Author Topic: What are you reading, part 3  (Read 103471 times)

Nessa

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1785 on: June 19, 2011, 03:23:59 PM »
Just finished the comedic Will Power by AJ Hartley, and it was pretty good--it was written by a college professor of Shakespeare, and it definitely has those undertones. Now I'm reading an oldie but a goodie The Story of the Stone by Barry Hughart. And what do I find in the front cover of the library copy? A 'donated in the name of Marion K. Smith' tag. I teared up. Doc Smith was the adviser/advocate/bulldog for The Leading Edge while I was there, up until he passed away. Ahhh memories.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1786 on: June 20, 2011, 12:25:30 AM »
Nessa, did you read Act of Will before Will Power? I haven't been more disappointed in a book in recent memory.

A lot of those "donated in the name" books came from the Quark library. Ethan donated them without our permission. (We would have given it but he didn't ask.)
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Nessa

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1787 on: June 20, 2011, 03:41:19 PM »
Nessa, did you read Act of Will before Will Power? I haven't been more disappointed in a book in recent memory.

I did not. What about it disappointed you? The thing about humor pieces is that it's hard to be strict about plot/style/worldbuilding.

A lot of those "donated in the name" books came from the Quark library. Ethan donated them without our permission. (We would have given it but he didn't ask.)
I knew that TLE had a 'library'. He probably donated when the library was just opening, I'm guessing. They have a decent science fiction section a the Provo library, better than other libraries, at any rate.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1788 on: June 20, 2011, 05:00:39 PM »
I loved the first 20 pages of Act of Will (it comes before Will Power, so I'd have thought you'd read it first). The setup was great, the voice was great, the humor was great, the conceit of it being a translation of a strange-language manuscript found in someone's attic was entertaining.

But then after that it just got so cliche. They spent 50 pages traveling in a very boring manner; Will was with a group of people who actually called themselves "adventurers" (that just felt straight out of D&D); Will spent hundreds of pages denying magic was happening in front of his eyes. And there was a meaningful death at the end, but then the guy managed to recover; the magic was so ill defined (weapons with magic rocks in them, whoopee). I loved the voice but that wasn't nearly enough to carry me through the book, and I was left with no desire to read the second one.
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Nessa

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1789 on: June 21, 2011, 08:00:04 AM »
When I read Will Power it comes across to me as the kind of 'fantasy book for the masses'. It pokes fun at the high fantasy genre, and doesn't make the magic so in the reader's face that literary snobs won't necessarily put it down because it has magic in it.

If that makes any sense. It seems to me that's what he's trying to do. As a result the books will have a broader base than if he'd taken the magic and worldbuilding and etc seriously. Kind of like Wicked (McGuire), where the magic/worldbuilding is a second-thought kind of thing to the character interactions, and as a result it reaches a wider audience than 'regular' fantasy. Or am I mistaken?
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning."  -  Mark Twain

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fireflyz

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1790 on: June 21, 2011, 12:05:04 PM »
Finished the Night Shift by Stephen King.  Read Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Night Shift was good.  About 25 short stories with some really good ones like Children of the Corn.  There were a few that were so-so, but definitely good for aspiring novelists to read or anyone who is interested in the evolution of an author as a lot of these came right around the time he started being published.

Shades of Milk and Honey was interesting.  I saw Mary at a con, but didn't want to approach because I hadn't read any of her works yet and only knew of her through Writing Excuses.  I've always liked Pride and Prejudice, but if I'm being honest, Wuthering Heights is more my cup of tea.  I really enjoyed this book.  The prose was well done.  For the most part, short, concise sentences.  The magic (glamours) were well done.  The description was lacking in parts, but this actually worked in this book because it so closely mirrored Jane Austen that my mind immediately filled in the blanks.  Ever since I saw the movie version with Keira Knightley that's what I picutre when I read anything similar so that helped with this.  For a first time author (which I believe she was with this book) Mary was a good first read.  Unfortunately, many first time authors suffer occassionally from prose that pulls the reader out.  I didn't have that issue here.

My only real complaint is with the ending.  There was some very brief foreshadowing concerning one of the characters and there was a late mention of dueling by another character.  It wasn't nearly enough.  The book is almost completely about conversations and unspoken desires, but the ending is the classic Hollywood blow out in which the main character (always proper, always right no matter how much it hurts her) acts completely out of character.  The ending following this Hollywood confrontation is completely Deus ex Machina.  The tragedy is that I think this could have been easily avoided with more foreshadowing early on and perhaps more conversation and less physical confrontation at the end. 

The ending isn't terrible, it's just not up to par with the rest of the ending.  I was surprised by the romantic turn of events at the end and I thought she did a credible job with knocking one of the potential suitors out of the picture.  Unfortunately, this was a surprise more for the lack of foreshadowing than being a well set up change in direction.


All in all, a very enjoyable read and I can see why Mary has earned such attention for her work.  I would read her again because her prose is so readable.  So long as there isn't more Deus ex Machina, I think I've found another author to read.
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Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1791 on: June 21, 2011, 06:07:46 PM »
When I read Will Power it comes across to me as the kind of 'fantasy book for the masses'. It pokes fun at the high fantasy genre, and doesn't make the magic so in the reader's face that literary snobs won't necessarily put it down because it has magic in it.

If that makes any sense. It seems to me that's what he's trying to do. As a result the books will have a broader base than if he'd taken the magic and worldbuilding and etc seriously. Kind of like Wicked (McGuire), where the magic/worldbuilding is a second-thought kind of thing to the character interactions, and as a result it reaches a wider audience than 'regular' fantasy. Or am I mistaken?

Well, I suspected after reading it that perhaps I was not the intended audience. But I don't think the book is reaching its intended audience; the total number of Amazon reviews is a good indicator of a book's popularity (unless they are fake reviews), and judging by that these books have sold terribly.

Right now I'm reading the Dervish House. Karen gave up on it in the third chapter or so, but so far it's still interesting to me (Stanza says I'm 7% into it). Ian McDonald writes rather dense books; I've only read Brasyl before. I liked some things about it but am not sure I enjoyed the experience.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 06:10:06 PM by Peter Ahlstrom »
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

mtbikemom

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1792 on: June 26, 2011, 01:54:52 AM »
Read Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal.
  I would read her again because her prose is so readable. 

If you liked Shades even a little, you will LOVE Carol Berg.  See Mrs. Nessa's review here: http://elitistbookreviews.blogspot.com/2011/05/soul-mirror.html   So glad she gets Mrs. Berg.  There is no more careful and precise writer in all of speculative fiction in my opinion.  Her prose is nearly perfect and the stories are getting better and better.

Leviathan Wakes (Corey/Abraham/Franck) got really gory on me!  But it ended well and the character development was all that one expects from Abraham.  Good stuff.  The Dragon's Path was likewise very satisfying.  Unforgettable characters, interesting world building and just the right amount of description for my taste.  Daniel Abraham rocks!

dhalagirl

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1793 on: June 26, 2011, 05:22:41 AM »
Bloodlines was predictable.  It's not as good as her previous works.

I started reading Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton and it's super awesome so far.

Silk

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1794 on: June 26, 2011, 07:15:23 AM »
A verdict on From The Notebooks of Dr. Brain: Absolutely brilliant in number of ways,  disappointing in others; worth the read over all.

Also read Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey (awesome), Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass (pretty good, though mostly a romp) and am now onto Blackout by Connie Willis. Having fun on that one so far.

WriterDan

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1795 on: June 28, 2011, 08:03:56 AM »
Leviathan Wakes (Corey/Abraham/Franck) got really gory on me!  But it ended well and the character development was all that one expects from Abraham.  Good stuff.  The Dragon's Path was likewise very satisfying.  Unforgettable characters, interesting world building and just the right amount of description for my taste.  Daniel Abraham rocks!

Yup.   Yup.   Yup.   Yup.   Yup.   Aaand yup.  :D

Bitter Seeds was pretty disappointing.  Reading Sword of Fire and Sea right now, and it's mostly just a jumbled mass of confusion and running around.  At least it's short.
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Sigyn

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1796 on: June 28, 2011, 06:34:39 PM »
If you liked Shades even a little, you will LOVE Carol Berg.

So I tried Carol Berg once and didn't really care for her. Is her newer stuff better?  Because I LOVE Shades of Milk and Honey.
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Nessa

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1797 on: June 28, 2011, 07:36:13 PM »
If you liked Shades even a little, you will LOVE Carol Berg.

So I tried Carol Berg once and didn't really care for her. Is her newer stuff better?  Because I LOVE Shades of Milk and Honey.

Carol's newer stuff is pretty good. Her new Collega Magica series is like mystery/fantasy/gothic. The pace is slower so it takes time to get into, but the payoff is worth it.
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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1798 on: June 30, 2011, 05:31:43 AM »
Reading Connie Willis's Blackout.

Nessa

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Re: What are you reading, part 3
« Reply #1799 on: June 30, 2011, 06:01:00 AM »
Just finished Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Whoooaboy. If you like Urban Fantasy this is for you. Fun, hilarious, clever. I really enjoyed it.

Now I'm on Midsummer Night by Fredda Warrington. I'm about 100 pages in and so far it's ok, but I haven't seen much magic yet...
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning."  -  Mark Twain

Check out my book reviews at http://elitistbookreviews.blogspot.com/