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text 2020-01-02 22:17
Reading Summary for 2019
Excellent women - Barbara Pym
A Brightness Long Ago - Guy Gavriel Kay
A Song for Arbonne - Guy Gavriel Kay
Stillhouse Lake - Rachel Caine
The Queens of Innis Lear - Tessa Gratton
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
Sword and Pen - Rachel Caine
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer - Michelle McNamara,Patton Oswalt,Gillian Flynn
All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault: A Novel - James Alan Gardner

2019 was a good reading year. I read about 270 books (I’m pretty sure that a few of my re-reads didn’t make it into my calculations). Out of that total, 9 books earned over the 4 star rating for me. The vast majority of my choices ended up in 4 star territory, very satisfactory. Some of my favourites, which I re-read a lot, end up in the 4 star category simply because they are fun, but I’m aware that they aren’t great literature.

Longest book in 2019Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan.
Shortest book in 2019Saving Thunder the Great: the true story of a gerbil's escape from the Fort McMurray wildfire by Leanne Shirtliffe.
First book of the yearVery Good, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
Last book of the yearMagic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Best non-fiction book of 2019I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara. It’s a shame that the author didn’t live to see this case solved, but she wrote one hell of a book about her investigations.

When Words Collide conference: I attended this conference in August and discovered a new favourite author, James Alan Gardner. I would highly recommend the first two books in his Dark/Spark series: All Those Explosions Were Someone Else's Fault and They Promised Me the Gun Wasn't Loaded.

I read 41 books in my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project, falling a bit short of my goal of reading one book per week. Notable books include Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh, and Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb.

Favourite book in my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading projectA Game of Thrones. A dramatic and fully realized world, with strong characters and an uncompromising plot. I could feel the cold and smell the food, plus sympathize with people on both sides of the conflict. I can hardly wait to read the second book of the series.

Shakespeare Project: I saw 3 Shakespearean plays this year, including Antony and CleopatraCoriolanus, and Richard II. I have now seen over half of the Bard’s plays. Yay!

Best Psychological SuspenseStillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. Un-put-down-able. Do you get a second chance at life after discovering that your husband is a serial killer? I couldn’t help but root for this determined heroine in her quest to keep herself and her children safe. I also loved the sequel, Killman Creek.

Best Historical Fantasy: This was a tie between two books by the same author, Guy Gavriel Kay. A Song for Arbonne, set in a version of Renaissance Provence and A Brightness Long Ago, set in a fantasy version of Renaissance Italy. I’m gradually working my way through all of Kay’s books and none of them have rated lower that 4.5 stars for me.

Best Fantasy Retelling of a Shakespearean workThe Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. This was my first 5 star book of 2019 and I can totally see myself reading it again in the future. A luxurious dark fantasy with plenty of magic and mystery.

Best Young Adult novelSword and Pen by Rachel Caine. Fifth volume in The Great Library series and just as good as the previous volumes. This conclusion to the series reduced me to emotional tatters by the end and I cried a lot. Start with the first volume and enjoy them all.

Favourite Classic read this yearExcellent Women by Barbara Pym. A look at the life of a single woman and the pressures of society to be part of a couple. With wicked commentary on the usefulness (or lack thereof) of many men. I count myself in the number of Excellent Women.

Most Powerful Novel read in 2019Beloved by Toni Morrison. Gorgeous writing about a difficult subject. Well worth reading, although I found I had to read it slowly: Read a chapter and reflect.

Summer Reading Project: This year featured the Summer of Sherlock. I read 29 books for this project, including several of the originals by Arthur Conan Doyle and lots of Holmes pastiche. My favourite discovery was the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas.

Best Book Read for BookclubWe Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This one kept me thinking about it for days after I finished it. I think it provoked the most discussion among the book club members too.

Re-reads of 2019: I spent a fair amount of time re-reading several favourite series, including Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, and Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. All three of them are in my preferred genre, Urban Fantasy.

New Releases that I’m looking forward to in 2020Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews, A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn, Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire, The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman, False Value by Ben Aaronovitch, Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas, and A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire.

I’ll look forward to seeing how my friends’ 2019 reading year went and I wish you all the best 2020 possible! Happy New Year!
 

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review 2019-12-20 20:22
A Game of Thrones / George R.R. Martin
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

 

What a pleasure to read! GRRM writes fabulous fantasy. I can see why this was turned into a TV series--the world is so well realized. I could easily picture it in my mind’s eye. Yes, it’s a violent, dark world, but there are also moments of kindness and compassion. Martin’s female characters have to live within the bounds of this very medieval society that he has created, but they find creative ways to achieve agency and to become formidable in their own right.

The boundaries between good and evil are muddy in GoT. I found myself cheering for people on both sides of the battles. For example, I love both Catelyn and Tyrion. I also have to admit that I love any fantasy world that includes dire wolves and mammoths. I’m hoping that there will be more prehistoric animal action in upcoming books.

Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, but the Stark’s motto, Winter is Coming, really speaks to me. I could feel the chill of standing on the great North wall, looking out into the wilderness and wondering what was out there in the dark and the cold.

It has taken me a long time to start this series, but I look forward to continuing with it in 2020. I’m interested in every character introduced thus far--I realize that Martin is famous for killing off his characters, but I’ll take what I can get!

Book number 345 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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text 2019-06-04 03:44
BEA 2019, Pt 3- The Loot

Got some good stuff at this year's BEA.  My summer is fully booked. 

 

A Heart so Fierce & Broken 
 
Africaville 
 
American Dirt
 
 
Bluff
 
 
Cursed
 
 
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine...
 
 
How to be an AntiRacist
 
 
Imaginary Friend
 
 
Information Wars
 
 
Lalani of the Distant Sea
 
 
Little Weirds
 
 
Me & White Supremacy
 
 
Motherhood so White
 
 
Moving Forward
 
 
Oblivion or Glory
 
 
Princess of the Hither Isles
 
 
Secret Service
 
 
Serpent & Dove
 
 
Sophia, Princess among Beasts
 
 
The Dreaming Tree
 
 
The Flight Girls
 
 
The Nanny
 
 
The Passengers
 
 
The Science of Game of Thrones
 
 
The Storm Crow
 
 
The Water Dancer
 
 
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
 
 
A ASWanderers
 
 
Witcraft
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text 2019-05-01 16:27
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Remember the Future (The Chronicles of the Harekaiian #9) - Shanna Lauffey

Okay, I couldn't stop. I haven't been able to write the review yet though. I watched the latest episode of Game of Thrones yesterday as well as finishing this and between the two, I'm completely emotionally exhausted! Review in the next couple of days, promise.

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url 2019-04-30 06:41
Game of Thrones Begins: What B2B Marketers Should Learn From It?

 

Eight seasons, perfect comebacks, unexpected plots, love, bloodbaths, fiery
dragons, and power packed dialogues – is not just what the favorite ‘Game Of
Thrones’ is all about.

 

Apart from keeping the audience glued to the screen with witty one-liners and
cinematic pleasures, it also has a lot of lessons for B2B marketers out there. So
we thought of collating all of that into a single plate and serve you with the
most exceptional marketing lessons.

Source: www.bluemailmedia.com/blog/what-b2b-marketers-learn-from-game-of-thrones
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