What I’ve Read – March and April 2014

I didn’t post about my reading in March because I forgot, so you get two months reading in one and a discussion of book crack and not being ashamed of what you read.

So in April I read 9 books of one series, on the trot over about 12 days. Book crack, I blame R for introducing me to them and I’m not ashamed that I read them because I enjoyed them. However, I wasn’t going to talk about them in the ‘what i’ve read’ round up because they are romance books.

I thought about that for a bit. I am out and proud about my love of YA, am quite happy to admit to liking Sci-fi and Fantasy (and Georgette Heyer, which is romance BTW) but I’d somehow bought into the idea that reading romance was a ‘bad thing’ and marked me as a particular sort of person. The much mocked spinster that reads romances and adores her cat pops into my head about now. Which is weird because I’m all about liking the bits of culture that you like and not grading some as more worthy than others. We’ve all met those people, the people who say ‘I go the theatre, they watch films’,  ‘I read literary works of fiction, they read genre fiction’, ‘I don’t watch television or when I do it’s only the stuff that the Guardian reviews, not Mrs Brown’s Boys’.  As if somehow, what they like makes them better people.

I think I already covered this aspect of the culture wars when I wrote about why I don’t have a television, I like the things that I like, you like the things that you like, if we all liked the same things no-one would be able to get tickets to see Coriolanus at the Donmar….oh wait. Anyway my point still stands, I like theatre and Marvel films, classic novels and YA, The Wire, Buffy and Mrs Brown’s Boys. I’m complex like that, most people are.

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I read because I enjoy it. I read Austen and Neil Gaiman, Bronte (except for Wuthering Heights – I just can’t finish that book, I just end up throwing it at a wall because I cannot be doing with the stupid, stupid characters) and John Green. I’m not ashamed of who I am or what I like and I’m very clear that unless what you like harms others, I’m not going to judge you on it either. I don’t watch Big Brother but I adore The Vampire Diaries, both of those choices can be viewed as problematic but let’s just let people like what they like.

So this month I read 9 romance novels, when the next one is published, I’ll read that too, I may branch out and read other romance novels recommended by R and the ladies at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (because the Bitchery is awesome) and I’ll just get on with it. If that means you think less of me and my intellect, then I’ll live.

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

New adult light reading. Not taxing on the brain with happy ending but did feature parents, even the nice ones, behaving irresponsibly. I liked that even though the family next door were the ‘model’ they weren’t perfect and even their children had issues with the choices that they made and how that impacted on everyone in the family. I also really liked that some of the relationships in book just can’t be resolved and it’s ok, it’s sad but it’s ok.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin

I really liked this it’s fantasy, well written and completely engaging. It’s a trilogy (are there any fantasy stand alones anymore?) and I’m interested to see where the others go.

Re-reads

Flambards – K. M. Peyton

The Edge of the Cloud – K. M. Peyton

Flambards in Summer – K. M. Peyton

Flambards Divided – K. M. Peyton

I’m running out of time to share the books I loved as a teenage with H (and L), I loved the Flambards books (horses and flying!) but they aren’t exactly books for teenagers, I read them when I was about 13 and ‘suggested’ to H that she try them. She liked them, yay and we got L to read them, he liked the technical bits and it’s sent him off to find about about early aeroplanes (did that for me too so I’m not exactly surprised!)

White Boots – Noel Streatfeild

See above about reading with H, different than I remember and very post war..

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Easy reading for the plane to DC, I really enjoyed Anna when I first read it and it’s a lovely comforting re-read.

Slave to Sensation – Nalini Singh

This is the book crack. I’m going to talk about all of them at once. It’s set in an alternative earth made up of three races, humans, the Psy and the Changelings. The Psy are ‘Silent’ trained not to show or have emotions, the Changelings are shapeshifters and the books concentrate on leopards and wolves although there are others changlings. (one of the things I loved in the later books is the ongoing conversation about sea changelings and what they might be – jellyfish, octopi?). The world is fascinating and each book builds on the world and adds more depth to each race and the politics of the world. In fact, towards the end of the 9 books, and this could be because I read them all one after another, I was more interested in the politics of what was happening than the romances. The men, even when they are non-Changeling, are all the same type. Possessive, dangerous, macho etc, and I was pretty bored with the ‘I’m a predatory Changeling male, it’s to be expected’ lines throughout the books. There is a lot of talk about alpha males and dominant and submissive people but Singh shows and tells that healthy relationships and families and groups need a balance of both. Being submissive is not being weak and being dominant doesn’t mean always getting your own way. They are pretty crazysauce but consistent in the world Singh has built.

The books are a world and although you can read them stand alone they are all interlinked and I would start the beginning and watch the time you have to do anything but read just vanish. Seriously addictive reading

Visions of Heat – Nalini Singh

Caressed by Ice – Nalini Singh

Mine to Possess – Nalini Singh

Hostage to Pleasure – Nalini Singh 

Branded by Fire – Nalini Singh 

Blaze of Memory – Nalini Singh

Bonds of Justice – Nalini Singh

Play of Passion – Nalini Singh 

Kiss of Snow – Nalini Singh 

Tangle of Need – Nalini Singh 

Heart of Obsidian – Nalini Singh

The Boy in the Smoke – Maureen Johnson

This is a short story about Stephen in the Shades of London series. If you’ve read the first two books (The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath), I’ve read both and this story made me sad, because I know Stephen’s future. It’s reminded me to go and re-read the first two books before the last one comes out this year. If you want a short story, this could stand alone but it’s deeper reading experience if you’ve read the Shades of London books and I had all ‘the feelings’  when I was reading it.

Boy Proof – Cecil Castellucci

I really enjoyed reading this although Egg, who is the narrator, annoyed me a bit. That’s down to me not being a teenager. I liked how Egg grew into herself and began to understand friendship and that being who you are doesn’t have to mean isolating yourself from people.

The Child Who – Simon Lelic

This is set in 2000 and about a child who has killed another. Except it’s not, it’s about what happens to the duty solicitor who gets the case and about public reaction and hate and fear. I remember the public reaction when James Bulger was murdered and I remember the mass hysteria when Princess Diana died and it’s clear that both fed into this book. I’m not sure that enjoyed is the term I would use about reading this book but I wanted to know what happened and it’s a good book.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Finally, I got around to reading this. It wasn’t what I expected and the ‘epic’ love story is not why I kept reading. It feels otherworldly and I do want to know what comes next so I’ll be reading the other two at some point!

 

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About nicdempsey

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