jain: (watchmaker of filigree street)
( Feb. 1st, 2017 08:27 pm)
What I just finished

The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster. The cover for this novella is fantastic: a young black woman stands on a storm-tossed deck, clutching an amulet, while a Viking ship encroaches in the background. The novella itself, however, has a bland writing style, a thin plot, and terrible plotting. Its one good point is that the characters are fairly interesting, but that's not enough to redeem the story.

Wight Mischief by J. L. Merrow. Ridiculously over-the-top contemporary m/m romance whose characters are forced to hold the idiot ball way too often. Not recommended.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson. I liked this book but didn't love it, though the breakdown of its strengths and flaws is such that I'm really looking forward to reading more from Wilson. The characters are vivid and believable and the worldbuilding fascinating. The prose is rich and dense (though occasionally too overwrought for my taste). I didn't even mind the somewhat insubstantial plot--focused on a single caravan journey, with a few flashbacks to the earlier life of one of the hired guards--because the worldbuilding and the interpersonal relationships are the real stars of the story. That said, the pacing is quite bad; the story's terribly slow to get started, the flashbacks are dropped in willy-nilly, and the conclusion is way too abrupt and insufficiently supported by the rest of the story. Still, I'm very glad I read it. Possible Yuletide fandom.


What I'm reading now

Chaos Station by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen and a reread of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.


What I'm reading next

A Taste of Honey is still near the top of my TBR list. I just need a bit of a break after the heaviness of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.
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jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
( Jan. 18th, 2017 11:00 pm)
What I just finished

The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher. Great retelling of "The Snow Queen" that gives the fairy tale some interesting new twists while preserving the heart of the story. The descriptions of snow and ice are particularly well done and a pleasure to read at this time of year. Also contains lesbians, as all Snow Queen retellings should. :-) Possible Yuletide fandom.

"Zapped" by Sherwood Smith. I know Smith can write a good story, but this novelette is a hot mess. The science fictional subplot involving teens with unusual powers raises way more questions than it answers and doesn't really go anywhere; the sexuality subplot is anvilicious; the story talks down to its teen audience; and the ending is unsatisfying. If it were five times longer and comprehensively re-edited, then it might be worth reading, but as it is, no.

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell. A supermarket chain is trying to expand into a small English town, and the community is divided in their response. Yet this debate is only the public face of a high-stakes struggle between good and evil. Excellent characterizations and very neat plotting elevate a moderately interesting premise into a great story.

Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal. The ending's a lot more open-ended than I typically prefer, and yet I really enjoyed this one. The biggest draw for me is the worldbuilding. In a hyper-connected future, the protagonist finds herself unexpectedly cut off from the cloud while traveling, and Kowal does a really nice job of imagining the various subtle and not-so-subtle responses the protagonist would have to her unprecedented experience.

The actual plot...is weird and a bit dreamlike and very ambiguous. I'll have to reread this one someday, though I don't know if rereading it will make me hate it or like it even more.


What I'm reading now

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson


What I'm reading next

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
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jain: Dragon (Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles) reading a book and eating chocolate mousse. (domestic dragon)
( Jan. 11th, 2017 09:43 pm)
What I just finished

A ridiculous amount of m/m romance. In the past week, I've read seven novels, four novellas, and one short story. I don't know; it just kind of...happened. In rough order from best to worst, and cut for length:

Joanna Chambers, K. J. Charles, J. L. Merrow, Alex Beecroft, Ava March )

What I'm reading now

It's a secret. :-)


What I'm reading next

Hugo nominations are due in a little over two months, and my current ballot contains exactly one novel, one novella, and one novelette. (At least I'm good on short stories.) So very soon I need to start reading SFF published in 2016, and lots of it. If anyone has novella or novelette recs to share, I'd be appreciative.
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jain: Chae Yeon leaning forward and smiling. Text: "Jain" (Default)
( Jul. 25th, 2005 11:47 pm)
As seen in [livejournal.com profile] cluegirl's journal. Following her example, I've blocked out the names of characters who might give the answers away too easily.

Pick passages from five of your favorite books. The first book’s passage should come from the fifth page, the second from the tenth, the third from the fifteenth, the fourth from the twentieth, and the fifth from the twenty-fifth. Do not give the titles and see if your flist guesses the books.

Five Quotations )
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Reading The Boys and their Baby by Larry Wolff (which is a fun yet frivolous book; good for a bit of light reading, but not exactly memorable otherwise), I came across the following lines:

"Conrad, you haven't said anything at all about yourself, says Adam. And there is a moment's silence while Conrad does not reply. He has straight blond hair, carefully combed, and very pale eyes, icy gray; odd, pointed features, the expression neither kind nor happy; a stiffly ironed white shirt, contrasting with Gary's bright red Stanford sweatshirt."

The book was published in 1988, too, so there's no doubt that this is entirely due to coincidence.
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It occurs to me that part of what I love about Comfort and Joy by Jim Grimsley is that the main characters are Sirius and Remus. Or, rather, Dan Crell is Remus, and Ford McKinney is a Sirius who hadn't rebelled against his family or met Remus until he was an adult--or possibly just never realized that Remus was a werewolf, if one can assume that part of the reason behind Sirius's rebellion is that he had an "impure" werewolf friend.

Which would be a gorgeous AU, actually, though v.v. complicated. If Remus's identity had remained a secret, then: 1) Peter couldn't betray the Marauders, or at least not in the same manner, 2) James, Sirius, and Peter wouldn't become animagi, hence no MWPP, 3) Snape wouldn't nearly be killed... And then Sirius and Remus would have dinner together in London a year or two after leaving Hogwarts, and Remus would 'fess up to being a werewolf, and Sirius would attempt to reconcile himself to the situation, and it would all be most satisfying.
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jain: Chae Yeon leaning forward and smiling. Text: "Jain" (legolas)
( Aug. 28th, 2003 03:59 pm)
To anyone who's considered reading Say Uncle by Eric Shaw Quinn: don't. It aims for madcap comedy (with a heavy-handed touch of liberalism), and manages to be the least funny book I've ever read in my life. Also, Quinn really can't write children, and considering that the plot concerns a gay uncle trying to keep custody of his recently orphaned nephew...well, the results aren't pretty.
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jain: Chae Yeon leaning forward and smiling. Text: "Jain" (legolas)
( Aug. 19th, 2003 07:51 am)
I just finished reading The Charioteer, which, despite the name, is not set in the Classical world as with most of her novels, but in World War II England. I loved it, and I understood maybe three-fourths of it--and one part in particular is weighing on my mind. Can anyone who's read the book tell me spoilers )
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I'm reading Women in Love and hatehatehating it. It's the first novel of Lawrence's that I've ever read (though I did read "A Poem of Friendship," which I loved), so I don't know if it's typical of his work...but it's so awful and boring. The interactions between the men and women are pointlessly and unbelievably violent. Characters keep taking indefensible positions in absurd arguments that go on for pages. He's reused the words "mock," "jeer," "strident," and "sing-song"--among others--to the point that I want to stab my eyes out every time they reappear. At least the relationships between Gudrun and Ursula, and between Birkin and Gerald, are very interesting, so I keep reading, but there's getting to be less of that and more of the male/female interactions as the book progresses. Also, I really don't find botany sexy, no matter how large and erect the stamens of the flower are.

And the looong list of lj match results. )
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