meganbmoore: (too many books)
What did you recently finish reading?

I didn't make any notes about books as I finished them like I usually do, and some of these were read over a month ago, so my memory is hazy in some cases. I probably also forgot a few. All cozy mysteries and comics here.

Vicki Delany's Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen and Peg Cochran's Berried Secrets, which I am combining because I pretty much have the exact same thing to say about them. They're both the first books in mystery series (one set in a town that's Christmas themed all year round, the other is set on a cranberry farm) are were enjoyable but not overly memorable. I'll read future books in both series, but don't know what I'll remember from one book to the next.

Jenn McKinlay's at the Drop of a Hat and Copy Cap Murder, the 2nd and 3rd books in a more memorable series about two cousin who own and run a millinery shop, which may or may not be haunted by their grandmother's ghost. There's nothing about the mysteries themselves that stand out, but the characters are much more lively and memorable.

Amanda Carmack's Murder at Westminster Abbey, Murder in the Queen's Garden and Murder at Whitehall, the 3rd-4th books in an Elizabethan series about one of Elizabeth's musicians, Kate. I liked but did not love the first book, set in the last months of Mary Tudor's reign, but I got really into the series once it moved to court. The mysteries are heavily influenced by the politics and conspiracies of the time, but told primarily through the women at court and, sometimes, the lower and middle classes, with the men primarily serving as Kate's sidekicks. (This approach has made me not hate Robert Dudley in this series, a first for fictional depictions of him.) There is also a heavy focus on the Boleyn's and Elizabeth as a Boleyn, which is a nice change as I feel most Elizabethan fiction tends to treat it like the Boleyn's faded into the relative background after Anne Boleyn's death, or glossed over the fact that they're important because they're her mother's relatives. There's also a central love triangle in which I actually like both of Kate's suitors, which is unusual for me.

Greg weisman & Pepe Larraz's Kanan: the Last Padawan Vol 1, which is about Kanan from Star Wars Rebels and how he survived Order 66 and, well, became Kanan. It's a good look at things immediately after the prequel trilogy, and pretty much confirms my theories about how most clones dealt with Order 66. (They aren't happy theories.)

Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca's Darth Vader Vol 1-2, which is setting between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and has overlapping plot points with the current Star Wars comic. I've never particularly cared about Darth Vader outside of "good villain" and his metanarrative role re: Luke and Leia, and only like Anakin even a bit in The Clone Wars, but I really enjoyed these two volumes. I find Vader's evil replica of the OT heroes interesting, and it does a good job of developing Vader's reasons for his later actions.

The first 10 chapter's of minidura! by Narita Ryohgo, which is a gag series about chibi versions of various Durarara!! characters having adventures. I'm not sure exactly when in the timeline it's supposed to be set, but there aren't any spoilers after the first half of season 1. Pretty cute and funny.

What do you think you'll read next?

Manga, and whatever holds the library gets in for me.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I want to say I'll be better at doing this more regularly this year, but realistically, probably not.

What are you currently reading

Chronicles of the Grim Peddler by Lee Jeong-A. A fairy tale manhwa about a peddler ( and his shapechanging cat) who goes around setting up fairy tales. It's one of those series that thinks Disney really, really got it wrong when they started adapting fairy tales, and makes up for it by going as far in the other direction as it can, though sometimes they end up nicer and cuter while things are getting even more messed up. I mean, it doesn't reach the "OMG WHAT" levels of that one Kaori Yuki series, but I can't fault it for trying. I'm not invested because I'm only mildly interested in the peddler and a little more so in his cat, but am not attached to either, and there aren't any other regular characters. I like it, though.

What did you recently finish reading?

Maia Chance: Snow White Red-Handed & Cinderella Six Feet Under. The first two books in a fairy tale-themed mystery series. Ophelia and Prue are Victorian-era actresses who con their way (well, Ophelia does most of the conning) into become servants to a rich family when out of work and unable to pay their boat fare. It turns out that the family is a set of rather unpleasant fairy tale fanatics who think they've found Snow White's cottage, and hopefully a gold mine to go with it. Both book feature Prue getting targetted by the fairy tale fanatics because of her fairy tale princess looks, and Ophelia running around (with her obligatory rich English love interest) trying to solve murder and rescue Prue from whatever mess she's in at the time, while Prue just tries really really hard not to end up dead or in jail. It's certainly a little bit different for the "cozy mystery" genre, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Mark Waid & Terry Dodson: Princess Leia 1-5. This miniseries takes place literally as A New Hope ends, and focuses primarily on Leia dealing with losing Alderaan (something the movie itself spent one whole shout on), and her trying to save the remaining citizens of Alderaan who are scattered on other planets when Palpatine issues an extermination order, accompanied by Evaan, another woman from Alderaan who joined the Rebellion. I do feel that Waid touched on the idea of soceity expecting women to display certain emotions and only cope with grief a certain way, and then judge them when they don't, but he largely limited it to people labelling her an ice princess for not being visibly sad enough, instead of running with the theme. Like the other tie in books I've read the last few months dealing with the OT (specifically Moving Target and Shattered Empire) a lot of this seems to be rightly thinking that Leia really needed more women to interact with, and so it has her almost exclusively interact with other women. This probably displaced Shattered Empire as my favorite of the recent tie ins, but I do have plenty left to go.

Victoria Thompson: Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue. Book-whatever in Thompson's long running mystery series set in later 19th century New York. This book is best summed up as The Sidekicks Show, as the main characters are away. Maeve, teenaged nursemaid to Sarah Brandt's daughter and former conartist, decides to help a woman whose daughter may have been falsely accused of murdering her husband. Along the way she recruits Frank's sidekick/her own semi-love interest, Gino, and Sarah's parents to help, and decides that Frank is opening a detective agency when he gets back. At one point, Sarah's extremely proper and very busy businessman father ends up volunteering to play bodyguard for the teenaged nursemaid, and doesn't seem entirely certain how that happened. I mostly really loved this book. "Mostly" because sometimes hompson tends to have issues with making beautiful women who aren't Sarah or her mother be manipulative and unpleasant. It doesn't happen in all or even the majority of the books (I think this is the 4th time that it's been a plot point in almost 20 books), but has happened often enough that I sigh when the books start talking about another woman's incredibly beauty.

Nakamura Yoshiki: Skip Beat Vol 31-35

spoilers )

GoHands and GoRa: K: Countdown Chapters 1-8. A bunch of one shots about the K character set between Missing Kings and Return of Kings. I enjoyed the chapters about the various characters getting used to their current lives a lot more than the ones directly building up to Return of Kings.

Clamp: Gate 7 Vol 1-4. A very, very Clamp series about a slightly highstrung boy who is somehow SPECIAL running into warriors who are reincarnations of historical figures involved in the Battle of Sekigahara. No one has a jaw-droppingly angsty and dramatic past yet and no one has lost an eye, but the most Clamp aspect of the series is that it was put on indefitie hiatus just as things were really kicking into high gear. It's fun if you like Clamp (I do) but doesn't have a lot going on that sets it apart from other Clamp series. The most mindbendy thing it has going for it is that it has a charcter named Sakura who is a very tall and strapping and apparently promiscuous young man. Clamp has a lot of characters named Sakura, but all the others are sweet girls with short brown hair who satisfy Clamp's cosplay needs. It was quite jarring.

Django Wexler: The Forbidden Library & The Mad Apprentice. The First two books about a girl named Alice who goes to live with a relative after her father's death, only to learn that the relative-and now, she-is a magician. Which is a fairly standard setup, but in this case, the magicians have labyrinthine libraries, and go into books to make the monsters in them their familiars. There are also talking cats that are both petulant and snarky, and Alice have a Revenge Quest going over her father's death. Not the most amazing thing ever, but fun.

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of Chronicles of the Grim Peddler and Homefires by Julie Summers. I'm also waiting for the library to get more Star Wars comics in for me.
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams. The second book in a mystery series about a woman who own a resort/retreat for booklovers, and whose family is secretly the caretakers of rare, secret and banned books. This one has a romance novel convention (it's not called that, really, but that's what it is) in which the most popular author is murdered. I MOSTLY really like it. I say mostly because one of the suspects is a feminist (who has a hitory of being abused) who has many many thoughts and feelings about romance novels and feminism, and that's mostly used to portray her as OTT and irrational. It's offset by having the main character point out defenses for the stance, but it still rubs me the wrong way. Also, the book is not editted that well and has a LOT of typos. My favorite is when some is said to have "died of a heroine overdose."

What did you recently finish reading?
Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire 1-4 by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto. A mini-series set at the very end of and in the months after Return of the Jedi.
I guess even the main character's identity could be considered a spoiler for The Force Awakens?

spoilers )

Seanan McGuire: A Red-Rose Chain. The latest October Daye book, which was truly impressive in its ability to have each chapter make the protagonist's 10 times as screwed as they were in the last chapter. For people who haven't read this but intend to, I should warn that this one dives into some horror and torture territory, and briefly teeters on the edge of becoming a slasher. (Err..."slasher" as in "subcategory of horror genre," not shipping. Though there is some of that too.)

spoilers )
Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry: : Star Wars: Moving Target: A novella about Leia, set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It's bookended with scenes of Leia sometime not long before before The Force Awakens. Pretty much, after EOTS, Leia goes "Ok, collection of strapping sidekicks, go find my boyfriend! I have to help run this rebellion. Luke, please don't lose any more bodyparts. Lando, don't forget that Chewie has my permission to rip off your arm and beat you to death with it if you betray us again. Chewie, don't rip off anyone's arms unless it's necessary. I'm not too worried about you, you're the most responsible one of the bunch."

spoilers )
Norihiro Yagi: Claymore Vol 22-27. This marks the 3rd shounen series I've stuck with from beginning to end (the other two being Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Deeper Kyo). I remember when Viz released the first volume and I was figuratively shoving it in everyone's faces.

spoilers )

Sarah Prineas: Ash and Bramble. Sold as a twisted version of fairytales in which the amnesiac main character is one of many slaves of the Fairy godmother from fairy tales, forced to create all the clothes and slippers and items that populate fairy tales. This is a good description of the frist arc, but what the book ACTUALLY is is deconstructive meta about fairytales, perception of roles (and rejection of assigned roles) and stories and a pretty dark and messed up take on the idea of Story As Character. It's kind of Ever After High's concept taken to its worst extremes, in terms of how it affects characters. Becasuse of how its set up, characterization can be a bit inconsistent or absent at times, but it's a conscious narrative choice, as opposed to bad writing. I don't think it hit every note it thought it did. But it was a lot more than I was expecting, and a good read.

I read a bit of the Lando comic, but apparently Lando is like Han Solo where, while I quite like him with the rest of the cast, I'm not really interested in him when he's away from them and in full pre-reformed smarmy conartist mode. His Rebels appearances are as close to that as I'm interested in.

What do you think you'll read next?

More Star Wars stuff, probably, and I have a bunch of mysteries and YA/MG books checked out, so those. Not sure beyond that.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
I haven't done the Wednesday reading Meme in ages, but I'm going to try to get back in the habit of doing it at least semi regularly.

What are you currently reading
Carlene O'Neil: One Foot in the Grape: First book in a mystery series about a photojournalist who takes over her family's winery. Dramatic neighbors abound. I'm only just to the murder, but I'm enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?

Neil Gaiman: American Gods: I remember this being a huge thing when it came out, and may have been pretty into it if I'd read it then, but I mostly found this to be an interesting idea told in a way that I didn't find interesting, with characters that mostly bored me. I also found Gaiman's detached recounting of incredibly awful things happening to people-mostly to women and POC- to be offputting. I mean, it wasn't bad, it just didn't work for me, aside from a few parts.

Rick Riordan: Blood of Olympus: The last of Riordan's Heroes of Olympus books and, as far as I know, the last in the Percy Jackson series? I was surprised by how low the body count was, but certainly not disappointed, and was glad Raina finally got a lot of page time. Riordan seems to forget that Jason was supposed to be the nominal lead (or colead with Percy, I guess) of this series, and that's ok. I did enjoy this series a lot, possibly more than the first, sdespite never developing an attachment to Jason.

Lauri Robinson: The Bootlegger's Daughter: A romance novel set in the prohibition era. A federal agent goes to a bootlegger's resport undercover to find a mobster, and falls for the bootlegger's daughter, who actually runs the resort. Entertaining, but I was thrown off by how 2/3 of the book take place over 2 days. It seems most romance novels I've read in recent years take place over a short period of time. I remember when most historical romances took place over the span of months or even years.

Noelle Stevenson: Nimona: Nimona is a graphic novel that was originally a webcomic about a young shapeshifter named Nimona, who is assigned as sidekick to Lord Ballister Blackheart, the kingdom's Official Villain, as his sidekick. Ballister was a hero in training until he lost an arm at the hands of his friend, Ambrosius Goldenloin, in a joust. Ambrosius says it was TOTALLY AN ACCIDENT and Ballister says it was done in a jealous rage. Add to this that Ambrosius is the kingdom's main Romantic Hero, and they don't talk much now, except for occasions when Ambrosius tries to arrest Ballister. Ballister is the most moral person in the book and really against random killing. Nimona is really REALLY into being a future supervillain, and prone to turning into various animals that and eat or trample guards, much to Ballister's dismay. It starts with LOLarious hijinks with the honorable and moral villain and his tiny murdering sociopath sidekick trying to expose an evil plot by the organization that runs the kingdom. Then it escalates into illegal experimentation, and legends with darker undertones, and possibly conspiracy theorist lady scientists, and ex-lovers working out epic misunderstandings and drama and trauma and destruction all over the place. I mean, it's great, but boy does it escalate.

Victoria Jamieson: Roller Girl: Graphic novel about a 12 year old girl named Astrid who has always done everything with her best friend, Nicole. When Astrid decides to enroll in Roller Derby Camp for the summer, she assumes Nicole will come with her. Instead, Nicole enrolls in Ballet Camp, and befriends Astrid's nemesis, Rachel. So Astrid lies to her mother that Nicole is going with her, and that Nicole's mother will be picking her up from camp every day (she walks home instead). At camp, Astrid has enthusiasm (sometimes, so much work!) but not much in the way of talent. The book is mostly about a 12 year old growing up and figuring out that life doesn't always going the way you want, but that that isn't always bad. And roller derby. Lots of roller derby.

Patrick Carman, The Land of Elyon series. MG series about a girl named Alex who spends her summers in a border city walled off from the wilderness, snd likes to spend hours and hours exploring the city's labyrinthine library. sadly, thre is little library exploration, but lots of having adventures in the lands beyond the city. Very enjoyable.

Joyce and Jim Lavene: Perilous Pranks, Murderous Matrimony, Bewitching Boots, Fatal Fairies: Up to the current book in a cozy mystery series set at a RenFaire that's open all year and has permanent residents. I really enjoy these books despite the main character having flares of internal misogyny at times (though she does finally seem to become aware of it in the latest book.) Perilous Pranks introduces supernatural elements into the series, which stayed and are becoming increasingly prominent. I don't object, I suppose, it just seems odd to so suddenly switch to that when earlier books made a point to contrast fantasy and reality.

Fujiwara Cocoa: Youko x Boku SS Vol 1: Manga series about youkai and their bodyguards. I watched the anime based on it a few years ago, and based on my recollections, the first few episodes of the anime follow the first volume of the manga pretty faithfully, though I seem to recall the anime having more "cutesy" fanservice and fetishism. I put off reading it for so long because I know the current plot is actually a prologue to the main plot, and wasn't sure how I felt about getting there.

There are other books that I've read and not posted on since I last did this, but I'm too lazy to go through all my tags to see if I missed something I should comment on.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have a bunch of mysteries, romance novels and YA novels checked out from the library, so those, and I intend to do a lot of manga bingeing in the near future, since I haven't read much in recent months.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
For the last few months, this series has taken up most of my reading time.

Set in late 19th century New York, Sarah Brandt was born to to a Dutch "old money" family, rebelled against her parents and married a poor doctor, and is now a widow who works as a midwife. While checking on one of her patients, she gets caught up in a murder investigation and meets Frank Malloy, a less-corrupt-than-average police officer, woh really doesn't appreciate interference from anyone. Through the course of her interfering, Sarah speaks to her mother for the first time in years, deciding that solving a murder is worth rebuilding bridges.

Sarah and Malloy's relationship starts rock bottom and progresses to the inevitable romance slowly, with a number of books stuck in "I actually really, really dislike to always getting involved, but somehow, people find you less scary than me..." and "You are mean and annoying but I strangely like solving crimes. Also, it gives me an excuse to hangout with my mother." A couple nice highlights are that while Malloy redeems himself because of Sarah, it's not actually at her prompting, and is 100% without any expectation of acknowledgement or the idea that she should reward him for achieving decent person-ness, and that her response to "I loved you from the day we met" was "I didn't like you then or for along time. you were MEAN."

And then I get depressed that the state of romantic tropes is so rock bottom that men not expecting romantic/sexual rewards for not being awful people and women not loving guys for being jerks is worth noting.

But, I mean, in context, it's done very well and the depressing state of romantic tropes is separate from the actual series.

The series starts in 1895 and the first 10 or so books deal with Roosevelt's turn as police commissioner (Roosevelt and Sarah knowing each other growing up is also a device used to get her involved in some cases) and his reforms in the police department. The reforms provide a fair bit of dramatic impetus in early books, until history dictates that Roosevelt moves along. There's a lot of triggering stuff in the books, primarily child abuse, rape (to the best of my recollection, this is only in the cases. I don't remember any of the major female characters having been threatened with rape.), and pedophilia, but it isn't treated as easy drama or "that's just the way things were," but as abuses of power. A lot of the case are inspired by real events that Thompson found records of. Classism and institutionalizes privilege and oppression are also a major theme, with most plots focusing either on the murders of lower classes that no one official cares about, or trying to investigate murders among the classes you aren't allowed to touch. There's also a lot of racism, though in the context of racism in 1890s America, not 2015 America. We'd consider most of it to be xenophobia today. The prejudice is primarily directed towards white immigrant groups, and I think the only books to feature a non-white group the latest book, Murder on Amsterdam Avenue, which seems to indulge in a bit of "Old South" and "not all slaveowners were awful" nostalgia at first, but pretty thoroughly rejects that idea by the end, and Murder in Chinatown. I did read 16 books over a period of several months, though, and some plots have blended together in my head. And, I mean, a lot of the groups represented are groups that people tend to ignore were there and on the receiving end of prejudice at the time, but the almost-all-white 1890s New York can be a bit off putting at times.

Aside from Sarah and Malloy, the principal character include:

Mrs. Ellsworth: Sarah's very very nosy neighbor who has an omen for every little thing, is frequently very useful, and possibly has a custom made Sarah/Malloy shipper badge.

Mrs. Malloy: Frank Malloy's mother, who is considerably less personable than Mrs. Ellsworth (but I'm 99.9% certain they'll be BFF in a few more books) and very not open to the idea of Malloy finding a new wife. also prone to giving good advice.

Brian Malloy: Malloy's young son. Born with a clubbed foot and initially believed to be mentally handicapped, but soon revealed to actually be deaf. Thompson put a lot of research into beliefs about deafness and the schooling of deaf children for the time period, and it shows.

Felix Decker: Sarah's EXTREMELY estranged (at first) father who has a lot of money and influence and few problems with using them, but mostly in moral ways, at least in the current timeline. (In the backstory, he was considerably less moral about this, with catastrophic consequences.)

Elisabeth Decker: Sarah's much-less-estranged mother, who initially seems a bit too passive and obedient, but soon gets really, really, REALLY into helping out with cases. She also seems to regard the apparent passivity and obedience as a form of passive aggressive warfare that women of her class engage in.

Later on, we also have:

Catherine: Sarah's 4-year-old ward, who has a surprisingly traumatic and angsty past for a pre-schooler.

Maeve: Officially Catherine's nursemaid, actually detecting sidekick. A teenaged ex-grifter who possibly intends to become a Pinkerton agent in a few years and successfully cons and manipulates her way into being involved with various cases.

Gino Donatelli: A very young Italian police officer who hasn't been on the force long enough to become more than a tiny bit corrupt. He is VERY happy to be Malloy's sidekick, thinks Sarah hung the moon, and has an ill-disguised crush on Maeve that he has no intention of doing anything about any time soon, possibly out of fear that Malloy would very literally kill him if he did.

The books, in order, are:

Murder on Astor Place
Murder in St. Mark's Place
Murder on Gramercy Park
Murder on Washington Square
Murder on Mulberry Bend
Murder on Marble Row
Murder on Lennox Hill
Murder in Little Italy
Murder in Chinatown
Murder on Bank Street
Murder on Waverley Place
Murder on Lexington Avenue
Murder on Sister's Row
Murder on Fifth Avenue
Murder in Murray Hill
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue
meganbmoore: (nancy drew)
I read these a few months ago and didn't realize I never posted on them until I found this writeup. Whoops?

The Diana Spaulding Mysteries are a quartet of mysteries set in 1888. The main character, Diana, is a widow who works as an entertainment reviewer for a New York newspaper, and gets bullied by her editor (the older brother of a school friend) into finding out whether or not a popular horror novelist (whose books Diana hates, despite thinking the man himself is exceptionally Tall Dark and Handsome) is a serial killer. Who targets nosy female reporters.

Yes, I spent a significant amount of the first book going "You are lusting after a man who may or may not be a serial killer who may or may not target nosy female reporters. you are a nosy female reporter following him around. ABORT. ABORT."

But, I mean, despite some serious questioning of Diana's life choices in the first book (and she spends a lot of the series questioning her own life choices, for that matter) I enjoyed these. I don't know if it was always intended to be a quartet, or if it just ended up that way, but overall, they form a pretty solid story arc. In between finding dead bodies and figuring out who made them that way, Diana and her eventual fiance spend a lot of time travelling around and dealing with their respective families, mostly Diana's, with a lot of focus on Diana's estrangement from her family, caused largely by her marriage to an actor (about the only thing her father was ever right about was the fact that her husband was scum, not that disowning her was the right response), and her trust issues, largely caused by the same actor. There's also a lot of focus on what marriage meant, both good and bad, at the time, though the narrative (and Diana's) POV is distinctly modern in that regard at times.

But then "fiction" is just as important a part of "historical fiction" as the other half is.

There are also theatre troops, Madams, exceptionally eccentric authoresses, conartist uncles and whatnot running around a lot.

A pretty solid series, overall, and mostly very enjoyable.

The books are:

Deadlier Than the Pen
Fatal as A Fallen Woman
No Mortal Reason
Lethal Legend
meganbmoore: (emma: turning brains since 1816)
A rather fluffy murder mystery set in the 30s. Several years pre-book, Amory Ames dumped her nice, stable, somewhat dull fiance, Gill, for Milo, a charming playboy who stayed reformed just long enough to get bored with marriage, leaving Amory to twiddle her fingers on his estate while he has affairs in every country he can think of.

During one of Milo's brief visits home, Gil shows up at their door and would like to know if Amory would please come to Brightwell, a coastal resort, and convince his sister to please not marry a very Milo-like playboy (which I don't think we were meant to read as rubbing an apparently terrible life choice in Amory's face, but I couldn't help reading it that way to a degree). Oh, and also, could she pretend to be his lover? For Plot Reasons. Amory agrees because it's Milo-free and she does like Gil's sister after all, and who knows, maybe fake affairs can be like fake dating and turn real in the last two scenes.

At the resort, Amory barely has time to acquaint herself with an Agatha Christie-esque collection of guests before the playboy fiance ends up dead, with Gil as the prime suspect. Them Milo shows up, apparently having decided that maybe he isn't really ok with Amory having as much extra-marital fun as he has. Possibly, someone gave him a speech about Geese and Ganders.

Between a somewhat dull murder suspect with possible Nice Guy tendencies and a more entertaining philanderer who could have STDS for all Amory or I know, I can't say I think much of Amory's romantic options, but I did have a lot of fun reading the book, and look forward to the sequel.


May. 8th, 2015 06:31 pm
meganbmoore: (hwajung: jungmyung plotting while ja kyu)
1A. Secrets and Lies ended. Well, the season did, at least. I had thought it was a miniseries going in, and seem to recall it being promoted as such. Pretty much, I didn't realize it was possible to feel that betrayed and let down by a show you found faily all over the place anyway, and didn't actually like.

1B. It was renewed, and I'll probably end up at least trying out season 2 in the hopes that the one element of the finale that I liked gets followed up on.

1C. Agent Carter and Galavant were also renewed, and I'm pretty sure they were also originally promoted as miniseries? At least I mostly liked both of them, though, and can hope the second seasons will be better about the things I didn't

2. Madam Secretary's first season also ended, and was a much better ending. I've seen some people call it anticlimactic, but I don't think it really was. I think we're just conditioned to expect cliffhangers, and for parts of the BIg Mystery to carry over into the second season, not leave things resolved, especially when another season is already a done thing. Fandom seems to have skipped over this one for the most part, which makes me sad, but at least it apparently has decent enough ratings.

3. Hwajung is probably my favorite thing I'm watching right now. For those who don't like to start sageuks until the leads have grown up, they grow up at the end of episode 7. I am pleased to report that the crossdressing exiled princess heroine who wants revenge is also a conartist who braves volcanoes and Edo era checkpoints (hey, those things were scary!) I can see some of the things I liked best about Queen Seon Deok as influence here (well, the 51 episodes of QSD that I acknowledge exist), particularly in regards to character dynamics and how Jungmyung thinks and plots, but not to a really obvious degree. I made a few picspams for tumblr for it.  Two general ones for the first episode, and one for episode 8 that's more character specific.
cut for spoilers and caps )
4. Interesting article about the influence of Nancy Drew.

5. I took a break from Murder She Wrote because the narrative POV of Jessica's writing and adventuring in it really, really irked me, but I'm watching season 6 now. An interesting thing about watching older shows is that they're prone to reusing the same guest actors in multiple roles. Today, with DVDs and streaming services being the norm, it's really noticeable. But 20+ years ago, the episodes wouldn't be spaced far enough apart that you wouldn't immediately go 'this producer was the lady in prison back in X episode of season 1, and this guy was the cheating husband in Y episode, the hapless cop in Z episode, and the evil brother in T episode."

Also, people's hair looks they they could have conceivably done it themselves. I mean, you know wardrobe got their hands on them, but it LOOKS like they could have done it themselves, as opposed to completely broke people's "disheveled" look making them look like they just spent 3 hours at the salon.

6. While they don't have much in common besides being historical mysteries with a civilian female lead solving crime with a police officer who initially doesn't care for their butting in, I think fans of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries might like Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries.
meganbmoore: (miss fisher: phryne and dot manwatching)
1. OMG Jane the Virgin and the fantasy sequences.

spoilers )

2. iZombie continues to be great. I'm glad Liv's mom is getting fleshed out more and will take this week's commentary about solving the murder of one white person being treated as more important than finding dozens of missing teenagers, the majority of whom are PoC and/or poor, as an apology for the terrible racism of the Asian gangsters episode.

spoilers )

3. About 4 1/4 minutes into this, there's footage from season 3 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries:

4. Vaguely related to the above How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson, while meant for aspiring writers thinking about writing historical mysteries, is a pretty entertaining read with lots of information about writing historical fiction in general, and some great observations on how to craft characters in historical mysteries to make them able to go around everywhere investigating. Also, while there's no overt feminist approach to the book, it was nice to read a piece about writing in general that never seems to consider the possibility of addressing writing historical fiction and people's roles in history by sidelining women.

5. Speaking of historical fiction. some people have been reading and saying good things about Allison Weir and Phillippa Gregory. Should I give them a try? (It...should be noted that, while I never saw the Hollywood version of The Other Boleyn Girl, I saw the BBC version and didn't care for it at all.)
meganbmoore: (too many books)
What are you currently reading

Currently in between.

What did you recently finish reading?

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller. finished reading this, and it remained pretty enjoyable throughout. I'd like it if they did more rebels prequel books, particularly of Hera and Kanan acquiring Zeb and Sabine.

Vixen in Velvet by Loretta Chase. Third book in a series (I haven't read the first two) about three sisters who are French dressmakers and marry incredibly rich British lords. Entertaining, like most Loretta Chase, but the concept stretched believability a bit much for me, even for a Window Dressing historical Romance.

Cloche and Dagger and Death of a Mad Hatter by Jenn McKinlay. First two books in a mystery series about two cousins who run a hat shop. Cousin A became internet-famous thanks to a youtube video in which she's flinging handfuls of anniversary cake at her supposedly-single boyfriend. Depending on who you ask, she's either "a total nutter' (used frequently in the books by characters who have seen the video, but not a view supported by the narrative) or a feminist icon and symbol for women who discover they're dating cheating louses. Cousin B is the creative, free spirited cousin prone to leaving for weeks on end without a word to buy rare feathers, or spending her entire savings on crystals, both to be used in hats. People keep dying while wearing their hats, but more people keep buying them. More overtly humorous than a lot of the mysteries I've been reading lately, and very fun.

Tonari no Seki-kun vol 1-2 by Takuma Morishige. Manga that the anime I watched last year is based on. Studious girl has a neighbor in class who is always bringing absurdly complicated and involving things to do instead of paying attention in class. She tries to ignore him, but keeps getting caught up in his antics. Pretty much like watching the anime. (Which is not a bad thing.)

What do you think you'll read next?

I should probably devote the time I'd normally spend reading on RW for the next few weeks. (no Dear Author letter yet, only prompt in the signup is a brief one for a fandom I'm not familiar with. Insert panicky Megan.)
meganbmoore: (too many books)
What are you currently reading

Still about halfway through Star Wars: A New Dawn, as I haven't had much time to read it since mentioning it the other day.

What did you recently finish reading?

Mizuho Kusanagi: Akatsuki no Yona Vol 9-11: A bit odd to be reading these volumes while watching the anime, which is far, far behind the manga, of course (and unless there's a second season, the anime won't get to this point)

spoilers )

Joyce and Jim Lavene: Wicked Weaves, Ghastly Glass, Deadly Daggers and Harrowing Hats: This is a very fun mystery novel series set at a Renaissance Faire. The main character, Jessie, is a professor who spends her summers at the Faire, which is permatently situated at an old airforce base that's been renovated. Every once in a while, the series slips into "those RenFaire folks are kinda weird," but it's mostly "those RenFaire people who live there year round get a little bit caught up in the things they love sometimes." It's pretty fun, though, and I give it kudos for being one of the few "cozy mysteries" series where dead bodies turning up a lot actually does affect people's willingness to go to a place.

Gauntlet by Ellery Prime and T2A: The first Sparkler Monthly offering for me to complete! This is one of their prose offerings. Clio has recently moved to the big city and is striking out on her own for the first time. One day, she's harassed on the street and is offered a refuge of sorts buy two men named Jack. The "refuge" ends up being a prison called The Gauntlet, where Clio and others are hunted by people who want to perform experiments on them. I was really into the first half, but less so the second, which is set in a different part of The Gauntlet, and had a different setting. It was good, but ended feeling more like part one as opposed to the full story. We never learn the true nature of The Gauntlet, and we're teased with subplots and following up on the fates of certain characters, but they aren't actually followed through. I'll read a sequel, or anything else the writers produce for the webzine, though.

Windrose by kosen, ch 1-4: Windrose was my favorite of the Sparkler Monthly first chapters I read in their sampler several months ago. Danielle is a young Spanish woman who travels to France in search of her missing father. Along the way she meets a dashing pair of siblings, Angeline and Leon, who are considerably less kind and honorable than they initially appear to be, and she soon learns that there's a lot more to her father's disappearance than she thought. It's pretty much a straight-up swashbuckling adventure, written for and mostly about women.

Well Read, Then Dead by Terri Farley Moran. First book in a mystery series that decides to combine bookstore/bookclub lady detective with cooking mysteries to have a protagonist who owns a book-themed cafe. Very enjoyable, though I don't really have anything to say about it.

Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams. The first book in another mystery series, this one set at a resort for book lovers. The protagonist, Jane, decides to have a murder mystery weekend, only to have the winner of her scavenger hunt end up dead. Then she learns that her family are the super secret custodians of hundreds of rare and unknown manuscripts, and have been for centuries. It's just that no one thought to tell her this until she was in her 30s. This is apparently also a very very very dangerous job, because the family librarian informs her that it's time to learn martial arts and archery and all about the secret passages in the manor house. And that she has to get the Super Sekrit Secret Society tattoo. A booklover's Id ran wild with this one, but I see no reason to object.

What do you think you'll read next?

I'm guessing more sparkler monthly and mystery novels.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

A Wonderlandiful World, the new Ever After High book, though I haven't read enough of it to know much more than that it's about the Wonderland characters. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun which I don't find quite as delightful as the anime based on it (which I really should post on) but still really like.

What did you recently finish reading?

Death at Wentwater Court and The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn. First two books in a long running series about an upper class young woman in 1920s England who works as a writer for "Town and Country" rather than be reliant on her brother and his family for money. There's nothing wrong with them (well, there are some classist comments that are accurate for the period, though I'm not sure about the narrative's stance on it) but they didn't grab me the way I expected. There are well over a dozen (maybe even over 20?) books in the series, and I'm sure I'll read more eventually, but I'm not in a rush to right now. 

Murder at Hatfield House by Amanda Carmack. Mystery set in the final months of Elizabeth Tudor's imprisonment at Hatfield House. The main character, Kate, is the daughter of Elizabeth's musician who is sometimes employed by Elizabeth for light spying on the residents and visitors. The plot revolves around an investigator of Mary's being attacked in route to Hatfield House, and believing that someone in Elizabeth's household is responsible. It's a solid book, though Elizabeth is portrayed as too good and virtuous for my taste. I mean, not that she was portrayed as saintly, but she's almost Totally Innocent of Scheming (Probably), and doesn't have enough rough edges. Though I'll certainly take this over the Jealous Harpy portrayals. The author's bio states that Carmack has written romance novels under another pseudonym, though it doesn't say what it was. This is pretty obvious at times, though not in a bad way. There's just a way that clothing and setting tends to be described in historical romances that you don't see a lot of outside the genre, and it stands out when you encounter it elsewhere.

Mind Over Murder and A Sinister Sense by Allison Kingsley. First two books in a series about a pair of cousins who run an occult bookstore, and whose family has a history of psychic powers. Stephanie, the owner, has a husband and three kids, loves sticking her nose in mysteries, and is very, very envious that her cousin got the family psychic powers, and she didn't. Clara is the cousin who did inherit the psychic powers, really really wishes she hadn't, is a bit more cautious about sticking her nose in things, and recently returned home after A Bad Romantic Experience. I enjoyed them, but not as much as I'd expected to.

Mayhem at the Orient Express, A Tale of Two Biddies and The Legend of Sleepy Harlow by Kylie Logan. My favorite of the mysteries I've read recently, and not because the series is titled THE LEAGUE OF LITERARY LADIES. Bea (local B&B owner with a secret past identity and Dark Secrets), Chandra (local hippy and psychic with a lot of ex-husbands, one of whom gets regular booty calls) and Kate (very by-the-books owner of the local winery. She and Chandra are Enemies, and totally not Secretly Best Friends Forever And Ever.) keep going before the local judge for a variety of property squabbles. Eventually, he gets fed up and sentences them to form a book club so that they'll be forced to talk to each other about other things. Unfortunately, said other things are sometimes all the dead bodies that somehow tend to pile up in these small towns. The first book is modeled after Murder at the Orient Express, and involves the owner of the local Chinese fast food place dying right before everyone in town ends up stranded at Bea's B&B just as a snowstorm hits. These are my favorites of the mysteries I've been reading lately.

I haven't done a whole lot of reading (for me) the last month or so, but I think I posted separately on anything else I read since I last did this.

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of what i'm reading now. I have romance novels, some mysteries, and some One Piece checked out from the library.
meganbmoore: (Default)
I woke up this morning all eager for my 3 day weekend, went to Wal-Mart, started getting the chills, got back home and barely managed to take care of perishable before collapsing. Got up about an hour later and had a 102.2f temperature. Whee! At least I didn't have to call in sick to work? It went up to a littler over 103 but has gone down a bit since, and I've managed to stay mobile for about 15 minutes, so maybe I'll get lucky and whatever it is will pass as quickly as I came down with it.

Anyway, I typed this up a couple days ago and hadn't gotten around to posting, so I'll post it now before collapsing again.

1. Flight Rising is having another open registration window next Monday. I guess it's officially a monthly thing now. As always, I will be giving dragons to friends who join, though possibly not until later in the week, as site competitions this week might wipe me out of all dragons that aren't permanent residents in my lair.

2. Related, your pet dragons can now have PET ROBOTS. Though they were created for the highest difficulty level (so far) in the coliseum, but there are other ways to get them. But I repeat YOUR PET PIXEL DRAGONS CAN HAVE PET PIXEL ROBOTS.

3. The newest version of Return of the Condor Heroes is apparently as awful as one would expect a series advertising itself as choosing to make a rapist adorable to be. (I mean, the rape plot in ROCH has problems all over the place, but at least it doesn't think the rapist is sympathetic or likable or fassscinating, so it has that over quite a few rape plots. And also the bit where the person who was rapes finds out who really raped her and hunts him across half of China and kills him. Which probably won't happen with an "adorable" rapist.) It's ok, my backlog of shows to watch is enormous as it is.

4. Kevin Kostner's comments on racism may not be as blatantly horrific as Kevin Sorbo's, but maybe Hollywood needs to make a rule about past-their-professional-prime actors named Kevin aren't allowed to talk about race in public without someone there to kick them in the shin when they go wrong.

5. I started watching the Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic anime on Netflix a couple weeks ago out of boredom, and really enjoyed it. It's a shounen adventure series very, very loosely based on 1001 Nights (loosely=It uses some names and the settings sometimes look vaguely right). The main characters are Aladdin, a child magician, Ali Baba, a wanderer with A Secret Angsty Past, and Morgianna, a former slave girl with super strength and speed. It does a better job than a lot of shounen with the grander scope of things and handling a coming war between three major countries. Unfortunately, season 2, Magi: The Kingdom of Magic splits up the 3 main characters and separates them from their other friends. Ali Baba and Morgianna are MIA for most of the season (Morgianna is considerably more MIA that Ali Baba, or course...) and most of it is Aladdin learning more about magic in another country. Unfortunately, while I like Aladdin, he's way, way less interesting than Morgianna and Ali Baba (and the other supporting characters who are also mostly MIA), and the 2 friends he makes are nice and all, but the actual kingdom is BORING, as is the characters who (as of ep 20, where I am) appears to be the main antagonist. I mean, I'm still enjoying it, just a lot less than the first season, and hoping that if there's a third season, it'll be better. There are some events that are making things more interesting going on, but it's in conjunction with my caring even less about the magic kingdom and being more annoyed by the antagonist.

6. Madame Secretary is on hiatus, but at least it was given a full season. Maybe State of Affairs will seem less horrible when I'm not also watching a far superior female-lead political thriller show? (I mean Madam Secretary's politics and conspiracy plot are just as awful, but the show itself is much better written, as are the characters and their relationships.

7. I've been reading "cozy mysteries" lately, and I'd really like to know how a genre about multiple murders in a small town over a relatively brief period of time not only came to be called "cozy," but also gained a reputation for being comfort reading. I mean, they are comfort reading, and I should write up my thoughts about why some time, but you have to admit, it's a bit odd. (I suspect Agatha Christie and Rex Stout having had dozens and dozens of such books consistently in print for decades contributes some there. I mean, not just them, but they're the big ones that immediately spring to mind.

8. Taraji Henson's new series starts soon! I deliberately have not watched the preview for Empire, but based on what I've read, I'm hoping that her character is on an epic revenge quest and steal her ex-husband's music empire. *hopes*

9. I watched the pilot of The Librarians (or rather, the first 2 episodes, which were aired together because networks don't like 2 hours pilots anymore and air episodes together and confuse everyone about episode numbering). It was entertaining. Christian Kane looked very confused every time he didn't beat up 10 guys at once and Noah Wylie looked very tired thanks to his day job of fighting off alien invasions (though I'm sure he's happy that he has this lined up if it lasts, since Falling Skies's next season will be the last) And Rebecca Romjin made "WTF?" faces a lot. And, I mean, of course Matt Frewer and John Larroquette are running around being...well, themselves. It VERY much felt like a pilot for a series based on a franchise most people forgot exists, and as others have noted, it seems to want to appeal to Warehouse 13 fans, so it was a, but I'll watch more.

10. Star Wars: Rebels is on midseason hiatus, and I'm not sure who else is watching, but a few comments:
spoilery )
meganbmoore: (Default)
What are you currently reading

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

What did you recently finish reading?

The Foundling, and Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. Several short stories set in the world of the Chronicles of Prydain, but before the main series. Mostly backstories about characters in the series and stories that were told during it, all pretty enjoyable. My favorite was the story about Eilonwy's mother.

The Prime Minister's Secret Agent by Susan Elia MacNeal. The fourth Maggie Hope mystery, and one with a title which only relates to about the last 50 or so pages of the book. Centered around the days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, this one was a bit odd. MacNeal's audience is primarily American, as far as I know, so Pearl Harbor takes a fair bit of narrative priority in this one. The mystery that Maggie is involved in is almost perfunctory (I would have rather spent the time dealing with her PTSD after the previous book, and her Baby Spies seeing her as a demonic taskmaster) and most of the rest is setting things up for future installments, which look to be changing things up some. Not a bad or disappointing book, but a bit different from what I was expecting.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom. It's been long enough since I read a superhero crossover event that I had forgotten how inconsistent characterization and costuming can be with them. Errr...I was mostly confused by this. If I were caught up with X-stuff in general, I think I would have been into it, but as it is, I was mostly left with irritation at "Jubilee will grow up to be just like Woverine! But angrier and shriekier and irrational. I mean, she is a girl."

X-Men: Muertas by Brian Wood and Terry Dodson. I followed this one more easily than I did Primer and Battle of the Atom, mostly because most of the events were directly related to events in those two volumes, though I have no idea where Rogue went off too. I'm glad there was a mini Gen-X reunion this quickly into my dipping my toes back into superhero comics after years away, but wish there had been more Jubilee/Monet interaction.

Toradora vol 1-4 by Yuyuko Takemiya. Romantic comedy light novel series about a boy who looks like a scary gangster but is actually a sweet and harmless pacifist addicted to cleaning, and a tiny cute girl who's actually extremely rude and violent. They have crushes on the other's respective best friend, and join forces to help the other out. What I've read is entertaining and usually cute, but I don't see myself reading another 6 books about it, especially since it's starting to veer into fanservice territory and having an increasing "cute and helpless" aspect to the heroine ,despite her forceful personality. I do think I'll watch the anime, though.

Coffin Hill Vol 1 by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda. Eve Coffin is a police officer who returns to her hometown after being shot and leaving the force. The catch is that Eve comes from a long line of dark witches, and a monster she let loose as a teenager is back and abducting teenagers in the woods. I thought it was a minseries when I picked it up an the library, but it's an ongiong series. It's a bit bloody for my taste, but I like Eve and the mythology, and am interested in seeing what happens next.

Ao Haru Ride/Blue Spring Ride Vo l1-4 by Io Sakisaka. Enjoyable but sometimes frustrating shoujo who meets her junior high crush in high school, only to find him with an entirely different personality. for the most part, it's very enjoyable with lots of friendshipping with Futaba (the heroine) and the other girls who join her in the student council. The romance is...also enjoyable, but also irritating. A lot of it is sustained by "something is about to happen, but isn't yet" and Futaba's love interest, Kou, is prone to "standoffish shoujo jerk moments. He's far from the worst about that, but a bit of a disappointment after Ren from Strobe Edge, who was really refreshing in that regard, and there's at least one time when his treatment of Futaba made me angry. I've heard some things about future volumes that make me leery, but I've enjoyed it so far, so I'm sticking with it. The anime adapts the first 4 volumes of the manga, minus the last chapter of volume 4, and is extremely faithful. The OAD is about Kou and Futaba's quasi-relationship in junior high, but only the last few minutes has anything significant that wasn't covered in flashbacks in the main anime/manga.

Barakamon Vol 1-2 by Satsuki Yoshino. Handa Seishu is a young calligrapher who gets exiled to an island by his father after he punches the curator of an exhibition for saying Seishu's work is boring. On the island, he constantly gets caught up in the goings on of the locals, particularly the local children and teenagers, when he's supposed to be working on making his calligraphy not-boring. And learning how to not punch old men for offering criticism. He very quickly becomes that guy who sits down to work after lunch and goes out to get a toy out of a tree so the local kids will stop yelling, and then suddenly it's getting dark and he didn't notice because the kids kept him that busy. The main local he interacts with is Naru, a 7 year old girl, and one of the children who used Seishu's house as a hangout while it was abandoned. (The youths collectively decide that occupation is no deterrent.) I find it a sad commentary on a lot of anime that there was zero sexualization of of a young girl being overly attached to the much older male protagonist. It's a very entertaining series. The first 5 or so episodes follow the first two volumes of the manga pretty faithfully, though some events are moved around a bit, based on my recollection of early anime episodes, and a few scenes didn't get animated.

And I think that's everything that i haven't posted on separately since I last did this.

What do you think you'll read next?.

The rest of Magic Breaks, probably start reading Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun.
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering. Country house murder mystery set in the 30s, with a mystery novel fanboy for the protagonist. So far it's fairly standard for the genre, but enjoyable.

What did you recently finish reading?

One Piece Vol 46-48 by Eiichiro Oda. The first three volumes of the Thriller Bark arc. TBH, I'm finding this arc a bit dull. It's not a long one, though, and the arcs after it sound much more my thing.

Saga Vol 3 by Brain K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I still really like this space opera, though in this volume, I was more interested in what was going on with Gwendolen and The Will and Co than in the mains. But I could really, really do without the series using "cunt" as t he worst thing you can call a person. It tends to sour me for a while and make me put the book down every time. I still get a kick out of a romance novel being a revolutionary text.

I attempted to read another Nancy Drew nonfiction book, The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys but it kept assuring me that Nancy Drew and Mildred wirt were Not Like Other Girls, and actually kinda masculine and really, part boy. Pass.

The first two books of Fate/Zero by Urobuchi Gen. I was watching the anime (after watching Fate/Stay Night) and baka-tsuki took down the A Certain Magical Index book I was reading, so I switched over. I was pretty into it, until I got to the part in the anime with all the choking, and lost interest int he books, though I did finish the anime. (Urobuchi is also fascinated by certain aspects of the human psyche that I just don't enjoy in my fiction, which also played a big part in earlier parts of the series.) I am looking forward to the new Fate/Stay Night anime, as it seems the first series went down the least interesting of the three possible paths of the VN.

What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure. I received I think 12 arrived hold notices from the library, so we'll see. More One Piece once the next volume arrives, and probably more Sparkler Monthly stuff.
meganbmoore: (Default)
I believe this is my first time doing this since just before WisCon. Oops? I blame Flight Rising.

What are you currently reading

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. Third book in a GN series about a girl who ends up stranded in deep space with the Pied Piper, a giant mouse, an battle-mad robot and a giant...blob...thing and saves the universe a lot. Sadly, this is apparently also the last book in the series.

I've started reading the A Certain Magical Index novels, having run out of anime. I should say something substantial about the series sometime soon.

What did you recently finish reading?
The Foundling by Georgette Heyer. This is the book I read on the plane to WisCon. IIRC, I found it very entertaining-the basics of the plot are that an over-protected young duke really really really wishes people would let him stand on his own feet and has a series of misadventures when he goes undercover to help extricate a cousin from a lawsuit-but also frustrating due to,well, the lack of women. The hero's love interest is in about 15 pages, maybe, while the main female character-the titular foundling-is in it more, but isn't respected by anyone involved, including Heyer.

One Piece though volume 10 by Eiichiro Oda. I dunno, do I even need to explain the plot to anyone with even a passing familiarity with anime and manga? This is very entertaining, but frustrating due to the fact that, 10 volumes in, we have a whole one regular female character, and one who's pretty much given a supporting role in the plotline dealing with her own origin story. And Nami's great and all, but most shounen manages to do btter than this. It's especially odd since i checked it out knowing that Hiro Mashima was extremely heavily influenced by his time as Oda's assistant (and boy is it obvious) and within a couple volumes, Fairy Tail was all "here's an avalanche of female characters and most of them are background now, but we have 2 central ones and these others are being introduced in a way that says yes, they will be important later" (which is not to say FT is anywhere near perfect, but, you know...) Surprising no one, my favorites so far are Nami (and i'm vaguely curious about what the big Nami ships are) and Zoro (though I spend way too much time wondering how Zoro fights without lopping off his hand. I wonder if his and that dude from RuroKen who keeps an urumi wrapped around his bare waist trade "how not to kill yourself with your somewhat realistic-for-shounen weaponry" tips. i'm very amused with how, so far, the plotlines go vaguely like this:

LUFFY: HELLO! I want you to join my pirate crew!
Z/N/S: Dude, I said no. I hate pirates. Also, I'm not entirely convinced you understand just what a pirate is.
ACTUAL PIRATEY TYPES: We are here to pillage and raid and kick puppies!
LUFFY: New crewmember! Let's go whomp the bad pirates and show what good pirates with the power of nakama are like!
Z/N/S: Dude, I'm not joining your crew. But I'm down with the whomping.
WHOMPING: *happens with much drama and fanfare and speechifying*
Z/N/S: How did I end up-ok, fine, I guess I joined.
LUFFY: Toldja!
Z/N/S: You're really hard to break up with, aren't you.

(And then there's Usopp, who showed up at the harbor with his bags and tried not to look like he was begging to be asked to come along.)

Five Weapons: Making the Grade by Jimmie Robinson. Tyler Shainline is the 13-year-old son of a famous assassin, who is sent to The School of Five Weapons, a school where the children of bodyguards and assassins go to train for their future careers. All students join one of the weapons clubs, and everyone is eager to see which Tyler will join. The problem is, Tyler is actually Enrique, the son of Shainline's butler, who grew up with the real Tyler. Sent as a decoy by Shainline because an old enemy is hunting for him, Enrique doesn't actually know how to use any weapons, and is actually forbidden to learn how to use any. Fortunately, he has a childhood of playing with an assassin-in-training behind him and a very slippery mind, and sets to outwitting the various students who want to challenge him, as well as trying to solve the mystery of the school's shady principal. Very fun.

Tokyo Crazy Paradise Vol 1-10 by Yoshiki Nakamura. AKA, "The very cracktastic scifi mafia series Yoshiki Nakamura did before Skip-Beat. The basic concept is that Tsukasa, the daughter of two police officers, who was raised as a boy (because women are more likely to be victims of violence than men) becomes the bodyguard of her classmate, Ryuji, after her parents die and she and her brothers end up on the street. (I'm not entirely sure whether Tsukasa identifies as male or female, or has even but a lot of thought into it, but the manga refers to her as a girl.) Ryuji, who has been in classes with Tsukasa for several years, has known that Tsukasa is biologically female for some time, but never let her know, and is Secretly In Love with her. And...hijinks? Tsukasa, Ryuji, and Ryuji's fiance, Asago, are all supposed to be 14, but everything-personality, how they interact with others, appearance, etc-all works much better if you ignore that and pretend they're all in the 16-18 range. I like it a lot, but also get frustrated by some things, like how not only are Asago and Tsukasa the only female characters, but they can't stand each other. Part of that is because of Skip-Beat, and how Kyoko pretty much makes ALL her rivals, professional or otherwise, fall for her. And things keep happening that make me think Tsukasa and Asago might start becoming friends, and then it doesn't happening. I aware of some later plot developments, and am more interested in getting to those than the "things happen to challenge Ryuji's leadership/Asago's standing as his fiancee, and they have to find out what's up with this latest drug, but Tsukasa will bash everything into obedience" which is what's happened a few times.

Princeless vol 1 by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin. First volume in a series about a princess (the 6th of 7) who's confined to a tower by her father until a princess strong enough to rule the kingdom rescues her from the dragon hired to guard her. She decides she's tired of boring princes who don't last 5 minutes against the dragon, escapes the tower, and sets off with the dragon to resuce her 6 sister's from their respective towers. Said princess happens to also be black, and possibly lesbian. It can be a bit heavy handed in its "wtf, fairy tales?" moments and th bit where the princess and her future girlfriend go on about women's fantasy armor keeps going after the point has been made until it's almost beating you over the head with it (uhm...maybe less so on that front if you haven't had many long and detailed discussions of the topic itself) but this was extremely enjoyable.

The Bughouse Affair and The Spook Lights Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. The first 2 books in a mystery series about Sabina Carpenter, and former Pinkerton agent, and John Quincannon, a former Secret Service Agent, who now run a detective agency in 1890s San Francisco. largely solid and enjoyable, though they don't offer anything hugely new to the genre. I'm also annoyed by the romantic subplot. Not because it exists-normally I'd enjoy it-but because so far, it's Sabina being very firm about refusing to become romantically involved with her business partner, and John being convinced that if he just keeps hinting hitting on her and openly mooning, she'll miraculously change her mind, even though she keeps telling him to knock it off. I'm pretty sure we're meant to see it as Sabina being stubborn and trying to not give in to the inevitable, as opposed to John ignoring her her repeatedly stated and reinforced choices and wishes.

What do you think you'll read next?.

More Index and One Piece.
meganbmoore: (a royal affair: reading)
A lot of what would normally be my reading time lately has been taken over by playing Hay Day, which is just a touch too addictive.

What are you currently reading

Rereading rarewomen canon.

What did you recently finish reading?

Manna From Hades, A Colourful Death and The Valley of the Shadow by Carola Dunn. A trio of mysteries set in Cornwall in the 60s. The main characters are Eleanor Trewynn, a former world traveler who now works for a charity shop and practices judo, and her niece, Megan Pancarrow, a detective sergeant with the police force. The approach is fairly light and nostalgic, though it has some more serious subjects, such as sexism and racism. They won't go down as favorites, but I enjoyed them, and wish there were more. (Maybe there will be? The last one came out in 2012, but I think she's still mostly focused on the Daisy Dalrymple books, which I haven't read yet.)

Legend of the Condor Heroes: Book One by Jin Jong.

-The 2008 version that I watched pretty much left out most of what happened in about ch 2-6. And while I get not wanting to add 10 episodes to your series to detail Genghis Khan's rise to power and get to your protagonist being an adult, there were some pretty pertinent things that happened as far as Guo Jing's training and such that would have made some early episodes make a lot more sense.

-I confess to being bored until Huang Rong showed up. But now she is there and trolling everyone and thinking circles around all the men and plotting, and all is well.

-I could really do with less emphasizing on how Guo Jing's mother is a plain simple farmgirl and Yang Kang's mother is pure and has a sensitive heart.

-So far I mind Yang Kang and Wanyan Honglie much, much less than in the TV adaptation. Not trying to make Kang a poor woobie and admitting to his being a spoiled brat whose main redeeming quality is that he loves his mother doesn't make me like him more, but it makes him less annoying. I actually kind of like Wanyan Honglie, so far, but suspect that won't last.

-Though the above does make me question Ninanci's taste in men even more.

-I find it odd that I'm 1/4 through the book and at point where I was about 1/10th through the TV series.

What do you think you'll read next?

More rarewomen rereading, and I have a bunch of manga from the library, mostly newly released volumes of series I already follow.
meganbmoore: (tnkk: get off me i'm reading)
It's been very light on reading here, lately. I've bounced off a few things in addition to what's here, but couldn't tell you what now.

What are you currently reading

Manna From Hades by Carola Dunn. First in a mystery series about a retired world-traveller who now works in a thrift shop in Cornwall. I haven't read enough yet to have a real opinion of it.

What did you recently finish reading?

A night Like This by Julia Quinn. Pretty standard Quinn fluff, which is what I was in the mood for. though I feel compelled to mention that according to the blurb, the 11-year-old who won the debate with the mathematician over the existence of unicorns in The Sum of All Kisses, thought she was a unicorn in this book. This is not true. She just wants to play a unicorn in her sister's play about Henry VIII. I feel a touch betrayed.

Youn In-Wan and Yang Kyung-Il: Shin Angyo Onshi Vol 1-5. A Japanese-Korean collaboration manhwa loosely based on the legend of Chun Hyang, in which Myong Rong dies very early on, and Chun Hyang becomes the bodyguard of a would-be-amoral angyo onshi named Munsu, who has a dark and angsty past and lots of secrets and is connected to the downfall of the government. I read the first couple volumes a few years ago and liked it, but didn't get very far due to only being able to read scanslations on a computer screen at the time. I still like it now, but am much more aware of how Chun Hyang has gotten far less development so far than Munsu (or Bang Ja, for that matter) and how incredibly scantily clad the women are. (Chun Hyang literally runs around wearing nothing but a few leather scraps and a giant cape.) It's very interesting and entertaining anyway, and I'll read more later, but I need a break for a bit.

A Bride's Story Vol 5. As charming and full of scenery pr0n as every other volume. I am greatly amused that, as soon as the plotline about the twins' weddings was concluded, there was a chapter that was almost literally nothing but gorgeous spreads of Amir's daily life. It was almost like "hey, in case you forgot who the main character is supposed to be..."

What do you think you'll read next?

The rest of the Dunn book and the other two books in the series, if I like it, and probably manga.
meganbmoore: (nancy drew)
WWII-set mystery series about Maggie Hope, a British-born mathematician raised in the US after the deaths of her parents by her lesbian, university professor aunt who decides to stay in England to attempt to aid in the war effort after returning to settle the family estate's affairs. Though initially passed over for important jobs because of her gender, she eventually becomes Winston Churchill's secretary through the intercession of a (gay Jewish playboy) friend, and from there gains the attention of the head of MI-5.

I suspect Susan Elia MacNeal is familiar with certain subsets of fandom.

The books are incredibly well researched, with liberties being taken deliberately instead of from ignorance, and the first book in particular is very good in regards to the positions most women were allowed to hold and how people were chosen for positions, and some scenes when Maggie is churchill's secretary are taken directly (with permission) from the experiences of two of Churchill's secretaries, Elizabeth Layton Nel and Marian Holmes. And while I'm not a mathematician or well-versed in codebreaking 9or creating) those aspects seem to be pretty spot on, too.

I like the first book, with the focus on the wartime mindset and society among the people on the fringes of the war effort, the best, but like the other two, which are a bit more into the realm of "glamorous" spy capers, as well. The end of book two introduces the potential of soap opera-like drama, though the parts with the potential to annoy don't really come into play until near the end of book three.

spoilers )The books, in order, are:

Mr. Churchill's Secretary
Princess Elizabeth's Spy
His Majesty's Hope
meganbmoore: (miss fisher: phryne/jack: hats)
I'm having to go in to work at 6 am this week and next week, as opposed to my normal 8 am, which is not really conductive to the brain handling things much more complex than pretty pictures save for brief periods of adrenaline, so I'm not sure how much reading I'll get done in the next week or so. I should take the opportunity to read manga, but I want to start 7 Seeds and start catching up with Skip-Beat and don't want to be reading those when not well rested.

What are you currently reading?

Legend of the White-Haired Demoness by Liang Yusheng, ch 5-6. Still love this book.

spoilers )

What did you recently finish reading?

Unnatural Habits by Kerry Greenwood. The latest (in the US, at least) Phryne Fisher book, in which young girls go missing and a serial...attacker is running around, making sure rapists can no longer procreate, and Phryne acquires another minion. Also evil nuns, but thankfully good nuns too. (The evil nuns were rather jarring, having just read one of Jennifer Worth's memoirs.) In general, grand fun. I've rewatched the entire first season of the TV series, not to mention several extra viewings of the pilot (look, you have to suffer when shoving your fandoms at people, ok?) since reading the first 15 or so books in the series, so while I hadn't forgotten, it was a bit jarring to be reminded of the orientalism in the books. (Not that the show is perfect in that regard, but it does try to improve that aspect.) I remain of the opinion that everyone needs Phryne Fisher in their lives, though.

What do you think you'll read next?
Jennifer worth's 3rd midwife book, as it's an ILL and due back next Tuesday.


meganbmoore: (Default)

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