I was quite amused to see this post by the agents at the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management site about compulsive book buying and reading. ‘Cause yeah, I do love me the books.
As y’all know I’m on a book buying hiatus this month, and you’d just know that this is timed with the drop of at least FOUR new books I’m interested in picking up: new ones by katatomic, rachelcaine, AND mizkit, not to mention the shiny new Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, about which I’ve been seeing quite a bit of buzz.
So even though I’m not actually buying any new books this month, I’m still totally adding things to the To Read list. As of the last round of adds, I’ve now got 586 things on said list, most of which I own already and some of which are intended re-reads, like the Great Amelia Peabody Re-Read I’m in the middle of right now as we speak!
Which of course brings me to the question of how fast I’ll pass the 600 mark. I turn to you, Internets, for the answer!
Because apparently a lot of the news in my life just involves buying a boatload of books, it’s time again for What’s New on Anna’s To Read Shelves!
Picked up in ebook form to feed my hungry, hungry Nook (and eventually, I swear, I’ll get around to reading all these too):
Bellwether, by Connie Willis. SF. Because Fictionwise is having a sale on SF and Mystery this week!
The Reincarnationist, by M.J. Rose. Mystery. Also because of the sale. I actually already had a freebie ebook copy of this, but it’s an Adobe Digital Editions PDF and not terribly readable on my Nook. So I said screw it, and got a far more readable eReader version. (Also, because M.J. Rose is apparently following me on Twitter. Hi!)
Blown, The Alibi Club, and The Secret Agent, by Francine Mathews. Mystery/Suspense. Because I’d previously read a lot of her work both under this name and that of Stephanie Barron, and I enjoy her quite a bit.
A Hint of Wicked and A Touch of Scandal, by Jennifer Haymore. Historical romance. In no small part because the Smart Bitches spread the news this morning that she has been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and this is me supporting a fellow survivor by buying her work. It helps quite a bit that from what I saw in the descriptions, I should have fun with these!
Crocodile on the Sandbank, Curse of the Pharaohs, and Seeing a Large Cat, by Elizabeth Peters! Mystery. This is, of course, me starting to buy ebook forms of all my Amelia Peabodies. Which I will ALSO be keeping in print.
The Summer of You, by Kate Noble. Historical romance. Highly, highly recommended by the Smart Bitches.
Hell Fire, by Ann Aguirre. Urban fantasy. Because I dig her work quite a bit.
A River in the Sky, by Elizabeth Peters! Mystery. This is the very latest Amelia Peabody, which I will be getting around to as soon as I read (drum roll)…
Changes, by jimbutcher! Urban fantasy. Dresden Files. By which I mean AWESOME.
To go along with that last, I did of course also finally pick up Turn Coat, the previous Dresden, in print. Decided that even though the oversized paperback still annoys me, it will still serve well enough as an archival just-in-case-I-lose-all-my-ebooks copy. In the meantime, I’ll just be reading the ebook!
This, ladies and gentlemen, brings my grand total of acquired books for the year up to 119.
Let’s clear out the backlog of new ebook and print book purchases, shall we?
Picked up in print from the Norwescon dealers’ room:
The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, and The Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks. The former is a graphic novel adaptation of a section of the latter. I’d already listened to an audio copy of the latter but didn’t have a print copy, so picking one up was required!
Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith. This is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, basically setting up how the Bennett sisters became such infamous zombie slayers! Okay, yeah, I couldn’t resist.
Chicks Dig Time Lords, by assorted folks. This is the essay collection I wanted, billing itself as being all about Doctor Who, by the women who love it. Pretty much required reading for me!
The Mystery of Grace, by Charles de Lint. Urban fantasy. Because apparently I still need more Charles de Lint in my life!
And, yoinked in ebook form down from Barnes and Noble:
Dead Matter, by antonstrout. Book 3 of the Simon Canderous series. Urban fantasy.
Embers, by Laura Bickle. Urban fantasy. Bonus points for the heroine on the cover actually having a head!
Compromised and Revealed, by Kate Noble. Historical romance. Bought on the strength of the smartbitches review of the forthcoming The Summer of You, and which I will also be buying as soon as B&N has it on their ebook store.
Master of None, by Sonya Bateman. Urban fantasy. Heard some nice buzz about this one and have to frankly admit that I was drawn to it because the guy on the cover kind of looks like Sawyer on Lost. (Mmm, Sawyer!)
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks. SF/Horror/Humor. Bought in ebook form, and this time NOT as a replacement for the print copy, just because this book is that awesome.
This brings the total for 2010 up to 104. And it’ll be going up to 107 as soon as Barnes and Noble lets me buy jimbutcher‘s Changes, Ann Aguirre’s Hell Fire, and the aforementioned Kate Noble!
And as soon as I buy the brand new Amelia Peabody, A River in the Sky, it’ll be 108. There is, indeed, a new Amelia Peabody. Y’all may remember I have expressed some disappointment in Ms. Peters’ last few efforts, but this one? This involves the Ark of the Covenant. As an Indiana Jones fangirl, I think I’m morally obligated to check this one out. Plus, I did engage in the handy “Get a free sample” B&N ebook feature, and it started out strong enough that okay, yeah, I’ll be buying this too!
Meanwhile, spazzkat, solarbird, mamishka and I did a lovely doubleheader of this week’s Castle and the brand new Eleventh Doctor tonight. Picoreviews: speaking of Indy, as an Indy fangirl, I am now solidly in favor of Nathan Fillion playing Indy if they ever pry the part away from Harrison. He just looked too adorable in the fedora. ;) And, Eleven? Yeah. He’s a keeper. Brand new icons will be required. And I’ll be posting more in depth about the new Doctor tomorrow, I think!
Since chances of me buying more books at the forthcoming Norwescon are quite high, I thought I’d better get caught up right quick on the stuff I’ve bought before then! To wit:
Racing the Dark, by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Fantasy.
Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart. Fantasy.
Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. YA.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin. Fantasy. Lots of good buzz going around about this one.
Amber Beach, Jade Island, Pearl Cove, and Midnight in Ruby Bayou, all by Elizabeth Lowell. Re-buys of stuff I’d previously owned in paperback; these are Lowells I like well enough to keep, her original four Donovan brothers books. Romance/suspense.
I’d seen a lot of traffic about this book on the publishing blogs a while back, pretty much because her publisher had initially opted to put a white face on the cover–and her protagonist, Micah, is not a white girl. I wanted to show my support of putting brown faces on covers if indeed the characters they are depicting are brown people, and so I felt it appropriate to buy a copy of the book.
Not to mention it sounds like a fascinating story in general, and an exercise in the ultimate in Unreliable Narrators. I will of course be reviewing it when I read it, and I encourage y’all to think about checking it out too, especially if you’re interested in YA reading.
This same issue is why I want also to check out Racing the Dark by Alaya Johnson. She guest-posted on Justine’s blog about how her father had tried to advise her to not put a brown person on her book’s cover, and how she’d found that Borders exiled her fantasy novel to the African-American section, where, sadly, most fantasy readers are not likely to bother to look for it. Racing the Dark sounds to me also like a refreshingly different fantasy novel, just because it’s not the traditional pseudo-European setting you’re likely to get, and that alone makes me want to check it out.
Okay, so it’s a quiet Friday afternoon and work is quiet and I’m bored, so I turn to you, O Internet, for the answer to the following vital question:
I have a 15% Barnes and Noble member coupon! Since I can’t spend it on ebooks, what recently released print book should I spend it on?
Leave your answer in the comments! (And if your answer is seanan_mcguire‘s A Local Habitation, I already bought that! Same for Carrie Ryan’s The Dead-Tossed Waves, the sequel to her awesome book from last year, The Forest of Hands and Teeth.) If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, check my Goodreads shelves for more pointers on what I already own or plan to buy.
ETA Sunday 11:01pm: A couple of you have answered this since Friday, so just in case anybody else answers this, please be advised that I have already spent the coupon. ;) Don’t let that stop you from offering recommendations for my later reference, though! But as I’ve also mentioned a couple of times in the comments, right now I’m in a mood to read stuff that actually isn’t urban fantasy, since I’ve had way too much of that in my reading diet the last few years and I’d like to vary my intake for a bit. Thanks!
The second of Laurie R. King’s Kate Martinelli books, To Play the Fool, is a tightly written, thoughtful work, and was a nice re-introduction for me to the series. I’d previously read the third and then the first ones; going back to read the second filled in the blanks nicely on things that I’d missed. It’d been long enough since I’d read the previous books though that I’d forgotten much of the nuances of the series, but I recalled enough to find this perhaps the most enjoyable of the ones I’d read so far.
Much of the pleasure of this book lies with the individual Kate must investigate: a homeless wanderer known only as Brother Erasmus, a charismatic preacher revered by the street people of San Francisco and who is the primary suspect in her current murder case. She quickly learns that the man communicates only in literary quotations and by presenting himself as a Fool, which makes questioning him frustratingly difficult. Yet as she investigates him further, she finds that he has a tragic and moving past, which all comes together to make the man a vivid figure indeed.
Against this, Kate’s domestic situation is a wistful counterpoint. Her partner Lee is recovering from traumatic injuries suffered in the first novel, and she and Kate’s home life has undergone major upheavals as a result. Kate’s efforts to find ways to help Lee regain her confidence while dealing with her disability are quietly touching.
Overall, this was quite an enjoyable read. Four stars.
I’ve gotten onto a kick of replacing all my J.D. Robbs with ebook versions, since there are so many of those that that will clear a good chunk of my shelf space off. As a result, I’ve also been re-reading the series from the beginning, which has been pretty fun; look for forthcoming review posts. For bonus fun, since she just came out with a new one, Fictionwise had a big rebate going for her titles. Which naturally meant I had to pick up several!
Before I get back to that, though, I need to finish my run through Laurie King novels, which will culminate in my review of the ARC I just got of God of the Hive!
So, ebooks purchased recently:
Rapture in Death, Ceremony in Death, Vengeance in Death, Holiday in Death, Conspiracy in Death, Loyalty in Death, and Witness in Death, by J.D. Robb. Romance/mystery, ebook re-buys.
The Language of Bees, by Laurie R. King. Mystery.
And, since I picked up a couple of print books today after taking several J.D. Robbs to Third Place:
By modern standards, The War of the Worlds isn’t much of a plot: Martians come and take over the world, everybody goes OHNOEZ!, Martians conveniently are beaten not by any efforts of the protagonists, but rather by a deus ex machina (which I will not identify, on the off chance that someone reading this review might not actually know what that deus ex machina is). That said, this story is still totally worth reading just for it being one of the very first SF stories, and for the general style and atmosphere that Wells sets up with a Britain falling apart under siege.
I found it interesting that not only was the narrator never identified by name, in keeping with the style of the time, but neither were his wife, his cousin, or any other characters he encountered. Rather, people were identified by their careers and/or general functions in life. This fosters a nice sense of these people less as individuals and more as representatives of humanity falling to the Martians. It makes it a bit hard to keep track of who is who, though, especially when large chunks of the narrative shift over to the narrator’s brother (presumably with the conceit that his brother told him later what he’d done and seen).
Wells’ focus on Britain is pretty much to be expected, and I never got any real sense that the Martians were invading globally–especially when at the very end, you learn that other nations bestowed much aid upon poor beleagured Britain. It’s fun, too, to see what bits of actual science he gets right in his assumptions for how the Martians work as biological creatures and what is just made up right out of whole fantastical cloth. And while the narrative as a whole lacks in overall structure, look for the sequence towards the end, too, when the narrator and a curate are trapped underground on the rim of a Martian pit, which is decently suspenseful and creepy. Overall, three stars.
After getting four books in on the Connor Grey series, it’s both a refreshing and a disconcerting change of pace to jump over into the Laura Blackstones, the new series Del Franco is spinning off. This series is set in the same universe, but featuring a new protagonist, the druidess Laura Blackstone, a covert operative who operates under three, count ’em, three different identities at once for the Guild. And when an op she’s on under one of her covers goes horribly, horribly wrong, Laura has to investigate exactly what happened–and run the risk of losing not only that cover identity, but her actual life as well.
Familiar as I am with Del Franco’s style after four books of the Connor Greys, this one was a bit of a hard go at first. It’s clearly meant to be not only the first book of a new series, but also one geared to pull in readers not already familiar with the Connor Greys. If you are already familiar with them, then a good bit of the beginning is redundant exposition, and this for me was frustrating to slog through. Moreover–and this took me several chapters before I finally realized what was going on–Del Franco’s writing this series in third person rather than in first, perhaps to help give it its own voice distinct from the Connor books.
This is both effective and distancing. On the one hand, it does indeed make this feel more like a distinct series, but on the other hand, it makes Laura Blackstone feel less immediate to me as a character. I’m not sure how much of this is simply the third person writing, and how much of it is Del Franco’s comfort level with writing a female protagonist. But since there’s stuff to like here, including a suitably engaging story and chemistry full of promise between Laura and her love interest (who gets major points for being fey and neither vampire nor werewolf nor even Sidhe), I’ll be coming back for more when Book Two is available. Three stars.