was 3lb 15oz, and the other one 3lb 15.3oz :D), and in the same two days sephystabbity got my thank-you-for-the-awesome-scarf package and rinkafushi (hi! :D) got the Secret Santa package. And then yesterday B called me in the morning but I was in a meeting at work, and when I called him back, he couldn't remember why he'd called. "Somebody called for me?" I said. "Something came in the mail?" Sort of -- they dropped off a slip because it was signature required and they would try to redeliver on Friday. But it had the sender name, and B said, "Do you know a Kim?" And I started bouncing in my chair because I now knew my Secret Santa was deeplyunhip :DDD

Squee and braggingCollapse )

Kim, thank you SO MUCH for the awesome Santa-ing! This package was filled to the brim with joy and things I love and didn't realize I needed in my life, and with the heartwarmth derived from your thoughtfulness and that special amazing feeling of receiving presents from somebody who *gets* you in all kinds of ways and goes to great lengths to show that.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And thank you, ikel89, for facilitating this wonderful tradition and masterminding the coast-to-coast and international squee. You are the best Santa-yenta, and I am now two for two for two in terms of fabulous Santa gifts and awesome recipients and just all-around amazing Santa-ing experience. <333


While I'm uploading pictures and talking about presents, let me show off some of L's handiwork that went into the parcels to sephystabbity and rinkafushi: L craftsCollapse )


Dec 19: top 5 people Iroh needs to give parenting advice to (lunasariel)

Step right into Uncle Iroh's counseling office for a nice cup of teaCollapse )

December ramble meme, day 3: trading places with a character
HP -- ravenclaw by default
So, um. Today was going to be a long (certainly) insightful (possibly?) ramble on travel, but then this happened:

sysann: *prompts* Is there any character you'd like to switch places with for a week (or longer)? Why or why not? And if you do - who?
hamsterwoman: The answer to the switching places with a character is almost certainly "No", which makes for a not very interesting answer, so I will skip that one :P
sysann: *laughs* Well you could go crazy and explain why you wouldn't want to switch places with character a, b, c, d, e...
hamsterwoman: Haha, aaaactually! XD

So many characters, beloved, unique!
Are there any with whom I'd trade lives for a week?

Well...Collapse )

The travel ramble I will move closer to the actual travel, towards the end of the month, I think.


I was also supposed to be in Oregon today, but, nopeCollapse )

Reading roundup: Foxglove Summer!
RoL -- Lesley&#39;s philosophy
60. Ben Aaronovitch, Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant/RoL #5) -- So I was seeing all these reaction posts pop up on my flist, because people unfairly live in countries where they can walk into a store and buy this book BEFORE the UK release date, as opposed to having to wait until January, like here (though the US version -- now with actual pretty covers! -- has been dutifully preordered), and I was very heroically resisting reading any spoilers (asthenie_vd's personalized admonitions not to click helped XD), and then not one but two kind people took pity on me (<333, egelantier and meathiel) and supplied me with my fix, and I got it just in time to start reading on my commute back from Oregon Friday, and read it before going to bed, and as soon as I woke up Saturday, and, despite annoying interactions like having to do stuff with my kids or go see my parents or pretend to care about grown-up responsibilities, I finished it on Saturday just as B was turning off the lights. So, Foxglove Summer has been accomplished!

I... liked it? A lot, because it's a RoL book and still chock-full of cranberries, but also even relative to other books in the series, I think? I didn't love it as much as Broken Homes (which, I'm pretty sure, remains my favorite of the series), but my expectations were suitably adjuted by the blurb and by the non-spoilery warning that I wheedled out of sysann, and it was actually a good book, I think, if not exactly the book I would have liked to read in an ideal world where BA was writing books just for me (these are already pretty close...)

In spoilery detailCollapse )

Reading roundup: Elantra
hamster dragon
59. Michelle Sagara, Cast in Ruin (Chronicles of Elantra #7) -- probably my favorite in the series to date (because all the dragons!), even though the writing still really, really annoys me. SpoilersCollapse )

I was curious, so I paged back through my author tag, to see how my impressions of the series evolved real time. Here's how things stand: somewhat spoilery, I guess?Collapse )

Book 8 (Peril), which I'm currently about a quarter into, is reminding me that I do like Barrani... but not nearly as much as dragons.

Reading roundup: Emperor of Thorns
Dragaera -- no excuse for bad manners
56. Mark Lawrence, Emperor of Thorns (Broken Empire #3) -- Well! So this is interesting. I picked up this series because I was really intrigued by ikel89 post and alenky_cveto4ek's comments therein. And now that I'm done with the trilogy, I'm really glad that I did, because I enjoyed the reading experience quite a lot, and these are books that will stay with me, and books that I want to talk about, and books whose world I'm interested in seeing more of (so I will probably read Prince of Fools, too), but, to my surprise, these are not books that affect me emotionally almost at all. I like the way they're put together, the puzzles and twists and foreshadowings and things dropping into place, and I like the prose, and I like the way Jorg's arc is done, because I didn't think something like that could be pulled off effectively, but it was. But I don't really *care* about these characters with maybe two possible exceptions (neither of which is Jorg, or, actually any character with a POV), not the way I typically care about fictional characters, where I want to rescue them and hang out with them or give them what they need. When I first read K's post, the quotes and the snappy-grimdark-with-gallows-humour made me think of Joe Abercrombie, and three books later, I find that's still the aptest comparison for how I relate to these books -- I admire them as artistic constructions, I want to poke around in them and discuss them, I intend to cautiously recommend them to people, I am glad to have read them... but I don't love them in the way I typically love books.

But, OK, book 3 specifically. Massive spoilersCollapse )

So, hell of a ride! Cautiously recommended to those who aren't put off by grimdarkness.

Finally, I'm counting this book and the two previous ones for "set on a different continent" (I've been excluding islands, so the zillion books set in England that I read this year didn't count), since it's abundantly clear that the book is set on future-Earth, and takes place in Europe and Africa. And I think I can count it for the "book your friend loved" square as well?

BingoCollapse )

Oh, and because this is a "catching up with Kay" reading post, I am also ~56% through Unmade, which is being very, very melodramatic and just as full of Ash/Jared vibes as ikel89 promised XD

Reading roundup: HAWK!!!
Dragaera/Sherlock -- Vlad and Morrolan
55. Steven Brust, Hawk -- So. Hawk. You know, it would be nice if a book I had been waiting for since April 2011 had lasted me longer than 24 hours, but ah well -- it was too much fun not to race through it, and the Vlad books always go fast for me, and I couldn't wait to see how everything turned out (ahahaha. ha.). I was ~80% done when my Kindle died during my return commute*, and it was the most frustrating thing EVER (though I did have the Tom Holt book to tide me over, at least), and I kept checking if it was sufficiently recharged to read yet all through the rest of the commute (I was trying to recharge it from my laptop battery). So, yeah, I'm done. How's Vallista coming along, then?

Non-spoilerly: I'm pretty sure this was my favorite Vlad book since Issola and possibly since before then. I think it, impressively, combines the fun and frenetic pace and caper-ness of the early Vlad books with the growth of the later ones, which is apparently what I've been wanting and waiting for.

SpoilerlyCollapse )

*This is emphatically my own fault for jinxing it, because just the night before I remarked aloud that I'd had the Kindle for three years now and it was still working fine.

Reading roundup: more Prince Jerk, and The Goblin Emperor
Dragaera -- no excuse for bad manners
53. Mark Lawrence, King of Thorns (Broken Empire #2) -- Hmm. I still enjoyed it, but, unexpectedly, I found it less fun than the first one. Still a hell of a ride, and impressive in its way, and I have hopes for #3, because I think a lot of the things that made this one less my thing that the first book have resolved themselves by the end. But, yeah, the middle section kind of dragged for me, and the structure worked less well, and older Jorg's voice wasn't quite as much fun, even though I respect the character development. It definitely picked up for me at the very end, though (maybe about the time Miana joined the narrative in earnest), and I've already started on #3.

Before I get to spoilers, a quick note on the violence level in this book, since I know a few of you were potentially intrigued. I think the violence was actually down a notch in this one, but there is more zombie-horror, and there is a fairly extended passage of animal cruelty in flashback that I had a hard time getting through. It's a traumatic event for the characters involved, too, so it's definitely treated seriously. But, if you're planning on reading and are especially sensitive to things like that, you may want to know about it.

Spoilers from hereCollapse )

So, in general, still really enjoying this series (and am now about a quarter into the last book, which is continuing to be fun).

54. Katherine Addison (aka Sarah Monette), The Goblin Emperor -- I heard a lot of good things about this book, but I'm not sure I would have picked it up if Monette had not already built up my trust with Melusine and Iskyrne, because it sounded like it could be tedious. It's a slow book, more inwardly focused than anything, but tedious it was definitely not, at least to me. It's got interesting, unusual (though somewhat challenging) worldbuilding, and the protagonist, who has a lot of the focus of the book, is not the sort of character I normally gravitate towards, but his kindness, humility, and determination to keep being a decent person in the face of sudden power and circumstances where conflict between duty and doing the right thing was frequent and conflict between either or both of those and what he would have truly liked to do was pretty much universal was quite impressive, and so he really earned my sympathy and respect. Spoilers from hereCollapse )

I was very glad to see that this book was nominated for Yuletide, because where it leaves off really does cry out for fic. Hopefully YT will produce some -- I'm looking forward to reading it already!

P.S. ikel89, look who's a fan :)

P.P.S. I'm using this icon because I don't have a more generic "elves" or "crazy bloodthirsty maniacs" icon, but that reminds me that Hawk comes out in 24 hours!

Reading roundup: Prince of Thorns
ASOIAF -- my works
52. Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns (Broken Empire #1) -- this is a book I wouldn't have picked up if not for ikel89's intriguing write-up. The write-up reminded me of Abercrombie, but, beyond a sort of gallows humour and a snappy style combined with the grimdarkness of subject material, the book didn't feel very similar to the First Law stuff at all. Spoilers from here! Big ones!Collapse )

But it was a much quick read than I had expected, and quite fun considering the body count, so: Onward!

In addition to having just started the sequel to this, I'm also reading King's Shield and The Goblin Emperor. From the trifecta of royal titles, I guess you can tell I'm back to epic fantasy, heh.

Reading roundup: Inda #2
ASOIAF -- my works
I seem to have recovered my high fantasy groove...

51. Sherwood Smith, The Fox (Inda #2) -- Yes, I'm done with it! I started this book at the beginning of the year, and things were going at a good clip until I apparently had my fill of ships. (Something very similar happened with Locke Lamora #2 last year, and I'm starting to suspect may have also been the reason I ran out of steam with Robin Hobb. Maybe I just need to accept that ships are just not my thing and plan, or brace, accordingly...) Anyway, after a while I was ready to continue, and now I'm done! (SPOILERS)Collapse )

I've bought book #3 and am eagerly awaiting Inda and Evred's (and Hadand's, and Tdor's) reunion.

But also I'm currently reading The Goblin Emperor and enjoying that, too. Like I said, I seem to have my high fantasy groove back :)

Reading Roundup: Simpsons math and Kosmo~oluhi
Simpsons -- Prof Frink
Feeling quite a lot better today, thanks to the powers of vast quantities of soup, tea, and raspberry jam. Thanks for the get-well wishes, y'all!

48. Simon Singh, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets -- this was a birthday present from aome, and turned out to be one of those things I didn't realize I needed in my life. I probably would've hesitated to get it for myself, anyway, because I would've been concerned that it would just be a rehash of Simpsons' episodes + recap of math I already knew, but, not so! There is a very little bit of that, to level the playing field, and having missed a lot of the later seasons, I actually appreciated the Simpsons recaps. But there was a lot of history of the show I had no idea about, and a lot of history of math stuff that was new to me, too, and a lot of actual new math tidbits, also (because between the math courses required for my engineering degree and B telling me about his papers, I know and have retained a fair bit of applied math type stuff, but when it comes to things like number theory or other pure math topics, or topology, I really don't know anything I did not learn from the Martin Gardner math puzzle books I read as a kid in Russia).

In more detailCollapse )

Maybe I should read more non-fiction, considering that I had more fun with the two non-fiction books I read this year than with quite a few of the fiction ones that are my usual fare...

49-50. Olga Gromyko, Kosmopsiholuhi (vol.1 & 2) [Kosmo~oluhi #3] -- OK, this book. It was such a weird feeling reading it, because it really felt like it was hovering over the line separating fanfic from canon. BecauseCollapse )
Actual impressions, with marked spoilersCollapse )

For my own records, this was the entry with Kosmooluhi "spoilers", which are quite funny in retrospect.

Also, link to the new FB:
login: "Читатель ФБ" login and password: uhjvsrj2013

Drive-by post
Livejournal -- HP -- Luna
I survived my first full week back at work (mostly by continuing to do as little as possible, shhh), and had a wonderful dinner with my friend R Friday night, which I'm too lazy to write about in detail at the moment, but in briefCollapse )

I also uploaded a subset (i.e. "only" ~500) of the trip pictures on Facebook*. Which apparently I haven't done in a while, because the new facial recognition tagging thing surprised me both by its existence and by how good it isCollapse )

*The LJ posts are coming! They will just contain more pictures and more verbiage and are more labor-intensive 'cos HTML, and also I need to post the trip reports first.


{ visit my post } { visit the thread }

(I missed the last couple of these while in Europe, so, jumping on this one.)

(Also I keep thinking I should have a template I pull from rather than recreating my answers every time, and it might as well be this one. So:

My comment, for my own recordsCollapse )

Reading roundup, post-sabbatical edition
Dresden Files -- building on fire quote
I didn't do a whole lot of reading while on vacation, though I did eke out a couple of books and made progress on another. Getting back into the swing of it since my return, though, now that I'm back to having regular reading time in my commute.

42. Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) -- Yeah, I dunno... It took me a long time to finish, reading in bits and pieces, and I enjoyed it while I was reading, but whatever the thing is that makes one want to pick up a book one is in the middle of and finish, this didn't have it for me. Which is a pity, as there were lots of bits I found funny and neat, but the whole just didn't gel into something I wanted to spend more time with... Non-spoilery impressionsCollapse )

This is weird and disappointing, as I was hoping this would be a series I could love (ms_geekette's rec sounded very solid, and my best friend R is a fan also), but alas, earwax. It's a series I can now appreciate for its inventiveness and interesting medley of zany and kinda grim, but not one I think I will be continuing with.

43. Sarah Beth Durst, Conjured -- this was a book L ordered via Scholastic Book Clubs and took along with her, so I got to read it while she was reading my Kindle (because I'd left my paper books behind when we went to Norway to keep weight/bulk down). I enjoyed it quite a lot, but don't have much to say about it. It worked as a thriller for me pretty well, which I hadn't really expected. The rest, with MAJOR SPOILERS, which I strongly recommend not reading if there's any chance of you reading the bookCollapse )

Even though I've had Vessel (a present from aome) by the same author not only in my to-read pile but actually among the books I took along on this trip, this ended up the first SBD book I read, and it left a very favorable impression. I'm currently in the middle of Vessel, and also curious to try Ice after thistle_chaser's very favorable review.

44. Benedict Jacka, Cursed (Alex Verus #2) -- both rodents finished Verus #2-4 ahead of me, but mostly managed to avoid spoiling me for anything significant (a real problem with O, who loves spoilers and sharing them, when L doesn't). After he finished the series, O kept asking me why I wasn't reading on, and I told him the couple of things that I hadn't liked very much about the first book -- the over-reliance on homage/pastiche/characters and worldbuilding that sounded like they'd come from other places (Dresden Files, Lukyanenko, Discworld, B5), and the way Alex kept calling Luna "good girl". O assued me that Alex did not call Luna "good girl" anymore in book 2, which is true, and it turns out the borrowings are a lot less prominent here, too, and some of the character who felt merely like references to other people's work in the first one (like Sonder) actually get fleshed out a bit, which was nice. Which is all to say that I liked book 2 more than I'd liked the first one.

I'm still not loving the series, but am finding it very readable. Specifics, with spoilersCollapse )

47. Benedict Jacka, Taken (Alex Verus #3) -- This one was pretty decent, too, in its flattish way. While reading another running-and-fighting scene I came to the conclusion that these books make me feel like I'm reading fanfiction -- pretty good quality fanfiction, but there's a kind of... flatness, maybe? to them, and the plot points just seem to be heaped on top of each other / made up as you go along, and the worldbuilding still feels stitched together from disparate ideas. But the end result is still quite readable. SpoilersCollapse )

Experience suggests I will be done with book 4 after another commute or two, and then book 5 is coming out in a few days, actually, so that's pretty good timing on my part.

45. Jim Butcher, Skin Game (Dresden Files #15) -- this one was slow to get going for me, which is what tends to happen with the Dresden books which don't have that magical ensembleness I love about this series, but once it got underway it went fast, and I ended up enjoying it more than the last couple of outings in this series, I would say, probably most since Changes. Spoilers!Collapse )

Oh, and, Dresden Files-related kid vignettes / observations (spoilers through Cold Days)Collapse )

46. Steven Brust and Skyler White, The Incrementalists -- so, this is the collaboration SKZB has been two-timing Vlad with all asquee about. I was skeptical about it before I started, because the premise didn't seem like my sort of thing (secret society / secret history). Then I started reading and was liking it a lot better than I'd been expecting to, but in the end I'm merely OK with it, I find, having liked the second half of the book a lot less than the first half. With spoilersCollapse )


And a meme I glimpsed somewhere on my flist before I left and squirreled away for when I'd have time for it, which is now:

Let’s play Burn Read Rewrite. It’s like Fuck Marry Kill, but with books -- i.e. give me three book titles (that I'm likely to be familiar with), and I will reply accordingly.

Reading roundup: urban fantasy heroines and the were-whatevers who love them edition
Dresden Files -- TV show
39. Ilona Andrews, Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) -- you know what I'm finding weird about this series? It seems to be actually becoming LESS subtle as it goes on, which is kind of a weird trajectory. Or possibly not so much "weird" as "depressing", because I suspect (maybe uncharitably) it has to do with the authors choosing to focus on/strengthen a single relationship at the expense of other dynamics. With spoilers and also rantsCollapse )

Possibly what I should do is quit while I'm (still slightly) ahead, but, fat chance!

In between book 5 and 6 I read the Saiman rescue short story ("An Ill-Advised Rescue"), and I see what you mean, egelantier about the supplementary stuff probably being written by the husband alone, because the writing was way, way worse -- all fight scenes and "fuck"s and "he was done"s, and barely readable even with skimming. Is the Andrea book the same? 'Cos I would really like to read more about Andrea...

I also read (and maybe I should count it as a book?) the Kate-POV novella Magic Gifts. Some bits felt completely random, like the whole Andrea/Raphael thing at the end -- where did that wander in from -- but it was quite funny and fun overall, even if the pacing felt weird -- really long build-up, then resolution in just a couple of pages. I enjoyed spending a bit more time with Ghastek (who gets a last name change, I think), and the mundanities of Guild stuff and PI-ing were also quite nice, as was some of the Kate and Curran banter (especially Kate tweaking his jealousy)

40. Ilona Andrews, Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) -- I started reading it and was thinking that I seem to be hitting my limit on these, so it's just as well that this is the last one out, and, really, it's feeling so repetitive and ridiculous and... and then, around page 100, things changed, and I was having lots of fun again (Spoilers!)Collapse )

And now I'm done with the series as it currently stands. Book #7 is due out shortly, and I didn't think I'd be in any hurry to read it, but if it has more Hugh and Kate, that may hange things. I do think it'll be good for me to take a break, though. Not sure if I'm just overdosing on Andrews in general (9 of my last 15 books were by them) or on Kate and this series specifically, but the repetitions were starting to really get to me...

Which, of course, would be why I went and read yet ANOTHER were-centered urban fantasy:

41. Patricia Briggs, Night Broken (Mercy Thompson #8) -- I probably wouldn't have interrupted my Kate Daniels spree to read this, but I had a hold out on it and it came in, so I had to go pick it up. And it was really odd to switch from Kate to Mercy, because for the first couple of pages I really had to keep reminding myself that Mercy was not Kate (a mechanic, not a mercenary), that Adam was not Curran (a werewolf, not a lion shapeshifter), and Jesse was not Julie (stepdaughter, not ward) -- the hardest part, you will not be surprised, were the guys, because Mercy and Kate are not much alike at all, and Jesse and Julie are quite different, too, but the Alpha lovers are actually pretty interchangeable, until Adam's ex-wife showed up. Also, spoilers from hereCollapse )

I'm returning a whole stack of books to the library half-read or unread. Will need to jot down here the ones I want to retrieveCollapse )

Reading roundup: more Kate Daniels + Cloud Atlas
geeky -- warning - chaotic system
36. Ilona Andrews, Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) -- so apparently the claim is, the series gets good at book 3. I can see why people say that, because this was the first book in the series that did not annoy me in some new way (except that the romance tropes it employs do still annoy me -- the whole "I want him but he's only pretending to want me out of pride all evidence and common sense to the contrary" -- but that's not new. I'm still not loving it outright, but definitely enjoying the reading experience, and, while I'm not invested in any of the characters emotionally, am curious to see what happens next (fortunately, my library has #4 in eBook, so, instant gratification ;) Spoilers from hereCollapse )

38. Ilona Andrews, Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) -- OK, this book I'm pretty bimodal on. Or maybe I started out bimodal and ended up disappointed, even. I think I was expecting to enjoy it way more than I did, because book 3 made me feel like the series was finally hitting its stride for me, but this one was right back to annoying me. Major spoilersCollapse )

But, anyway, book 4 was kind of a letdown after book 3. And yet I have book 5 ready to go now. It promises to have some Ghastek in it, at least? though currently he's been passed out for most of what I've read so far...

37. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas -- which adraekh reminded me of for the "movie" square on the Reading Bingo, which tipped me over deciding to check it out, after mauvais_pli has made me curious about it awhile ago. I had actually really disliked the movie -- it felt pretentious and pointless and interminable, but the book sounded more interesting, or, at least, I have more tolerance for/interest in unusual storytelling in books than in movies -- with movies, I have enough trouble following what's going on without gimmicks (crappy eyesight and I'm particularly bad at faces), but in a book, I can enjoy and appreciate tricks with structure, so. (The back of my edition, published post-movie, includes an author's note about the adaptation, which was actually pretty fascinating reading, and one of my favorite parts of the book.)

Which maybe makes it sound like I didn't enjoy the book, but I did! It did not engage me emotionally, or on the character/plot level that most books I enjoy grab me on, but I appreciated and enjoyed the craft a lot -- all those modes and eras of writing! -- and found it a very interesting read. In fact, it almost-but-not-quite makes me want to rewatch the movie again, which, if you recall how much of a waste of three hours of my life (even if I was trapped on a plane at the time) I felt watching that movie was, that's saying a lot! Spoilers for both book and movieCollapse )

For my own reference:
- My impressions of the movie from a year ago
- Short WSJ article by Mitchell on the movie adaptation/"translation".

And with that, I have another bingo, finally, and only 5 more squares to go to blackout: Bingo!Collapse )

Reading roundup: more Kate Daniels + a Dragaera reread
Dragaera/Sherlock -- Vlad and Morrolan
34. Ilona Andrews, Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) -- I continue to blaze through the book in a little over a day while not actually feeling the series that much. I think the latter is mostly on account of Kate's lone hero schtick though, spoilersCollapse )

35. Steven Brust, Dragon (re-read) -- back when I was going on my Dragaera re-reading spree a couple of years ago, I got to the middle of Dragon and then left off there -- so I figured it was time to re-read itCollapse )

I'm also 2/3 done with Cloud Atlas at this point, and have rather a lot to say about it (and more to come, no doubt), and have also started Kate Daniels #3, but I'm really not in a patient mood at the moment, so don't feel like waiting to have more books to post, and this post has already gotten pretty long anyway, so.

Oh, also, I was playing with Akinator to pass the time a couple of days ago, and: some resultsCollapse )

Reading roundup
geeky -- warning - chaotic system
Real entry forthcoming -- L's birthday, new house stuff, work week. But for now, I felt like another book entry, so:

31. Ilona Andrews, Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) -- I've been hearing good things about this series ever since sarahtales/SRB talked about it (in a post about female protagonists, I think?), but coming across random books at the library. But after reading my first Edge book and enjoying it, I figured it was worth actually tracking down the first Kate Daniels book, and did. I'd been expecting something MORE -- something more different from the rest of the UF pack, I guess -- but for a first book it's definitely not bad, and I plan to read on -- I actually have the next two on request at my library right now (in "processing hold", whatever that means). Spoilers from hereCollapse )

32. Emma Bull, Finder -- this is a Bordertown novel (which I didn't realize was a thing that existed, actually, though I've read a bunch of short stories set in Bordertown) which qwentoozla recommended for my "book more than 10 years old" square on the bingo. Thank you, Katie! I don't think I ever would've tracked down this book otherwise, and I definitely enjoyed it! Also, this is only the second Emma Bull book I've read, even though I really loved War for the Oaks and a short story of hers which was my introduction to the author ("Silver or Gold" in After the King, the anthology that was also my intro to Pratchett, via "Troll Bridge"). With major spoilers, including the whodunitCollapse )

33. Charles Yu, Sorry Please Thank You -- this was another recommendation from the Reading Bingo recs post a little while back, from a couple of different people, but ladymercury_10 was the first to mention it -- so, thank you! It was a very interesting read, even though some stories worked for me and some really didn't. But everything was interesting at least in concept if not in story, so I'm very glad to have read this anthology. Mostly non-spoileryCollapse )

Now back to Cloud Atlas on the Kindle and SKZB's Dragon as my bedside reading.

Reading roundup: Invisible Gorilla and The Edge
geeky -- warning - chaotic system
Obligatory LJ layout teeth-gnashing. *sigh* I lasted a couple of hours with the new one, but then switched back. Which is highly non-intuitive! But here's a screencap that shows where to find it (with thanks for ladymercury_10 for the link to it, as it's handier than the verbal explanation on the basis of which I hunted it down myself.)

28. Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us -- isiscolo recommended this when I was asking for non-fiction recs for the reading bingo, and it totally hit the spot! It's exactly the kind of non-fiction I like -- weird brain stuff -- written in exactly the kind of style I like (anecdotal and personal, but with references to actual studies, in footnotes -- reading this on the Kindle allowed me to see that 25% of this book was footnotes), so I swallowed it in just a couple of days.

The book talks about common illusions rooted in our intuitions, with nifty experiments which illustrate them and real-life examples of those illusions at work, and also ideas about where those illusions may have come from. I was familiar with a number of the illusions -- I'd heard about the gorilla experiment (and have seen the video, but not "cold", so I knew to look for the gorilla), and about the illusion of competence (that people who are, ~objectively, worst at something tend to overestimate themselves the most in that field), and, of course, the illusion of correlation and causation, both in general, and specifically as it relates to the debunked "vaccines cause autism" study. But there were absolutely things I learned that I'd had no idea about, and even things I'd heard about before were very neat to see backed by actual experiments/data. Lots of notes and some quotesCollapse )

29. Ilona Andrews, On the Edge -- so I went back and read the first book, and it was enjoyable, too, though for slightly different reasons. With spoilersCollapse )

30. Ilona Andrews, Bayou Moon (The Edge, book 2) -- When I first read the blurb, I figured this was going to be my least favorite of the books, and first meeting Cerise and William in book 3, they didn't interest me at all. But it was the only one of the series the library had in eBook, so I grabbed it, and then ikel89 turned out to remember this one more than #1, so it moved up in my queue. And, wouldn't you know it, it turned out to be by far my favorite of the three. SpoilersCollapse )

Anyway, I generally don't enjoy paranormal romance, but these three books were fun, and Bayou Moon was the most pure fun I've had reading since... *scrolls back* actually, since the first Mercy Thompson book back in January, actually (though I've definitely read more interesting and more ambitious books that I enjoyed in-between).

I'd mentioned that I have an ever-increasing list of books I'm in the middle of, and I need to keep better track of it, so, going to start doing so here, in the order in which I'd started them: 9 booksCollapse )

I think Finder (thanks, qwentoozla, for the rec!) will be my next main read, and then Cloud Atlas (thanks, adraekh for reminding me about it! -- I'm enjoying the book a good deal more than the movie so far), but who knows at this point.

Oh, and in other reading news, L is almost done with Rampant (the Killer Unicorns book I loved a couple of years ago) and O is 180 pages into Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan :)

Reading roundup, including The Neon Court
RoL -- demon trap
21. Jonathan Kellerman, Killer -- so this totally did the job of hooking me instantly and getting me to finish it within 24 hours of having picked it up t the library, like these books normally do. It was interesting / rather different from most Delaware books in that spoilers, including the whodunitCollapse )

22. Kate Griffin, The Neon Court (Matthew Swift #3) -- I've liked each successive Matthew book more, though I'm not entirely sure how much of that is due to the ratio of cranberries and bran shifting in my preferred direction vs just my expectations being better aligned with what I'm likely to encounter now that I've got a couple of these under my belt. I do think there's a lot of the former going on, though. Spoilers from hereCollapse ) So, onward to the last Matthew book, which I also have in my possession.

23. Shel Silverstein, Every Thing On It -- this is the last poem collection, publishes posthumously in 2011, which I did not realize was more than a decade after his death. I went and read the Amazon reviews after I finished -- it's got a 5-star rating overall, but I read the less favorable ones on purpose, and I tend to agree -- even his mediocre poems are better than most stuff out there, but you can pretty much tell this is a posthumous collection, because there are very few real gems here, and the average quality is just lower -- there's a reason, in short, why many of these had probably been excluded from previous collections. Poems I liked were "The Genie in the Flask", "Lizard", "The Lovebutcants", "Fourth Place", "Growing Down", "Call the Please", "Henry Hall", "Food?", and Happy EndingsCollapse ) which is not a lot of poems to like out of a 200 page book... There were others that were amusing and others that just didn't do anything for me at all -- which of course is the case with all Silvestein books, but the propoertions were way off on this one...


I am laboring through an ever-increasing list of books I'm in the middle of. Currently these are, in order of me having started them:

- Volha #3 (which I think I'll probably go back to after Kosmopsiholuhi withdrawal)
- The Fox
- Thursday Next #1
- one of the Hollows books, I forget which one
- Codex Born (Libriomancers #2)
- Raising Steam
- The Carpet People

and also Tanya Huff's The Silvered, but I'm not really sure I'll end up finishing that one.

Reading Roundup
Demon&#39;s Lexicon -- speaking as a feminis
16. Sarah Rees Brennan, Untold (Lynburn Legacy #2) -- so I read the first one and was unsold on... well, everything, mostly -- the main characters, the love story, the odd resemblance to the much stronger Demon's Lexicon. This one gave me an even weirder impression -- half the time it felt like I was reading Cassie Clare and half the time like I was reading SRB's Tumblr (and there was a random mahogany mention; oh dear, apparently my association for this word has been reset forever, even though that "plagiarism scandal" was ridiculous from start to finish). There are things I like about this series -- secondary characters, mostly, but they are sort of overwhelmed by the stuff I don't care about. And yet the result is very readable (like CC's books tend to be) -- I started reading Untold even though I was in the middle of like five other books, two of them themselves quick reads, and finished it in just a couple of days, so clearly I'm finding it enjoyable on some level. Breakdown of likes/dislikes, with spoilersCollapse )

I will read the third book, obviously, even though the cliffhanger ending does not touch me emotionally in the least. But this series makes me sad, because I was so impressed with Demon's Lexicon, and while I did not think the other two books quite equaled its audacity, I really liked the trilogy as a whole. And I enjoyed Team Human quite a lot, was emotionally engaged by it much more than I'd expected, and kept thinking about it for quite a while after. This series -- beyond the worthy-though-occasionally-clumsy representation efforts -- is really not giving me anything memorable or new, and I was expecting so much better... :(

17. Patricia Briggs, River Marked (Mercy Thompson #6) -- Well, it was bound to happen eventually, a Mercy book that just plain left me cold. This is the first one of the series that felt slow going for me and that I can't say I really enjoyed, though there were a handful of scenes that were not bad. I concede the series was overdue for a book that explicitly engaged with Mercy's Native American heritage, and I'm glad it looks like Briggs did a lot of research, but personally it didn't do much for me. Spoilers from here!Collapse )

18. Patricia Briggs, Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7) -- fortunately, this one was a return to the home team and adventure that I liked. Spoilers!Collapse )

Still, the book was a very fun read overall. And now I've got a hold out on the new book that just came out (though it'll be a while, clearly, as I'm #63 on the waitlist or something)

Question, though -- at the beginning of the book, the fae [spoiler for... something, presumably?] have declared themselves apart and have retreated to the reservations/Underhill as a result of killing a fae-murderer released by the government because of connections. This sounds like something that would've happened in an actual story, but... which? Is there a short story set between River Marked and Frost Burned that deals with this or something? Or is this something that happens in the Alpha & Omega side series?

19. The Rift, part 1 (AtLA comics) -- I was happy that this seemed to be more like The Promise (which I had liked) than the rather disappointing The Search. SpoilersCollapse ) Looking forward to the next part!

20. Dave Barry, You Can Date Boys When You're Forty -- I got this for my mother's birthday, and she enjoyed it, and my father apparently kept laughing multiple times per page. Now I've read it, too, and quite liked it. The chapters are not really connected, but my favorites were "Sopie, Stella, and the Bieber Plan" (about his teenage daughter and music), "Air Travelers' FAQ", and "What Women Want" (about Fifty Shades of Grey), and especially the children's book sub-section of "How to Become a Professional Author". There's also a chapter on his visit to Israel (with his wife -- who is Jewish -- and daughter), which was funny in places but also more serious/travelogue-y in others.

This also brings me to my first reading bingo (while the rodents, I may add, are only a couple of squares away from a blackout...)

My bingo cardCollapse )

P.S. Still greatly enjoying the question-a-day discussion in riversoflondon

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