What I’ve Read – May and June 2014

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Saga Vol 1 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples 

Saga Vol 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples 

Saga Vol 3 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples 

I’m going to talk about these as one thing, I read them in a day although, I think I’m going to have to go back and re-read to get more depth, that is the problem with graphic novels. Anyway, I’m enjoying this, I will read the others as they appear but if intergalactic war, one eyed novelists, robot princes, non-corporeal pink babysitters, hired assassins and cats that can tell if you’re lying are your thing, this is probably for you!

Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels – Sarah Wendell

Funny but at the same time a call for some people to stop treating romance novels as if they have no value. I bought this because I love Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Sarah runs the site and it’s the site in book form, maybe with less snark.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage – Molly Wizenburg

I love Molly’s blog, Orangette and I enjoyed her first book. Like her first book, this is not a book you buy for the recipes, you read it for the stories and the ideas. I dashed through this is a day and I really enjoyed it. I liked that it made me think about food and living and although she joked that the book her husband would write in reply to this is ‘My wife is a liar’, it’s the honesty she shows in detailing her reactions that are key here. She’s honest about the fact that she didn’t think it would happen and honest about how hard she found it to adjust to the new normal. It’s a lovely book and I’m going to buy it for several of the foodie people I know.

The Untelling – Tayari Jones

Sometimes you want to like a book and you just can’t. I wanted to like this book, there are things to like, it’s well written and the prose is beautiful and descriptive but doesn’t wander all over the place. It’s me, I just didn’t like it. Intellectually, I knew what was going on, but I didn’t understand Aria’s actions and by the end of the book I didn’t much care about her pain. Stories don’t just need to show a journey, they need to make you care about journey and I didn’t. I just wanted her to sort it out, so I could be done with the book. I feel a bit guilty about not liking her or her story but there it is. This is probably a great book but I couldn’t connect with it.

The Lost Sun: The United States of Asgard – Tessa Gratton

This was one of Luc and Helene’s holiday books (yep more holiday!). I liked it, Luc would have preferred less romance (he’s 13, he can’t be perfect!), H loved it. It had some fabulous world building, the idea being that Vikings settled the US and the Norse Gods, trolls etc are all real and present in the world. So it’s familiar but different, the names of the States are spelt differently and of course are kingstates, honey soda and mead, instead of coke and beer. An alternate history and an alternate reason for slavery and emancipation, speaking Anglish instead of English, the White Hall instead of the White House, the way Christians (Biblists) are viewed as a strange minority and because the Gods are a presence, so is religion. The only problem is that it seems too pat sometimes, such as ‘The Lays of Thomas Jefferson’, it’s funny but it doesn’t make sense as the book has already established that in this world the Nordic naming customs are used so he wouldn’t be called Jefferson. Its a minor quibble because I think too much. I liked that there’s more to Soren, to his issues, than his parents and his berserking maybe to do with race. All through the book, he mentions his dark skin or someone else as having traditional Asgardian colouring, i.e. fair and he’ll uses his complexion as a description of someone else, ‘almost as dark as me’ but we don’t get a description of Soren or get to see him through anyone else’s eyes, which makes me think there’s something going on. I’ll probably read the next one because I really want to know where Gratton is going with the story.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

This was H’s pick for half term reading. Same reaction as the last book, Luc did like some of it, H loved it, I was glad it was a nice ending maybe some of it a bit pat but that’s fine. The set up for the next books was fairly obvious but H and I will read them so it worked. All of Cassandra Clare’s books have funny snark in them and she keeps things moving along.

Guildhunter Series – Nalini Singh

Angels’ BloodArchangel’s KissArchangel’s ConsortArchangel’s BladeArchangel’s StormArchangel’s Legion

More book crack from Nalini Singh. When you read them all at once, you can see some of the repetition, which was similar when I read all of the Psy-Changling series, massively ‘alpha’ men and so on. Having said that, I liked that the romance didn’t solve all the problems, I like that we get to see the main characters relationship and backstory develop through the books and I like that Singh puts real thought into what a world that had massively powerful angels in it would look like, how things would change. How culture would change depending on which angel was in charge. I also enjoyed the idea that vampires come about because of the angels and how that would change things. By the end of it, I was less interested in the various pairings and more interested in the politics and fighting. Easy to read but interesting enough that you think a bit, I think I read them all over 4 days, I have a problem….

 Ruin and Rising – Leigh Bardugo

The last of the Grisha trilogy. This is a big year for finishing trilogies and series, this, City of Heavenly Fire, Ruins, Unmade, it’s all happening. This ended well, the bad guy was defeated and they sort of lived happily ever after. The solution to the problem was staring them in the face and the solution, wasn’t quite what they thought it was. I’m sort of sad that we ended the series with Alina and Mal losing their ‘talent’ and being together, rather than working out how to live with it.

We Were Liars – E Lockhart

I really didn’t like this. I had the same reaction to it that I had to The Untelling. It was clever, beautifully written and I really didn’t enjoy it or like the narrator. I don’t know why, it’s just one of those things but I worked out what had happened and what was going on with Cady quite early on, so that may have had something to do with it.

Under Heaven – Guy Gavriel Kay

I love most of Kay’s books, this was one I hadn’t read and I’m off on a Guy Gavriel Kay reading spree very soon. It’s based on the An Lushan Rebellion during the Tang Dynasty in China, I really don’t know anything about Chinese history, or culture for that matter, so I can’t tell you how close it is to the real events and it’s early medieval so really how accurate are any novels written about time so long ago? I did like it and I loved the theme running through it, of how much, and how little one person can change events.

Shades of Milk and Honey – Mary Robinette Kowal

I really enjoyed this. It’s set in the regency but with magic, when I put it like that it sounds dreadful, but it’s not and the glamour stuff is actually very subtle. It reads as if it was written in it’s time period and must have been inspired by Austen. I really enjoyed it and I liked Jane. There are others and the next one is set in Belgium just before Waterloo (my own personal catnip!) people have to stop writing good books, I don’t have enough room in my budget or time to read them all!R

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About nicdempsey

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One Response to What I’ve Read – May and June 2014

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Read – April 2015 | Nic Dempsey

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