lunamysticmirror: (Reading)
[personal profile] lunamysticmirror
I made a promise to myself to keep track of the books I read in 2007, so here it is. I might write something about individual books. I might not. If I feel particularly strongly about a book, chances are I will.



1) Cold Fire, by Tamora Pierce. This is my least favorite of the Circle books, if only because the firebug's identity is immediately discernible. I liked the setting, however. The descriptions of icy canals as thoroughfares and this snowy world made me want to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate. I continue to love Frostpine.

2) Shatterglass, by Tamora Pierce. And thus I finish the Circle books. I read all eight back to back, and this was a good way to end them. Tris is wonderful. She is unabashedly cranky, stubborn and occasionally a snot -- not at all your typical heroine, especially when it comes to her physical appearance. In particular, I loved how unexpectedly caring she was with the orphan Glaki, and why. The class system issue was interesting.

3) Four to Score, by Janet Evanovich. I'm really glad I decided to give Stephanie Plum a second chance. Loved the first book, had a really hard time getting through the second, and thoroughly enjoyed three and four. I mean... they aren't exactly intellectually stimulating, but most of what I've been reading lately is pure self-indulgence. Distraction is a wonderful thing. Anyway, having now been to Jersey, everything feels so much more alive in these books. And I might have a tiny crush on Morelli.

4) The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, a Memoir, by Bill Bryson. Two thumbs up. It's an intriguing, heartwarming, funny and thought-provoking look at America in the 1950s. Bryson mixes personal anecdotes with history, really driving home how it was a time of both fear and happiness.

5) Piratica, by Tanith Lee. Thanks to Mir for this one. What's not to love about a female pirate, mistaken identities, treasure maps and good old-fashioned swashbuckling? Arrrr!

6) High Five, by Janet Evanovich. Still trucking through the Stephanie Plum series. Still pleased. But, really... If the crazy homicidal rapist you helped put behind bars is unexpectedly released on parole and begins stalking you, shouldn't you tell your super hot cop sort-of-boyfriend? I know I would.

7) The Will of the Empress, By Tamora Pierce. I quite enjoyed it, although the Empress kept reminding me of Ozorne. That threw me off a bit.

8) Hot Six, by Janet Evanovich. Because once I start, I must obsessively work my way through a series. Ranger is growing on me. But the best part of the book? Bob. In particular, the scene in which Bob is dognapped. So funny.

9) The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Translated by Lucia Graves. In the words of Stephen King, "this is one gorgeous read." Set during and after the Spanish Civil War, the story follows a young man named Daniel as he tracks a missing author, a man whose life begins to closely parallel his own. There's a lot in this book that is reminiscent of other authors, other famous works, but the story manages to be captivating and moving. And there's something so beautiful about the idea of a cemetery of forgotten books.

10) Piratica II, Return to Parrot Island, by Tanith Lee. Not nearly as good as the first -- the plot felt a bit forced -- but still fun. And it makes me laugh for a whole new set of reasons. I do love what she's done with historical people, places and events in this alternate universe. It's worth it for Hamlet Ellensun and the battle of Trey Falco alone. Oh, and the ship names. Because the FRS Ow Blast and Is That a Wasp are brilliant.

11) Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett. Not my favorite Discworld novel, but ultimately worth it. Once I got into the story, I enjoyed the read. I'm not sure I will ever look at another death by chocolate dessert in the same light.

12) Seven Up, by Janet Evanovich. Hmmm. Entertaining, but not nearly as good as the last couple Plum books. The plot felt vaguely recycled.

13) Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer. Having just put it down, I'm not entirely certain what to say. "It was good" is entirely too trite. It's thought-provoking. Funny in parts. Distressing in others. For about twenty pages, I think I forgot to breathe. Alex's narrative proved difficult to read at first, but I feel his is the lasting impression.

14) Hard Eight, by Janet Evanovich. Loved this one. Guh, Ranger. And any book in which someone beats up a man in a giant bunny suit is okay by me. However, I'm beginning to think she's writing these faster than I can read them. How many do I have left? Five? The woman is killing my OCD.

15) In the Company of the Courtesan, by Sarah Dunant. The story didn't enthrall me, but she obviously did her research, and the resulting glimpse into 16th-century Venice was fascinating. It's hard not to empathize a fair bit with the narrator. Still, I didn't feel very connected to any of the characters. It lacked a certain... life, which is surprising considering how well she paints Venice as an alive city, home to both the beautiful and ugly sides of human nature.

16) To the Nines, by Janet Evanovich. This book might be my favorite of the whole lot. The Vegas incident was hysterical. It's right up there with Bob and the box of prunes.

17) Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett. It took me a long time to be able to pick up this book and not put it right back down again. I couldn't get into it. Then suddenly I could, and I think I'm probably going to break from public opinion by saying I thoroughly enjoyed it. This likely won't surprise anyone, given the subject matter, but it was more than that. It had heart. I did not, however, like the revelations at the end.

18) Ten Big Ones, by Janet Evanovich. Augh, this one leaves you hanging even more so than usual. In a different way.

19) Visions of Sugar Plums, by Janet Evanovich. Short. Funny. Only three left. Yup.

20) The Big Over Easy, by Jasper Fforde. Weird. Purposely steeped in nonsense. It's hard to determine how this world fits in with his previous novels. Amusing, but give me Thursday Next over Jack Spratt any day.

21) The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A reread, but surely that still counts? I love this book so much. And it is, I think, exactly the sort of story about hope that more people need to read.

22) Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. Book one of the Dresden Files. I loved it. Harry is fantastically human, for all he's a wizard. And this is me facepalming, because I needed another lengthy series to get wrapped up in.

23) Fragile Things, by Neil Gaiman. I liked Smoke and Mirrors better. Some pieces left me scratching my head, but the majority were quite enjoyable. We won't discuss the Susan story. I loved reading more about Shadow. All in all, however, I think my favorite entry is the first short story, "A Study in Emerald." It helps that I heard him read it aloud.

24) Eleven on Top, by Janet Evanovich. I loved everything about this Stephanie Plum, really. She's so delightfully unhinged for most of the book. I covet her job at RangeMan.

25) Fool Moon, by Jim Butcher. Really good. I liked the different take on werewolves. In my head, Tera=Gabrielle from Lost. No idea why. I spent most of the book wanting to smack Murphy, but hopefully she will be more understanding from this point on. I mean, not that she didn't have a point. But.

26) Plum Lovin', by Janet Evanovich. Hysterical. My God... Grandma Mazur, Lula and porn. Diesel continues to kick ass. And finishing this book means I only have one left. Huzzah!

27) The Fourth Bear, by Jasper Fforde. The second Jack Spratt book continues to be clever in a silly way. Even more silly, if that's possible. It read like the author himself couldn't quite figure out why he was writing this book. There are several throwaway references to Thursday Next, but more odd were the number of times the characters and/or text referred to the author, plot or the manuscript. I remain... ambivalent.

28) Grave Peril, by Jim Butcher. My, I'm reading slowly these days. This might be my favorite Dresden thus far. Michael is wonderful, a good foil for Harry, and I really like Butcher's approach to vampires, ghosts and and all things faerie. The ending hints at an interesting follow-up.

29) Jingo, by Terry Pratchett. Patty is right. Carrot feels just a little... off in this book. It's lots of fun, however, and is typically adept at making a point about society while you laugh yourself silly. I got the biggest kick out of Nobby's "renaissance."

30) A Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore. A bit more out there than I expected, even for Moore, but the premise is really neat and the characters are predictably amusing. Sophie is wonderful. The interesting thing about this book is how you can be laughing and laughing, and Moore will suddenly hit you with a poignant moment like a punch to the gut.

31) Feet of Clay, by Terry Pratchett. A great Watch book. Possibly one of my favorites. I love the attention to Angua's dilemma and her interactions with Cheery.

32) Summer Knight, by Jim Butcher. Poor Harry. He just can't catch a break. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong in this book. It's a little exasperating at the beginning, but I like how it comes together in the end. Hooray for more Alphas, and I loved Murphy this time around.

33) Howl's Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. There isn't anything I didn't love about this book. Plot, pacing, characterization -- it's all fantastic. Perhaps my opinion is colored by the excellent characters in M'ways, but I'm okay with that.

34) His Majesty's Dragon, by Naomi Novik. ...I want a dragon. I also want to ignore my stack of books waiting to be read and get my hands on the sequels. The story here is excellent, but I would like a little more coverage of how dragons fit into this world we know so well, particularly in relation to battles and the war. The relationship between Laurence and Temeraire is wonderfully sweet. Laurence grows from stiff Navy man to devoted aviator, and it seems a bit as if the reader is learning about dragons along with the recently hatched, endearingly curious Temeraire. Very entertaining!

35) Ironside, by Holly Black. My initial enjoyment of this book would have been greatly enhanced by a reread of Tithe. The reader is plunged back into Kaye's world with little re-introduction, which is only really a problem if you have a swiss cheese memory like mine. It soon made little difference, however, as I got swept up in the story. I love Corny's story line, and the personal journey Kaye takes. The many shout outs to fandom amused me greatly.

36) Death Masks, by Jim Butcher. To me, this was a book about faith. Not necessarily religious faith, although that obviously plays a large role, but faith in humanity, friends and yourself. Nicodemus is a deliciously evil villain. I hope he returns. Harry and Susan's situation is heartbreaking. Thomas continues to win at life. Er, afterlife.

37) Throne of Jade, by Naomi Novik. Book two of the Temeraire series. A bit slow; there was one battle sequence that dragged in particular, possibly because there weren't any dragons involved. There seemed to be a lot of waiting: waiting in London, waiting on a ship, waiting in the palace, waiting in a different palace. Temeraire wasn't quite as likable toward the end of the book, either. Growing pains -- it works. I liked it, but not as much as the first.

38) Blood Rites, by Jim Butcher. It's hard to say anything without being spoilery, but I loved this book simply for all the details that are filled in about Harry's life. The main mystery itself I could give or take. I continue to warm to Murphy, whose family needs a large reality check, and the scene with Ebenezer about broke my heart.

39) The Fifth Elephant, by Terry Pratchett. The Fifth Elephant is everything I love about the Discworld series. Love. The Watch books just get better and better.

40) The Devil and Miss Prym, by Paulo Coelho. Are humans inherently good or evil? That's the question one stranger with a tragic past sets out to answer. He arrives in a small village carrying eleven gold bars and accompanied by the devil, and offers the gold to the villagers if they prove willing to murder one of their own. A good read, if not a comfortable one; I think it would be impossible not to relate to the mental and ideological struggles described within. In parts, it reminds me of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

41) Dead Beat, by Jim Butcher. I've come to the realization that I don't enjoy stories about zombies. No idea why, I just don't. The story here is decent, but it's definitely not my favorite. Although the whole Sue incident is pretty kick ass. Also, I like Ramirez.

42) Twelve Sharp, by Janet Evanovich. I'm glad I waited to pick this one up in paperback, because it gave me time to start missing Stephanie Plum. And this Stephanie Plum didn't disappoint. Now I'm all curious how she's going to resolve the romantic tangles.

43) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling. A re-read, naturally. And I'm really glad I did, because I didn't remember half of the book. Seriously, it was like reading it all over again for the first time. I still don't trust Tonks. Can I have book seven now, plz?

44) Love is a Many Trousered Thing, by Louise Rennison. Oh, Georgia. So amusing. So confused. So vair vair charmingly insane. I wish I liked book eight better. There needed to be more supporting the usual rack of luuurve. My reading list is full of clevernosity, it is le fact.

45) The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, by Julia Quinn. Shut it, all of you. Yes, I like a romance author. Her writing is warm and funny and smart, much like Jane Austen with a mischievous sense of humor. And I am quite fond of this book, though I do miss the Bridgertons.

46) Making Money, by Terry Pratchett. It started slow and then took off running, easily becoming one of my Discworld favorites. The cast of characters include former greats and hilarious additions. Vetinari really makes the book. Reading an uncorrected proof was almost as amusing as the story itself: see random footnotes and entire blocks of text written as Death.

47) The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory. Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy historical novels and the research they lead me to do. This was no exception. I've always been deeply fascinated by Henry VIII and his wives, and the consequences of his treatment of Katherine. Gregory's portrayal of Anne is not at all flattering and a little over-the-top, but she takes an interesting approach to Anne's relationships with Mary, George, her courtiers and ultimately the Howards.

48) Lean Mean Thirteen, by Janet Evanovich. Not as good as the last one, but it has some truly hilarious moments. And I've officially read all the Stephanie Plum books! Score.

49) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling. All good things must come to an end. Warning for spoilers, of course.

50) Proven Guilty, by Jim Butcher. I set this book aside to devour another story about a wizard named Harry, thinking all the while that it would be hard to pick it up again. (I didn't really like the last one much, due to the aforementioned zombies.) I was pleasantly surprised to find I was eager to finish it, and I really enjoyed the plot this time around. One word: eBay. I do wish Thomas wasn't left shrouded in mystery, however.

51) Black Powder War, by Naomi Novik. I found this Temeraire book to be much more interesting than the last. There's more action, and also a better look at how dragons fit into military strategy, successfully and not. I love the imagery at the end.

52) The Queen's Fool, by Philippa Gregory. ...No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Sorry, couldn't resist. Ahem. It seems to me that Gregory enjoys taking often vilified historical figures and making them more sympathetic, and vice versa with more popular personas. I found her Mary and Elizabeth very interesting indeed, and quite liked Hannah as narrator, the fool caught between sisters and simply trying to survive. It's impossible not to pull for her from page one.

53) Thud! by Terry Pratchett. I actually really liked this book. Having resisted it for quite awhile based on what I'd heard, I was pleasantly surprised. It's... not very subtle, but who cares? Vimes is Vimes, and that's good enough for me.

54) White Night, by Jim Butcher. Started slow, then finished with a bang. There's some nice character development in this one, and I like how Butcher has wrapped up certain mysteries while leaving himself enough to work with for a few more books, at least. Insert annoyed reference to the writers of Lost here. And now the wait for the next Harry Dresden book. I got used to always having one waiting in the wings.

55) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. Something about this book gets under your skin and refuses to let go until you've finished. It's not a terribly original story, vampire boy meets girl and they fall in love, but there's an addictive quality to it. I suspect this has to do with Edward, who I like a great deal more than Bella. The book is over, and I still want to know more about him -- much like Bella, which is perhaps the point.

56) First Among Sequels, by Jasper Fforde. The meta almost hurts. I was a little disappointed in this Thursday Next, if only because there seemed to be a lack of plot until halfway through the book, and I kept waiting for some of my favorite characters to put in an appearance. But the exposition is interesting and helps later, and Friday is made of win. The cliffhanger caught me off guard! And did I mention the Harry Potter and fanfiction references? It's so hard not to love the man.

57) Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett. I can't. Stop. Giggling. That says it all, really.

58) I, Lucifer, by Glen Duncan. God offers Lucifer reentry into Heaven, if he can live out a human life. Not a comfortable read, as you can imagine. It's seductive and repulsive, beautiful and ugly, as is befitting the subject matter. What I found most compelling and disturbing is what's revealed about humanity through Lucifer's eyes.

59) The Boleyn Inheritance, by Philippa Gregory. A rather depressing (but really, how could it not be) look at Anne of Cleves, Jane Rochford and Katherine Howard. I found the constant switching of narrators mildly exhausting, but I like how she has taken Henry from pride of England and Defender of the Faith to psychotic, self-obsessed tyrant.

60) New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer. Dear God in heaven, the angst. It will swallow Bella whole, and take Jacob and everyone else along for the ride. *quietly reaches for the third book*

61) Eclipse, by Stephenie Meyer. Thankfully, there is more action to balance out the angst in this book. More plot. I liked it, but I still want to smack Bella. A lot. And while I still like Edward well enough, I spent the entire book rooting for Jacob. Whichever way she decides to end this, it's going to be messy.

62) A Really Cute Corpse, by Joan Hess. This is a short, witty mystery reminiscent of Miss Congeniality. I like Claire's dry sense of humor. [livejournal.com profile] bookwench31 ordered me to read it, and I know better than to argue with the librarian. Plus, it only cost $3.99. I haven't found a book under five dollars in ages.

63) Bitten, by Kelley Armstrong. Recommended to me by [livejournal.com profile] r_becca, this is an intriguing and gritty look at werewolves. Specifically, a female werewolf. I love that Armstrong deviated from genre norms: silver bullets don't work, but more importantly, these wolves don't seamlessly fit into human society and aren't... prettied up.

64) Many Bloody Returns, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. Okay, I admit I got this because of the Harry Dresden short story, but I wound up reading the whole anthology. Apparently my supernatural kick isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Most of the stories were highly entertaining, ranging from funny to bittersweet. Even though birthdays and vampires are the unifying themes, there are few similarities and I certainly didn't get bored. Harry still wins, however.

65) Empire of Ivory, by Naomi Novik. Augh! Hello, cliffhanger! She can't leave it there! My heart hurts for them, because wow... what a choice to have to make. Despite my issues with the ending, I think this might be my favorite in the series since the first book.

67) Dead until Dark, by Charlaine Harris. I really enjoy the idea of vampires living openly among humans, and all the problems that would entail. However, I wish I liked Sookie, the main character, more than I do. She's a little too annoyingly wide-eyed. But I can see how that is likely to change, so perhaps I'll give the rest of the series another chance at some point.

68) War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull. I do so love a good urban fantasy. If you can get past the detailed descriptions of 80s fashions, trends and music, this is a great read about a faerie war spilling over into mortal lives. It's smart, evocative and intriguing, with strong characters.

69) Assassination Vacation, by Sarah Vowell. If you like your American political history full of quirky facts and witticisms, this is the book for you. Vowell, regular NPR contributor and staunch Democrat, takes the reader on an entertaining, informative and poignant road trip through the lives, politics and assassinations of three Republican presidents. The Lincoln section is my favorite, hands down, but she draws some very interesting parallels between the McKinley administration and that of our current Commander in Chief.

70) Larklight, by Philip Reeve. I have no words. Victorians in space! Shelob in space! This book is preposterous, bizarre and more than a little insane, and I kind of love it.

71) The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. I've been pig-headed about reading this book for a long time, but I was determined to do so before the movie came out. To my surprise, I rather enjoyed it. It's unsettling, and I'm not sure how I feel about the Church=all things bad message, especially as I know how the series ends. But there's something I like about Lyra's unimaginative brand of courage. She's stubborn, willful and strong, and does what she does for her own reasons.

72) Glass Houses, by Rachel Caine. The Morganville Vampires, book one. Now, I am clearly a fan of YA novels, but there's something offputting about how hard this one tries to reach out to the target audience. Apple must be paying her for the ridiculous number of times iPods are mentioned. I still like the concept, but I'm not sure that's enough to make me pick up the next book. Even if she did leave it on the type of cliffhanger that makes me want to headdesk.

73) Stolen, by Kelley Armstrong. There's something very fourth season Buffy and the Initiative about this book -- as is, to my great delight, pointed out in the text -- but done right. The plot is fairly predictable, but it's so entertaining that it's hard to mind. I'm tempted to jump ahead to the next Elena book.

74) The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman. Hmmm. I was having DT flashbacks, of a sort. I like Will a lot. I'm just not crazy about where the story is going.

75) The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue. Told from the alternating perspectives of a changeling and the child whose life he stole, this book examines that connection and human nature. I found it interesting and well written, and I like the integrity of the ending. But most importantly, I hit my goal! Yay!

76) Blood Brothers, by Nora Roberts. I celebrated reaching my goal by reading fluff. Supernatural fluff, but fluff nonetheless. The problem is, I didn't enjoy the fluff. Woe.

77) The Secret History, by Donna Tartt. A clever Gothic tale of murder with twists that are rarely unexpected but always well-crafted, this book makes a definite impression. I enjoyed it. I want to love it more than I do. It's a cold and distant account, but I think a lot of that stems from the fact that Richard is essentially an observer, no matter how much he considers himself, at times, part of the proceedings. To me, the second-half is infinitely better, if only because I could never quite figure out why anyone would be friends with Bunny anyway. But then again, the characters have odd definitions of love.

Date: 2007-05-24 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] violya.livejournal.com
I though I had made myself quite busy, having 15 books on my list, but I must say you beat me in books read since January...
Howl's moving castle is by the way probably my favourite children's book (if you can call it such). I must recommend her other books as well, if you haven't read them yet.

Keep up the good work!

//Violya

Date: 2007-05-24 10:27 pm (UTC)
lunamystic: (Middle Earth Bestseller)
From: [personal profile] lunamystic
*grins* Thanks. Her other books, especially the sequel, are definitely on my list. And 15 books is pretty darn good! I just have a lot of time on my hands.

Date: 2007-05-25 07:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] violya.livejournal.com
Yes, but I study literature...

The sequel is nice, but prepare for one you had not expected. If you do get some time over I would reccommend Kij Johnson's Fudoki. I think you would like it.

Date: 2007-12-05 08:28 pm (UTC)
wanderlustlover: (Naive - vadersangel)
From: [personal profile] wanderlustlover
Hello!

I’m here to request your snail mail address for sending you a Christmas Card. If could please either add you address to my request post here, or e-mail me at wanderlustlover@gmail.com.

Date: 2007-12-05 09:05 pm (UTC)
lunamystic: (Fantastic)
From: [personal profile] lunamystic
Added! *beams*

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