This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is “Ten Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don’t Get”. Hold on to your hats, let’s see if I can even make ten…
- The Darkling, from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. All I hear is ‘wah, wah, wah, waaaaah’, sorry.
- Mal, from Shadow and Bone. Wait, you only like Alina when she’s helpless and dependent on you? Really? Why am I the only one seeing this?
- Dorian, from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I didn’t get the appeal of him in the first book, and I still don’t see him as a potential romantic match. Sorry not sorry!
- Gale Hawthorne, from The Hunter Games by Suzanne Collins. At least not after the second book or so, when he started getting all militant. He was a fine character but Peeta won hands down, for me. (Though if I’m on a team, it’s just plain ol’ Team Katniss Can Kiss Who She Likes).
- Draco Malfoy, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I never understand people shipping him with Harry or Hermione. Even if he’s not the worst, he’s a coward and a bully.
- Severus Snape, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Okay, I never got to his redemption stuff, but really? Snape?
- Simon, from The Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong. Okay, he wasn’t a bad character, but I hated the misdirected romance with him. Derek, darn it!
- Lancelot, from Arthurian Legends. This one is cheating because there are so many versions, and the one that inevitably jumps to mind is one that nobody is meant to like — Bernard Cornwell’s version. I don’t care! Lancelot’s whole character just doesn’t appeal, though one or two authors — Steinbeck, Guy Gavriel Kay — have had a light enough touch to make me sympathise.
- Lin Chung, from the Miss Fisher Mysteries by Kerry Greenwood. No, not really, I still love him. I just wish Phryne would sleep with someone else for once, it’s getting really out of character. As I type this I’m reading Death By Water, and she’s had at least three opportunities to flirt and hasn’t really taken them. Whyyyy!?
- Katsa, from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I got it a bit more the second time I read it, but I still don’t adore the character.
Okay, so I did hit ten. But mostly I seem to follow the crowd…
This week’s theme is Top Ten Books for if you’re in the mood for [x]. I’m gonna go with complex fantasy worlds!
- Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay. All kinds of stuff here — politics, magic, storytelling, music, love…
- The Bards of Bone Plain, Patricia A. McKillip. Gorgeous, and lots to bite into.
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth J. Dickinson. If you’re sick of fantasy stories in which queer people suffer, maybe not, but I love the fact that this makes being an accountant seem exciting.
- A Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan. Dragons! In a semi-historical-ish setting. Just read it; I love it.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke. I know it’s a hell of a read, but there’s a lot of rich detail, careful characterisation, as well as throwbacks to Victorian fiction.
- California Bones, Greg van Eekhout. Unusual magic system? Got it right here!
- Warbreaker, Brandon Sanderson. I’d say Elantris, but I’ve somehow started and not finished reading that twice now. Either of these books seems to have very intriguing settings, though.
- Sunshine, Robin McKinley. Want vampires, only actually weird? Magic? Alternate world post-apocalyptic stuff? Go!
- Assassin’s Apprentice, Robin Hobb. Okay, it’s the start of an epic series which shows no sign of closing, but come on. Here Fitz is endearingly young and things are not, yet, quite as dark as they will get…
- Magician, Raymond E. Feist. Makes this list from pure nostalgia, really — Arutha searching for the cure for Anita in Silverthorn was just, oh, the most romantic thing when I was a teen. Also a major major epic world, with a lot going on.
What would you add to my list? Gonna try anything I’ve included?
This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is about books you’ve enjoyed recently that weren’t in your typical genre. Well, I’m not sure I have a typical genre, so I’m going to go with books I didn’t think I was going to enjoy quite as much as I did!
- Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo. From what I’d read about the Russian-ish setting and so on, and the liking other people had for the Bad Boy Darkling, I was really prepared to dislike this. And then I read it in an hour. Oops.
- Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood. I tried to read it once before, and bounced off with many complaints about the writing. Then in the last year I had another go and… loved it and devoured all the books as fast as I could get my hands on them.
- Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie. Okay, everyone told me I’d love it, but after my partner wasn’t 100% sold on it, I was a bit doubtful.
- The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley. Same with this one. My partner didn’t even finish this one, I think.
- The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart. This was another reread job — the first time I read it, the misogyny really set my teeth on age. I appreciated it more the second time.
- The Mirror World of Melody Black, Gavin Extence. I was fully prepared for this to be a disappointment after how much I loved The Universe Versus Alex Woods, and especially after seeing some early reviews. They were all wrong. It was great.
- The Accident Season, Moira Fowley-Doyle. It just… didn’t seem like the kind of YA read that was gonna be my thing. And then I four-starred it.
- A Taste of Blood Wine, Freda Warrington. I expected silly indulgent vampires. I got a lusciously indulgent vampire story that didn’t dodge the issues, nor humanise the monsters.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs. This either looked too creepy or too young for me, but I ate it and the second book up.
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson. After the complaints about the queer tragedy and appropriation and such, I expected to be horrified. Instead, I loved it.
This week’s theme is all about music — and one of the suggestions is “10 songs I wish were books”. Well, let’s see…
- Suzanne Vega’s ‘Gypsy’. Please do not ever look for me, but with me you will stay / and you will hear yourself in song blowing by one day.
- Dar Williams’ ‘The Ocean’. I didn’t go back today, I wanted to show you / that I was more land than water / I went to pick flowers, I brought them to you / Look at me, look at them, with their salt up the stem.
- Danny Schmidt’s ‘Firestorm’. I used to flap my tongue like fists of flint against the granite fools / Until sparks blazed in my eyes, it’s true / But now I’m done with that, I haven’t / Torched the woods to kill one rabbit / Not for years, not until they came and fucked with you.
- Show of Hands’ ‘Haunt You’. I’ll haunt you / Sleep in fear / Whisper curses in your ear / I’ll course right through your heart of steel.
- Jon Boden’s ‘Beat the Bounds’. Sat behind the broken wheel / soft-top gone, nothing left to steal / broken shades upon her eyes / oblivious to cloudy skies.
- Fairport Convention’s ‘Matty Groves’. “A grave, a grave,” Lord Donald cried / “To put these lovers in / But bury my lady at the top / For she was of noble kin.”
- Heather Dale’s ‘Lady of the Lake’. And their touch was like a lover’s / Clear and sweet, drenching and unfolding / With no need for air or sunlight in the deep / And in the passions that they bared / In pledges won and secrets shared / They’d stand together in what destiny would bring / And crown a king.
- Heather Dale’s ‘Confession’. She’s given up the veil, the vows she’d sworn / Abandoned every effort to conform / Without a word to anyone she’s gone her way alone / A dove escaping back into the storm.
- Dar Williams’ ‘This Was Pompeii’. I am thinking about a teacup / Suspended and half-served / and all the scholars know is that it’s perfectly preserved.
- Thea Gilmore & Joan Baez’s ‘The Lower Road’. From the fruit on a poplar tree / To the bruise round a band of gold / From the blood in a far country / To the war of just growing old / We travel a lower road / And it’s lonely and it is cold.
I listen to folk music a lot, so there’s a whole wealth of songs which tell stories. And sometimes I’d like a glimpse deeper…
This week’s theme is a Valentine’s Day related freebie, so I’m going to put together a list of fictional romances I have loved! And probably no one will be surprised by my choices.
- Gawain and Dame Ragnell. Sarah Zettel’s Camelot’s Shadow is the only contemporary book I can think of that uses these two in the way I’d like. I love that, in the original(? oldest extant might be a better word) medieval version, it’s all about equality. Gawain gives Ragnell a choice about her own life, her own body. How can that not appeal?
- Roux and Vianne, from Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. I used to think of this book as a guilty pleasure, but having given that whole concept up, I have to cop to this one (and why not?). The undemanding connection between these two really works for me — and reminds me of a favourite song, Suzanne Vega’s ‘Gypsy’.
- Joscelin and Phèdre, from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart. I want a Joscelin of my own! Okay, they take some time getting there, but they come to an understanding and they are devoted to each other.
- Pilar and Loup, from Jacqueline Carey’s Santa Olivia. They’re just… adorable. Puppy love and all.
- Anluan and Catrin, from Juliet Marillier’s Heart’s Blood. A lovely Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I really believed in the way these two damaged people came together.
- Marco and Celia, from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. This book is just… gorgeous. I need to reread it.
- Lord Peter and Harriet, from Dorothy L. Sayers’ Strong Poison. Well, the whole series, of course. The patience he has with her, and the way they finally, finally get together… “If I should once give way to Peter, I should go up like straw.”
- Kate and Curran, from Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites. Again, the whole series. They’re just… such good banter and also passion and irritation and… yep.
- Phryne and Lin Chung, from Kerry Greenwood’s Away With the Fairies. I might wish for Phryne to flirt with someone else again, but I do enjoy the bond between these two.
- Simon and Baz, from Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. Okay, I haven’t even read it yet, but I’ve peeked, and eeeeh.
And of course, every Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart and Susanna Kearsley romance feels perfect as I read it — they just don’t tend to stick in my head separately the way these do.
This week’s theme from The Broke and Bookish is about past and future settings, so I decided to pick out ten historical/alternate history settings which I’ve loved. I’m pretty eclectic and a good story can get me interested in just about any period, so this might be a rather mixed list…
- Farthing, Jo Walton. This alternate history is set post-WWII, and asks, what if we compromised with Nazi Germany? What happens then? What societal creep, what slow insidious curtailing of freedom? It’s a heartbreaking trilogy, full of characters to love and hate, and I think Jo does a great job evoking that version of Britain.
- The Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood. I never thought of Australia as a setting I’d like to read about, but I am greatly enjoying this whole series, and the era. I have ghostwritten a book with a flapper heroine, so that might help with my fascination with Phryne and her Melbourne.
- Arthurian Britain, in all kinds of books. Or post-Arthurian, in the case of The Buried Giant. It’s quite a wide field, really; some people have a Romanised Arthur, some a very Saxon Arthur. There’s some great stuff which contextualises Arthur in various historical periods — Bernard Cornwell being a good example of an anti-Saxon, post-Roman Arthur.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke. The way the magic is integrated into the early nineteenth century and its history works perfectly for me. It’s a long book, but so rich in detail and care that I don’t mind a second of it.
- Voyage of the Basilisk, Marie Brennan. That whole series, really — and some other books featuring the exploits of women in that sort of period, like Mary Robinette Kowal’s Regency fantasies. Finding a bigger place for women in history? A+++.
- The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff. Whatever inaccuracies there might be in Sutcliff’s work, it feels right. I’ve always loved her Roman/post-Roman Britain books, and pretty much everything she writes has a fantastic sense of time and place. The Eagle of the Ninth I’ve always loved especially, because it takes a historical mystery and examines it, tries to explain it through fiction.
- The Bearkeeper’s Daughter, Gillian Bradshaw. Along with Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sailing to Sarantium and the sequel, this book opened my eyes to the possibility of historical fiction set in Constantinople. This wasn’t a period of history I knew well or thought much about, but now I’d happily pick up more books set there.
- Dissolution, C.J. Sansom. And other medieval/renaissance detective stories, like the Cadfael books, too. But this one felt especially rooted in the time period, shaped by the politics and issues of the time.
- Outlaw, Angus Donald. Okay, that book itself wasn’t one of my favourites, but that whole period dealing with Robin Hood? Like the Arthurian stories, I love it when writers choose to make Robin Hood feel as real as possible.
- Greek/Roman settings. That encompasses Rosemary Sutcliff’s work in some ways, and Jo Walton’s Thessaly books too. It’s just a great period of time with all kinds of things going on, where you can introduce mythic elements or figures that have become legendary now, at the same time as peopling the streets of Rome or Pompeii with ancient people.
So yeah, quite a mixed bag. Looking forward to seeing what other people have this week!
This week’s theme from The Broke and the Bookish is a freebie, so I took a while to think of a theme I liked… But you’ll be relieved (or not) to discover that I did eventually make my mind up: the theme for me this week is “top ten books I picked up at random that were a really good idea”. All of these books I just grabbed in a bookstore or library, without checking reviews or being recommended them. I’ve linked my reviews in cases where I’ve posted them here, though!
- A Taste of Blood Wine, Freda Warrington. I thought this might be a silly vampire story, but I was in the mood for that. I didn’t expect it to be as well written and absorbing as it was — nor to have LGBT+ characters, female scientists pre-WWII, and a rich mythic background.
- The Dragonbone Chair, Tad Williams. I actually bought this whole series in one go, plus his Otherland books, and enjoyed them all greatly. Time for a reread, soon!
- A Sorcerer’s Treason, Sarah Zettel. It’s been a while since I read this series, so I just remember picking it up in Borders and getting quite absorbed.
- Dead Harvest, Chris F. Holm. And that whole series, in fact. I really loved the pulp pastiche covers, and loving the story was a good bonus.
- The Invisible Library, Genevieve Cogman. Granted, I didn’t read it until rather later, but just the summary was enough to make me grab this one.
- The Gate to Women’s Country, Sheri S. Tepper. I liked this so much more than I expected. I’d been more or less anti-recommended Tepper’s work, and just picked this one up because it was in the SF Masterworks list.
- The Universe Versus Alex Woods, Gavin Extence. I picked this up in Belgium — I can’t remember if it was the time my ereader broke and I just had to get my hands on some books, any books, to fill the void. Anyway, I ended up loving it, but I hadn’t read anything about it beforehand and I was quite surprised by the depth of the subject matter.
- The Rose Garden, Susanna Kearsley. On the face of it, this didn’t even look like my thing. But I ended up giving it four stars, so not bad, right?
- On Basilisk Station, David Weber. I loved this — and my sister loved it even more. Yet I remember just being mildly curious when I picked it up at the library…
- Century Rain, Alastair Reynolds. Even if I hadn’t loved the book, it’d be worth the price of entry because it was the book that got my sister back into reading, after years of not being interested. And it’s still her favourite.
I really need to jot down ideas for freebie weeks in advance. Any suggestions, people?!
This week’s theme with Top Ten Tuesday is “Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR”, which is a pretty easy one to do — and possibly a little boring for regulars, if you see my Stacking the Shelves posts, since mostly I only count something as being on the TBR once I’ve acquired it. But it does give me a chance to review the list and see what’s coming up, and I’ll include a couple of wishlisted books.
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Recently Added to my TBR
- In the Labyrinth of Drakes, Marie Brennan. Technically that’s a lie — this one automatically goes on my TBR — but I recently added it to my wishlist, so we’re going to say it fits, okay? I’m so excited for more of Lady Trent’s adventures. And hey, if you know where to get an ARC… let me know.
- Kingfisher, Patricia McKillip. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. I’ve basically come to love everything by McKillip.
- Silver on the Road, Laura Anne Gilman. I’ve read some enthusiastic reviews of this book, and the cover looks great. And hey, look, I got it for Christmas.
- Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. I more or less just finished reading the Grisha books, so I’m excited to get round to reading this one.
- Scarlet, A.C. Gaughen. My friend Tom bought me this and Six of Crows, and I am generally excited to get to them! I blame Kaja @ Of Dragons and Hearts for my eagerness to read this one, I think?
- Darkwalker, E.L. Tettensor. I can’t remember quite who was doing positive reviews of this — looks like it was Pabkins @ Not Yet Read — but I wishlisted it and recently got it for Christmas from my friend Amy.
- Star-shot, Mary-Ann Constantine. Bought for me (again, for Christmas) by Robert @ Bastian’s Book Reviews, this is set in Cardiff, which really intrigues me. Must get to it soon!
- Vengeance Road, Erin Bowman. I’ve heard some good things, so I’m looking forward to this one. There seems to be a trend of YA Westerns and the Western influence in general. I enjoyed True Grit, so why not?
- A whole bunch more Phryne Fisher books. I almost have the whole series (so far) now! And I’m looking forward to it.
- The Imposter Queen, Sarah Fine. Looks like My Friends Are Fiction sold me on this one…
So what’s everyone else been adding to their TBRs recently? And since I’m thinking about it — what do you count as adding something to Mount TBR? Are you like me and only really count it once you’ve acquired it, or do you count your wishlist? I think I don’t count my wishlist because even without those books, it’s already at 1,200 books. Ish…
So many books, so little time. Why will no one pay me to read?
Looking forward to seeing other people’s posts for this Top Ten Tuesday theme!
I was a little worried I was going to get to this Top Ten Tuesday post and have some major books on here — like Ancillary Mercy — and have to ‘fess up failing to get to a load of ARCs and… Fortunately, I did keep up better than I feared. But there are still some books I should get round to! This week’s theme is…
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn’t
- Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. I only read the Grisha trilogy this year, and in the last two months of the year at that, so I’m not kicking myself too hard. But I would’ve liked to get round to this.
- Carry On, Rainbow Rowell. I wanted to read it as soon as it came out. Then I… I don’t know… got distracted?
- An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir. Someone even bought this for me. Why, self? Why?
- The Wrath and the Dawn, Renee Ahdieh. I got a copy of this within a month of release. And yet.
- Queen of Shadows, Sarah J. Maas. To be fair, I didn’t read the book before it, either.
- The Darkest Part of the Forest, Holly Black. I even had/have it out of the library!
- Illuminae, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. At least I didn’t have a copy of this one?
- Tower of Thorns, Juliet Marillier. Not helped by the fact that I didn’t get round to Dreamer’s Pool either.
- Armada, Ernest Cline. I’m, uh, partway through it? Maybe I’ll even have finished it by the time this post goes up!
- A Crown for Cold Silver, Alex Marshall. Haven’t got my hands on this one, yet! Though maybe now there’s a paperback…
Quite a mix, really. Maybe I’ll get to them this year — one can hope, right?
This week’s theme is, of course, about your Top Ten resolutions. I’m trying to keep mine bookish this year — let’s see how I do.
- Read 200 books bought pre-2016.
- Beat buying average from 2015.
- Listen to audiobooks instead of music when out walking.
- Write reviews immediately.
- Remember to read non-fiction when I’m anxious — curiosity is the antidote to anxiety.
- Don’t keep library books more than two months.
- Review ARCs before release date.
- Finish all series in progress.
- Don’t buy duplicate copies (e.g. a paperback when I have the ebook) until I know whether I like and want to keep the book.
- Put a book on Bookmooch or the donation pile if I’m not likely to reread it within five years.
That’s not a bad list! What’s everyone else resolving?