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review 2020-04-17 20:48
The October Man ★★★☆☆
The October Man - Ben Aaronovitch

Although an interesting diversion in the Rivers of London series, this story suffers from the lack of any Peter Grant at all. I liked his German counterpart, but he just didn't have Peter's sass. 

 

Sam Peter Jackson's narration was excellent, but this might have been better for me in the text version rather than audio. I am unused to hearing German-accented English, so I had to listen more carefully than usual, and my unfamiliarity with German names, geography, and cultural references made me want to stop and linger over the words and look up the places and references. Which, from an audio format, I didn't even know how to spell for a simple Google search. 

 

It got me thinking about how Anglo-centric my reading is. I've tried to broaden my book selections (via Book Riot's We Need Diverse Books campaign) over the last few years, but nearly everything I read is set in primarily English and Spanish speaking countries written by authors from those places. I really need to start seeking out modern/current literature from the rest of the world. 

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text 2020-04-16 15:54
The October Man - 33%
The October Man - Ben Aaronovitch

Although I'm enjoying this quick look at Peter Grant's counterpart in Germany, I am struggling a little with it, because I'm not as accustomed listening to German-accented English on audio, nor am I familiar enough with the language to really catch and understand the place-names and references, as I would with Spanish. I think it would be a little easier for me if I were reading the text instead of listening to the audio, so I could stop and linger over the words, or even take the time to do a little Googling. 

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text 2019-11-02 01:42
October Books

I read 40 books this month with an average score of 3.69. 9 were graphic novels and 25 were YA. My most-read genres were fantasy, romance, and contemporary. Fantasy absolutely dominated my books this month. Over half of my books were fantasy.

 

My favorite books were Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death - Terry Moore and Not Even Bones  - Rebecca SchaefferRachel Rising was a reread as I plan on finally finishing the series by first rereading the books I did read and then continuing all the way through. Not Even Bones was a dark story with a main character who loved performing dissections on the bodies her mother brought her. I don't think there was a truly good character in the book, and I loved every moment of it. I can't wait to read the sequel.

 

My least favorite book was The Third Wife - Lisa Jewell. I just didn't like the characters at all.

 

 

5 Stars

Rachel Rising: The Shadow of Death - Terry Moore Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style - Benjamin Dreyer Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters) - Rebecca Schaeffer 

 

4.5 Stars

InSEXts Volume 1: Chrysalis - Marguerite Bennett,Mike Marts  Stepsister - Jennifer Donnelly  The Faerie War - Rachel Morgan  The Faerie Prince - Rachel Morgan  A Dream So Dark - L. L. McKinney  

 

4 Stars

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories - Moto Hagio,Matt Thorn The Stars and the Blackness Between Them - Junauda Petrus  The Wize Wize Beasts of the Wizarding Wizdoms - Nagabe,Adrienne Beck  In The Hall With The Knife - Diana Peterfreund The Faerie Guardian - Rachel Morgan 

Lock Every Door - Riley Sager  Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella Bloom - Kevin Panetta,Savanna Ganucheau Out of Salem - Hal Schrieve  The Secret of a Heart Note - Stacey Covington-Lee  Find Me - Tahereh Mafi 

Missing, Presumed Dead - Emma Berquist A Little Light Mischief: A Turner Novella - Cat Sebastian 

 

3.5 Stars

Part of Your World - Liz Braswell  Again, But Better - Christine Riccio  Things I'm Seeing Without You - Peter Bognanni  No Judgments - Meg Cabot  The Demon World - Sally Green  Ink and Bone - Rachel Caine  Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy - Serena Valentino  

 

3 Stars

Frankly in Love - David Yoon Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee, Volume 1 - Hiroyuki Asada Avatar: The Last Airbender - Team Avatar Tales - Ron Koertge,Michael Heisler,Carla Speed McNeil,Gene Luen Yang,Lark Pien,Faith Erin Hicks,Cris Peter,Jenn Manley Lee,Ryan Hill,Dave Scheidt,Sara Goetter,Natalie Riess,Little Corvus,Kiku Hughes,Coni Yovaniniz  The Near Witch - Victoria Schwab  Catwoman, Vol. 1: Copycats - Laura Allred,Joëlle Jones,Fernando Blanco We Hunt the Flame - Hafsah Faizal 

Romanov - Nadine Brandes Losing Brave - Bailee Madison,Stefne Miller  Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris  

 

2.5 Stars

Batman: Damned - Brian Azzarello,Lee Bermejo 

 

2 Stars

The Third Wife - Lisa Jewell Sophia, Princess Among Beasts - James Patterson,Emily Raymond 

 

 

 

 

Books by author gender:

  • Male: 9
  • Female: 28
  • Nonbinary: 1
  • Male/Female Mix: 2

 

Books by format:

  • Physical: 18
  • Audio: 22

 

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review 2019-11-01 21:47
Assassin's Apprentice / Robin Hobb
Assassin's Apprentice - Robin Hobb

Fitz is a royal bastard, cast out into the world with only his magical link with animals for solace and companionship.
But when Fitz is adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a new life: weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly. Meanwhile, raiders ravage the coasts, leaving the people Forged and soulless. As Fitz grows towards manhood, he will have to face his first terrifying mission, a task that poses as much a risk to himself as it does to his target: Fitz is a threat to the throne… but he may also be the key to the future of the kingdom.

 

What a pleasure to read something so engaging and well written after a few less-than-stellar choices! Fantasy is my favourite genre and Robin Hobb writes just what I like to read. In some ways, this tale is absolutely stereotypical--an orphan boy, a mysterious background but likely with royal connections, and special talents that he discovers as he grows. In those ways, it is reminiscent of The Dragonbone Chair or Magician: Apprentice. With Fitz’s ability to bond to animals, I was also reminded of Anne McCaffray’s Pern.

It is Hobb’s skill that makes this novel such a pleasure to read. She describes things well without going overboard. Her sentences flow, allowing me to immerse myself in the world without being overly aware of the words. Her characters perform actions and make assumptions that seem sensible to me. The dialog is natural and the world, although obviously fictional, seems normal despite things that we might call psychic talents. Fitz may get a bit sulky from time to time, but he realizes it quickly and readjusts (unlike Simon in The Dragonbone Chair, who is rather a whiner).

There are a lot of books written about assassins: Grave MercyJhereg, and Spider's Bite are just a few examples. But Fitz is the first fictional assassin with whom I have felt connected--I could sense his loneliness and the desire for true human contact. I’ve planned to read the second book in the series before the end of the year, but I am now really looking forward to it!

Book number 329 in my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2019-11-01 20:41
Tournament of Hearts / Dustin Bilyk
Tournament of Hearts (The Librarian Gladiator, #1) - Dustin Bilyk

Hamelin, a town separated from the rest of the world, has a deadly problem. Fierce, flying beasts ravage the countryside and cull the sparse human population, forcing the majority of Hamelin’s citizens to live within the safety of her boundaries for fear of being snatched away and torn into pieces. With no help in sight, the Town Council look to their gods for salvation and unearth a chilling answer to their problems.

The Tournament of Hearts – a much-celebrated, barbaric event that pits four gladiators against each other in deadly combat. Winning The Tournament brings rich rewards, fame and glory for one’s bloodline. Losing, however, results in a deadly trip to the Sacrificial Altar for you and all of those who share your blood: man, woman and child. The sacrifice is said to be a blood offering to the gods in payment for reprieve – a necessary evil for the greater good of all.

Neven Fairchild, adolescent town historian and librarian, is chosen by random draw to fight for the survival of his bloodline. Utterly inept at doing much other than reading and writing his histories, Neven must find the courage deep within himself to defeat his stronger opponents, for he discovers that much more than the lives of those he loves hangs in the balance. An evil lurks, waiting for its moment to deliver the death blow, and Neven is all that stands in its way, whether he likes it or not.

 

 

I read this book to fill the Paint It Black square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.

I’m a former library worker and I’m a sucker for books about libraries and librarians. I bought this book a while ago, because the main character is a librarian of sorts. It’s the second book I’ve read this year where the author has obviously decided to juxtapose “Librarian” with something unlikely. In this case, librarian gladiator. (See also The Hunted, where it is librarian-assassin). Strangely, both of these books were written by fellow Canadians. I hadn’t realized that this author was a Canuck until I hit about one third of the way through, and one of his characters “hucked” a bottle into a bush. That’s such a prairie Canadian verb! It is something I’ve never heard outside the prairies, but we used it all the time in school--”Huck this in the garbage” for example.

It is obvious that the author has read a fair amount of fantasy literature and he knows how these things need to be structured. His ideas were basically sound, he came up with good villains (kind of a cross between a human and a pterodactyl), he created his band of buddies. However, I had a really difficult time finishing the book because of the quality of the writing itself. There were a lot of really long sentences, sometimes a bit confusing. There were awkward sentence structures. Stephen King may say that the road to hell is paved with adverbs, but adjectives can fulfill that role too. There were way, way too many adjectives, often repetitive. How many times does the reader need to be reminded that a character is young, for example? There was a lot of unnecessary crude language (and I admit that this is just my thing). I can see using various swear words and crude expressions in dialog--it gives you a feeling for the character using it. But I found it unusual for the author to use it during description, which is unspoken by any character. Last but not least, there were a lot of words that seemed to be picked out of a thesaurus without the author actually realizing what they meant. He described one character’s sleep: “He tousled and turned,” rather than tossed and turned. He also writes: “...he could feel the veins on his head swelling beneath his frock of fine, black hair.” Now a frock is a dress, not a hair pattern, so this rubbed me the wrong way. Combine that with a confusion about whether to use “your” or “you’re” and this book drove my inner editor to drink.

In short, this author has potential, with decent ideas and knowledge of how to plot a novel. However, I would recommend a really good professional editor to help him improve his final product. It would be a shame if he quit writing, but he needs to level up.

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