meganbmoore: (too many books)
I only went 2 weeks between installments of this this time instead of months. Go me?

What are you currently reading

The Debs of Bletchley Park by Michael Smith. Nonfiction about the women who worked in Bletchley Park during WWII. This one doesn't have a lot yet (I'm about 1/3 through it) about politics and codebreaking, and is instead focusing on how and why various women were recruited, and how they dealt with the everyday life end of things. One story involved a woman being told she was being stationed somewhere else, and when she got there, she sat in a room while the officers discussed whether she should be blindfolded or just transported in a covered car. She ended up being left a the Bletchley Park gates with no knowledge of where she was and no pass. Another story involved two women getting in a catfight over lunch, each shouting that their mutual lover had told her more secrets than he had the other. They didn't stay very long after that. One of the interesting things is that there were so many people that recruitment went from "why hello there, well educated, literate friend of an official who wants to help with the war effort, you come with great recommendations!" to "Hi, you're smart, can keep your mouth shut, and need a job. Sign this document here."

Anytime I read nonfiction about Bletchley Park, or read or watch fiction in which the OSA plays a part (which most certainly does not include TV shows in which the protagonist blithely violates the OSA and reveals BP secrets to the agents of a foreign government in a show of poor codebreaking in what is apparently meant to be a Moment of Cool*) i'm amazed not only by the scope of the OSA, but also by the fact that it actually worked. You had people working together for years, sharing boarding house rooms, spending their free time together, etc, and they NEVER said a single word about their work. Not only that, but this app;ied to family members, and people who married other people who worked at BP or remained lifelong friends after, and they just...never said a word about it for decades.

Getting back on topic, the books isn't lightweight, but is less dense than a lot of WWII nonfiction. It does, though, assume the reader has a general knowledge of Bletchley Park and the OSA. It's a good read, so far, and would probably be liked by most interested in the subject.

What did you recently finish reading?
K: Stray Dog by GoRa and Gohands. A prequel to the first season of the K Project about Kuroh. It's mostly Kuroh having various adventures (including a Shounen Cooking Battle) while looking for the new 7th King. The first few chapters are pretty "LOLs that Kuroh..." but it turns more serious towards the end as it catches up with the anime. Based on the content and art, I thought this was shoujo, but it's apparently categorized as seinen.

Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron & John Cassaday. TPB collecting the first 6 issues of the current Star Wars series from Marvel, which takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The first few issues feature Luke, Han Leia and Chewie sabotaging one of the Empire's plants when Vader shows up and makes things go terribly wrong (Lots of "Anakin! Stop trying to kill your kids!" from over here, while also approving of Leia ordering that her father be shot down.) In the last couple issues in the collection, Luke goes off to do some angsty soul searching stuff while Han and Leia go off on a separate mission.

spoilers )
I enjoyed this more than I expected to. I remember that when I was still reading a lot of superhero comics, I recognized that John Cassaday's art was good and warranted the praise he got, but just couldn't get into it myself, but I liked it a lot here. i do have some issues with Leia's characterization,though. At one point, Leia makes a decision that, while understandable, we know will go very very wrong. Thatin and of itself was fine because of what it was, but it's framed as if she should have just listened to Han in a way that made me uncomfortable. In another scene, it comes across as if she tends to badger Luke into going on missions, which I don't think fits at all.

Kamisama Kiss vol 14-19 by Julietta Suzuki.

spoilers )
A Dance With Danger by Jeannie Lin. One of Jeannie Lin's Tang Dynasty series. In a previous book that I haven't read, the male lead attempted to assassinate a warlord and is now on the run. He goes to a magistrate friend of his and ends up in a compromising situation with the magistrate's daughter, and they have to get married. At this point, I was very confused because I had really liked Lin's first few books (haven't read the last few before this one yet) and this was reading like a Regency Romance with the numbers filed off, and the cover blurb had given me the same impression. Then the magistrate tries to have him assassinated because having a wanted criminal in the family doesn't actually appeal to him a lot. At this point, I girded my loins, my experience many many 80s and 90s romance novels telling me to expect vengeful abduction and accusations.

Instead, Our Hero goes "welp, I actually was starting to really like her and think we might have cute kids, but she actually is way better off without me, and I do need to warn some people about the angry warlord hunting me down..." and takes off. Our Heroine, for her part, figures out what happened and decides that she is TOTALLY NOT OK with her father trying to assassinate her husband and runs away from home, finagling her way aboard our Hero's ship.

His pirate captain ex-girlfriend finds all this incredibly entertaining.

A lot of the plot is a carryover from the previous book, with a bit of setting up for future books, but I wasn't lost with the plot despite the heavy reliance on the earlier book. Despite a less than great start, I ended up liking it a lot.

What do you think you'll read next?

More manga and Star Wars comics, library books.

*Not, I'm not over that one episode of Agent Carter yet, WHY DO YOU ASK?
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: (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: (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: (a royal affair: reading)
I don't think I've done this since mid-December, but i also posted separately on most of what I read for a while though, so this is just for what I've read in January, but not posted on separately.

What are you currently reading

The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn. Fluffy and entertaining Regency Romance. Like most Quinn books, I'm enjoying it, but will probably have forgotten half the details a week after having finished. At about 1/3 of the way through, the best bit has been the angsty, math genius hero very seriously debating the existence of unicorns with an eleven year old. (Spoiler: the eleven year old wins.)

Legend of the Condor Heroes by Jin Jong. I'm still in the first chapter, which is and Guo Jing and Yang Kang's fathers. It's fine so far, but I don't think i'll actually get into it until Huang Rong shows up.

What did you recently finish reading?

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. YA fantasy than has the conventional framework of "orphaned waif learns s/he is secretly of the magic upper class and is whisked away from humble beginnings (and no-longer-socially-appropriate childhood BFF) to court," except this Special Orphan is a girl, and her powers/supposed destiny aren't necessarily what we're led to believe. Loosely based on Russian history, the book isn't strikingly original in any description, it's just much better done than most of its type, which makes it feel much fresher. It also managed to feature a YA romantic triangle that didn't annoy me, which doesn't happen often.

"Hmm...I appear to be in love with my best friend, who might now be dead, and who I don't think was actually that interested in me to start with. But he's been gone for a while and this other guy is nice to me and is kinda hot is that dark and mysterious way-no, wait. He's actually an evil sociopath. No more of that. And it turns out my friend is still alive WE JUST MYSTERIOUSLY NEVER GOT EACH OTHER'S LETTERS. I think I'll force a sit down and we'll discuss this like intelligent, rational people. After everyone else stops trying to imprison and/or kill us."

Bronze no Tenshi Vol 1-3 by Chiho Saitou. Shoujo manga about Alexander Pushkin and his wife, Natalia Goncharov. It's 7 volumes total and I've enjoyed what I've read, but it was starting to drag a bit for me, so I'll get back to it later.

Remembrances for A Certain Pilot by Inumura Koroko. This is the basis for the anime movie The Princess and the Pilot, and the prequel to the books the airing anime The Pilot's Love Song is based on. This is an adventure novel about a young pilot in a world similar to early 20th century Europe* who is hired to secretly escort the prince's fiancee through several thousand miles of enemy airspace. For the large part, what you expect to have happen happens, and I was enjoying it in a rather relaxed way until i got to the end and realized I'd gotten invested without realizing it. I look forward to watching both the movie and the series.

*(Has anyone ever actually sat down and pondered the popularity of this kind of thing in japan? Not that i'm complaining at all, I just find it interesting.)

Pandora Hearts Vol 9-13 by Jun Mochizuki. These volumes were pretty backstory heavy (and I don't think mochizuki is anywhere near done with that yet), and also significantly darker than earlier volumes. Also about 50x as heavy with the "Alice in Wonderland" references. I am enjoying this series a lot, but wish there was more Ada and Alice, and less Vincent. I think there are several more volumes out in English, but the library don't have them yet.

What do you think you'll read next?

Probably another romance novel, or some YA.
meganbmoore: (cous: mask)
What are you currently reading

Nothing, because I finished the novella I was reading about half an hour ago.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Absolute Witch, which I posted on separately.

Chimes and Midnight by Seanan McGuire. The seventh October Daye novel, and certainly a gamechanger. (Enough so that I was actually expecting the A plot to have to carry over into the next book before it was resolved.) This is possibly the only book I have read in which the words "evil pie" were completely accurate and as serious as they were absurd. I'm not sure, but I think (hope) that the next arc of the series will bring the focus to Toby's mother and her mysteries.

spoilers )

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn. This one has Kitty going to Vegas and doing a live show, while meeting the Vegas supernatural crowd on the side. I liked the parts about the show and the parts with Kitty's parents a lot, and was generally enjoying it until near the end, where ?Vaughn actually managed to make me feel physically ill.

spoiler )

The Earl and the Fairy Vol 1 by Mizue Tani and Ayuki. Adaptation of light novels set in Victorian England, and a girl named Lydia who can talk to fairies, and a possibly-fake nobleman named Edgar who abducts her (by way of rescuing her from other, less nice abductors) and then hires her to help him find a fairy artifact. I enjoyed the anime based on the same light novels, and this is very similar, though it doesn't give so much deja vu to make me want to stop reading, though I do find Edgar's "La, I have abducted you but it was at least partly for your own good. Also, look at my angst that makes me more dark and dangerous." more insufferable than I recall finding it in the anime.

Capturing the Silken Thief by Jeannie Lin. Novella set in Tang Dynasty China, about a scholar studying for his exams, and a song girl who thinks he stole a valuable book from her. Very enjoyable, but too short, IMO.

What do you think you'll read next?

Manga, probably a romance novel. Maybe one of the Twelve Kingdoms books that I haven't read yet that I found English translations of online.
meganbmoore: (too many books)

What are you currently reading
Legend of the White-Haired Demoness by Liang Yusheng, ch 14. I think it's been about a month since 7 Seeds completely took over my kindle time, so I'm still playing catch up and trying to remember who all these secondary characters running around are.

What did you recently finish reading?

Finished Georgette Heyer's The Black Moth. Slow start but entertaining overall, though it's more a case of you can see the elements that eventually became Heyer's strengths than that it's really good on its own. I doubt I'll be reading These Old Shades, as "redeem the rapist" plots don't appeal to me. (And while it may have been a failed rape attempt in this book, not only was the intent still there, but he was obviously successful more than once in the past.) I'm curious, though, to see if we start getting some adaptations of Heyers books over the next few years, as they start entering the public domain.

Caught up with 7 Seeds, which I posted on separately.

The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay. Graphic novel set in a medieval-lite world in which a dragon is born 200 years after the last of the dragons were supposedly chased away. When a dragon begins attacking a town, several young men are sent out to find a "hero" to fight the dragon, and instead return with a braggart more familar with spinning stories than fighting. Meanwhile, the local healer's youngest daughter comes up with plans of her own to beat the dragon. It's simple and straightforward and relies more on wit and creative thinking than flashy heroics, and is more concerned with how the dragon affects people's daily lives than with the dragon itself. Very nice little book.

Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews. Fourth book in Andrews's "The Edge" series. I liked it more than the last 2 books in the series, but less than I do most of the Kate Daniels books. The first half is pretty much the protagonists setting out to destroy every human trafficker they can find, and it later branches out to wrap up most of the threads from previous books. I think it's supposed to be the last book in the series, but if so, I suspect it'll get revisited once or twice later down the road to focus on the teen characters as adults. My favorite part was when the heroine would invert healing magic to make her enemies sick, as I've always wondered why people with healing magic in fantasy worlds aren't able to do that more. (Sadly, the book didn't go where I wanted with that. Oh well.)

Black Bird Vol 1-3 by Sakurakoji Kanako. I read a little bit of this when it first came out, and couldn't quite remember if I disliked it or wasn't quite grabbed by it when I saw that the library had the first 10 copies, so I checked out the first 3. I feel like i need to read about 30 columes of good manga to make up for this.

The heroine, Misao, has blood that is superduper extra yummy blood that makes demons stronger. Her One True Love is a tengu named Kyo who was her childhood friend, and is now a teacher at her school. His saliva can cure wounds. Naturally, Misao is constantly bleeding. (I will pause a moment to ponder what Clamp and/or Kaori Yuki would do with this idea. Whatever it was, it'd be better than this.) The healing is frequently over Misao's protests, and often staged to look like sexual assault. This is aside from Kyo's regular sexual assaults (often at school) that are ok because they're in love and she's his destined bride. Kyo is also fond of deliberately terrifying Misao to teach her that she has to rely on his body for protection, and Misao thinking that there's no reason to refuse Kyo's sexual advances if he loves her, and that it's touching when he's cruel to her because he's trying to teach her to rely on him out of lurve. There is, I think, an average of about 1.3 rape attempts (not including anything from Kyo) per volume. All by people Kyo has warned Misao to avoid. In fact, I think every person Kyo has told Misao not to talk to (which is everyone but his servants) has tried to rape and/or murder Misao. She has to learn her lesson about never having an independent thought or decision of her own somehow, amirite?

Brain bleach required. Very glad I only grabbed a few volumes, because I probably would have felt to read the rest if I'd grabbed them.

After the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn. This is kind of like reading Astro City in prose form. That's not a criticism. Celia West is the non-superpowered daughter of her city's (the world's?) superheroes. At 17 she became emancipated and ran away to college, and is now a forensic accountant who does her very best to avoid her parents' superhero lifestyle. Unfortunately, her parents' secret identities were exposed when she was a teenager, and she's been kidnapped so many times that it's become boring, and the prosecutor trying her father's archnemesis for tax fraud has decided that it'd be good publicity to have her hepling on the case. There are elements of a parody in there and a pretty strong critique of superhero/vigilante culture and romanticism (one that appears to have made some Amazon and Goodreads reviewers cry in agony at the book daring to resist), and the general feel is of Silver Age surperheroes giving way to more modern superhero through the eyes of someone on the outskirts. While I haven't read superhero comics in probably 5-6 years, I read enough in the 15 years before that to see a lot of the twists coming, but that didn't affect my enjoyment.

The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated by Gerald Morris. Part of Morris's irreverent "The Knights' Tales" series of children's books (not to be confused with his YA series, "The Squire's Tales," which can also be irreverent depending on Morris's opinion of whatever tale he's adapting at the time, but is another beast entirely). If you're familiar with the tale of Balin and Balan, you're probably going "but how do you make that a children's book?" The answer is "by relentlessly mocking obsession with fate and destiny." Light fluff, but entertaining and funny, and a quick read.

Rasetsu Vol 1-9 (complete) by Shiomi Chika. I read and enjoyed the first couple volumes of this when Viz first started publishing it a few years ago, then wasn't able to continue buying it because of finances, but the library now has the volumes I didn't, so I finally read all of it. Rasetsu is about a 18-year-old psychic named Rasetsu who was cursed by a demon when she was 15, with the demon claiming that he'd claim her for his own if she didn't find her "true love" by her 20th birthday. Thankfully, while the "find your true love" element isn't completely shelved, there isn't much of a focus on it more often than not (it's there and not something she can exactly forget, but there are other things going on) and most of the focus is on Rasetsu and her coworkers fighting malevolent ghosts and demons. There's a romantic plotline and something of a triangle, but it's generally well done (I say "generally" because I wasn't fond of the third party or his behavior, but it fits the overall plotline) and I liked the actual romance more than expected. My only real beef with it is that, as usual, Shiomi tends to surround her heroine with several men, and no other major female characters. It's connected to Shiomi's other series that was released by Viz, Yurara, in that Rasetsu's love interest, Yako, was in Yurara, and both heroines are psychics, but you don't need to read Yurara to read this.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have Natsuo Kirino's The Goddess Chronicle and the latest Kate Daniels book, and since I've read a bunch of Carrie Vaughn's standalone books, I went ahead and checked out the first couple books in her urban fantasy series. I also have the ATLA tie-in books that my library has, as I recall some listies liking them. I was going to say "I should back off a bit from manga for a while before I OD," but then I was at the Library's main branch this morning after a doctor's appointment and they had just acquired a lot of manga i haven't read yet, so that might not be happening. I also still have Kelley Armstrong's Omens to read.
meganbmoore: (too many books)

What are you currently reading
7 Seeds Vol 22 Tamura Yumi. Almost caught up! Then I will have to sit down and organize my thoughts. Which, currently, are mostly that I have feeeeeeelings. Mostly about Hana, Natsu, Matsuri, Ayu and Aramaki right now.

i'm still reading Heyer's The Black Moth in bits and pieces. I think I'm about halfway through now? It's entertaining enough.

What did you recently finish reading?

Seduction in Silk
by Jo Beverley. Georgian-set romance novel in which Our Hero inherits a much-contested family estate from a distant relative, on the condition that he marry the niece of a woman the relative wronged years ago, because said woman also laid a curse on his family that all their children would die until the wrong was righted, and his intended bride is the daughter of a man reputed to have been mad. It's a pretty straightforward "forced to marry a stranger, how will we make it work" plot,and a well done one, with characters managing to have conflict while still acting like mature, intelligent adults capable of of clearly communicating with each other. Unfortunately, I felt like several chapters developing the family feud and the curse (and it seems too be leading to a major plot development, and then...doesn't), as well as Our Hero's conflict with his family ended up being cut out, and so I felt like I somehow missed part of it when I finished.

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks. Like The War At Ellsmere, Friends With Boys focuses on a young woman entering a school environment completely unlike any other she's known. The main character, Maggie, has been homeschooled her whole life, and has had little interaction with other kids close to her age outside of her three older brothers, who all started going to public school when it was time for them to enter high school, and now it's Maggie's turn. She isn't used to her brothers having friends outside their family, and has difficulty making new friends until she befriends a pair of "punk" siblkings-Alistair, who appears to have a silent feud with a number of other kids at school, including one of Maggie's brothers, and Lucy, who is obsessed with the supernatural but scared of anything resembling a scary movie. To complicate things, Maggie is frequently haunted by the ghost of a woman from the 18th century, who has visited her many times over the years. It's not as wildly entertaining as The Adventures of Superhero Girl, but is more poignant, and holds up as a cohesive whole better than Zombies Calling or The War at Ellsmere.

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn. Somewhat-different "human befriends dragon" plot. Set in an AU where dragons emerged from hiding shortly after WWII and now live in various territories with no communication with humans, a teenaged girl accidentally crosses the border to North America's dragon territory, and befriends a curious young dragon. Human/Dragon relations slowly start to deteriorate around them while the two explore the possibilities of working together, and the history of human/dragon relationships before dragons went into hiding in the middleages, and how those previous relationships could translate to modern times. Very interesting and enjoyable. It leaves things open for a possible sequel, but doesn't actually need one, as all necessary elements are wrapped up.

Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie. Part of Simon & Schuster's "Once Upon A Time" fairy tale series, this time for "The Little Mermaid." It has the classic tale (through the Disney lens) as well as a genderswapped version throughout. The main character, Pearl, was found by a fisherman during a storm as a child, is scared of the ocean, and is secretly friends with the prince, who has to chose a bride soon. It doesn't go the way it looks to be going early on, which was nice, and is generally pretty solid. It's not the best book in the series (that's probably Snow, of the ones I've read) but it's better than some of the others, and is pretty decent as a fairy tale retelling in general.

Interesting sidenote that I'm not entirely certain what to make of:

spoiler )

The Wallflower Vol 28-30 by Hayakawa Tomoko. Leave it to this series to have an in canon AU crackfic set in the Edo era. Then again, I think most of the storylines in the series are like crackfic prompts after a while. "Auntie moves in, the gang joins forces to find her a boyfriend." "Kyohei and Sunako catsit." "Ranmaru is banned from dating." "Kyohei becomes class president." etc etc. I've accepted that the series has had about as much character growth and plot progression as the mangaka is going to allow before she decides it's time to start wrapping things up, and I think I'm ok with that, as it entertains me regardless.

Secrets of A Runaway Bride by Valerie Bowman: Wallpaper Regency Historical Romance in which the heroine's brother-in-law asks his best friend to keep an eye on her and keep her from eloping with her unsuitable Beau while he's on his honeymoon. Despite the inherently aggravating concept of the plot being fueled by one man asking another to keep a woman under control while he's out of town, and the fact that much of the heroine, Annie's, motivation seemed to be low-self-esteem (excerpt that I don't think the writer recognized it as low-self-esteem), I was actually enjoying this in a "don't think too much and roll with it" way, and intending to see if the library had Bowman's first book, until I got to the last 100~ pages and Annie's characterization took an extreme nosedive fueled by low-self-esteem motivated desperation.

spoiler )

Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde. Cute MG book about a 12-year-old princess who kisses a frog who claims to be a prince, only to learn its a local boy who got turned into a frog for harassing a witch, and could only turn human if he got someone else to kiss them, which would in turn turn that person into a frog. The book focuses mostly on Princess Imogen's attempts to figure out how to break the curse without having to turn someone else into a frog, and her effective abduction by an amateur theatre troupe who decides to use a talking frog in their act.

I read about 2/3 of the first volume of Haruka Beyond the Stream of Time, and was mostly confused. Then I remembered that I read it back when Viz first started releasing it and was thoroughly lost then.

What do you think you'll read next?

I have a lot of manga checked out from the library, though admittedly, most is is "I haven't read this/think I read a bit of this a while back, and the library has it so ok" so that. I also have Kelley Armstrong's newest book, but I kinda did that automatically and I think I want to find people who've read it before I do, just to make sure I don't get a Clayton/Elena thing again.
meganbmoore: (labyrinth: reading)
What are you currently reading

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire by Jack Weatherford. I'm only a couple chapters in, and so far weatherford has mostly been stressing that Genghis Khan thought women were really great. Which is good and all, but I'm ready to actually get to the women, though i have a feeling this might be a case of "biography of a dude but with a focus on the women in his life."

What did you recently finish reading?
Hidden by Kelley Armstrong. A novella set somewhere in the second half of the series, focusing on the werewolves. Entertaining enough, but nothing particularly memorable. I have found the two werewolf novellas I've read more enjoyable than the full-length werewolf books I've read, though. Probably because they're short enough that Armstrong doesn't have time to dwell on the more annoying parts of that mythology.

The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone. This biography sells itself as focusing on theconnections between Joan and Arc and Yolande of Aragon, the mother-in-law of Charles VII, but only a small portion of the book is actually about that. It's about 1/3 a biograhpy of Yolande, 1/4 a biography of Joan, with a focus on the possibility of her having been guided by Yolande's agents, and the rest is focused on the broader political scope of the time. It's still very enjoyable and interesting, but I still want to book about Yolande and her secret network of spies and informers and how she used Joan to further Charles's cause that I was promised.

Living With the Dead by Kelley Armstrong. Somewhat different from the other books in the series is that it has 4 POV characters, and the central protagonist is a human. This one is more of a suspense thriller in which many of the characters just happen to have supernatural abilities, but not the kind that keep them from largely having to do mundane things to get things done. Kinda like in earlier seasons of Charmed when Phoebe would reasonably complain about her sisters getting the superpowers that let them whomp evil while she got the one that let her know stuff, but that didn't actually help much when demons were in the same room, and the only main character in the book that does have a power that's helpful in combat is conveniently shipped off to do other things during a lot ofthe action. I enjoyed it a lot, thought I could have done without the main antagonist's characterization centering so much around her internalized misogyny.

A Memory of Wind by Rachel Swirsky. A novella about Antigone, that is essntially a character study of Antigone and her POV of the events leading to the Trojan War. I enjoyed Antigone's bitterness a lot, but did not enjoy how Antigone seems to blame Klytemnaestra as much as, if not more than, Agamemnon, or the portrayal of Helen as a shallow evil whore (there are a few bits later on that try to soften this portrayal and imply there's more to her than Antigone originally thought, but not enough for me) or how Klytemnaestra has always hated Helen for being "different" and prettier. And from this, you'd think Orestes was the only sibling she has. So, pretty much, I thought it was generally good, but fell into more stereotypical gender portrayals and negative relationships between women (Antigone/Klytemnaestra does start well, but deteriorates) that could have easily been subverted, or spun completely differently.


To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt: Nothing wrong with the romance plotline in what I read, and I quite liked the heroine, but it was gearing up to some major raacefail re "savage indians in the [American] colonies", even for a romance novel, and from fanreviews, this is possibly the least faily of the lot, so I decided to skip on this series of Hoyt's and get back to the Prince and Maiden Lane series that I read a couple books from earlier in the year. Also, the hero takes early morning jogs, and while I know those aren't completely modern things, it felt really and weirdly out of place.

What do you think you'll read next?
I have Frostbitten the last full-length "Women of the Otherworld" novel that I haven't read yet, and the last "Artemis Fowl" book from the library, as well as my manga backlog.
meganbmoore: (jodhaa akbar: green)
What are you currently reading
To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt. Romance novel set in the 1760s. I've only read a chapter, so no real comments yet, save that I enjoyed the heroine sighing over how intelligent men were difficult to manage.

What did you recently finish reading?

Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong: This is the last book in the "Women of the Otherworld" series, though I still have a couple other books in the series to read. Like the two previous books in the series, this one focused on Savannah, and followed up on the plot from the last book about a group of paranormals who want to expose the existence of paranormals to the rest of the world. Because it's the last book in the series (though Armstrong deliberately leaves things open for more books if she decides to return, but without actually leaving things dangling) it's a bit overcrowded as Armstrong tries to touch in with as many characters as possible and wrap up their plotlines while giving the book its own plot, but she pulls it together pretty well. Overall, I liked the book a whole lot, but was most fond of the first third of the book, and could have read that setup for Eve and Savannah endlessly, even though I knew it wouldn't be a permanent status quo.

Side note: So, according to Armstrong's introduction, her fans wanted the series to be all werewolves, all the time, and didn't like Paige a lot, and complained when the third book in the series was about her. Apparently, most of her fans are anti-me when it comes to the books, as I've liked all the non-werewolf books a whole whole lot, and the werewolf books range from DNF to "liked it, but not as much as the others" for me. (Though I am glad that her response wasn't to do all werewolves, all the time, but to keep exploring other parts of her world while onyl switching back to the werewolves every few books.)

Taiyou no Ichiwaru by Souryo Fuyumi. A single-volume Josei manga collecting several short stories, largely focusing on women and how they're perceived, or force themselves to conform to expectations. I enjoyed it a lot, but don't really have any comments on the invidicual stories.

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan. Set in an AU 19th century, this is the memoir of the early days of an elderly woman who is the world's premier dragon naturalist. Travels and adventures and dragon anatomy galore. I enjoyed it a lot, but more for the older Lady Trent's commentary and sidebars than for the young Lady Trent's adventures. I did enjoy those, but spent a lot of the book wishing I was a few decades down the timeline. Possibly the start of a series? It's obviously open for sequels, but also stands well on its own.

Did not finish:

The Roman's Virgin Mistress by Michelle Styles. Set in 1st century Italy, everyone is vacationing in Baiae to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Our Hero is summoned by his aunt to stop his cousin from pursuing a shameless and scandalous woman. Our Heroine is said shameless and scandalous woman, who actually has no interest at all in marrying the cousin, and whose scandal is largely based around her uncle's parties having lots of gambling and their being in debt because of his own gambling. Our Heroine intends to inform Our Hero that his nephew is safe, until he offers to buy her off, with a large enough bribe to settle all her uncle's debt. morally outraged, she announces that she intends to marry the nephew for his money. Except, you know, she doesn't. if you're going "wait, that sounds like..." then yes, it really is Heyer's "Faro's Daughter" with the serial numbers filed off and dumped in another time period (and all the tropes and cliches and conflict are VERY Regency Romance) and without the humor. I was going to stick with it just to see if this heroine also abducted the hero and tied him up in the basement, but then we got to "I'll save your uncle from execution if you'll be my mistress, have sex with me now to prove you mean it" about halfway through, and I decided that this wasn't worth taking one for the team for.

What do you think you'll read next?

I got a bunch of books from the library that I saw but could not get due to finances at WisCon, mostly nonfiction, but also Marie Robinette Kowalski's books. I also have the Kelley Armstrong books I haven't read yet, and the last "Artemis Fowl" book, and I'll probably do library books before I read something that I don't have to give back soon
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
What are you currently reading

Nothing at the moment.

What did you recently finish reading?

Finished No Humans Involved.

Swan Prince, a single volume manhwa by Bi that, as the title suggests, is a genderswapped adaptation of Swan Lake. It was cute, but pretty much fluffy shoujo fantasy romance.

All four volumes of Kaori Yuki's Ludwig Kakumei. If you just went "wait, isn't that her really weird fairy tale series where the hero has a collection of preserved women's corpses?," yes, yes it is. The first couple volumes are dark and weird and misogynistic and twisted even for Kaori Yuki, are pretty openly antagonistic towards the heroines of fairy tales, and the series appears to be KY's attempted to answer "are fairy tales princes really all secret necrophiliacs?" The collection of corpses and obsession with beautiful dead things is mostly in the first volume, is mentioned a bit in the second, and then abruptly disappears altogether, and the rest of the series calms down to normal KY levels of crack and weirdness and the stories are more darkly comic parodies. There are considerably more women with lasting roles than I'd initially thought, though they tend to be on the masochistic side (unless they have a healthy streak of sadism) and a lot of the last volume is "women run around shooting people and taking over kingdoms, Lui poses dramatically." The beginning is addictive in the trainwreck horror way, then the rest is more the addictive charming dementedness you expect from KY.

As an aside, KY's sidebars are usually hilarious, but I recommend skipping a lot of them here, as she tends to talk about how she didn't care for a lot of the heroines in fairy tales and was always curious about the princes, though they also reveal a LOT of research into obscure and early versions of various stories. The most memorable of the sidebars is when she's talking about "Cinderella" and said she decided to not include a scene because she thought it sounded too painful and dark for her.* If you've read KY before (or just read up on her), your jaw may have just figuratively hit the floor. Actually, if you read this series and no other KY stuff, there should still be jawdropping, because she has far worse than anything in "Cinderella" in this series, some of which she made up for herself.

*Presumably, she was referring to the stepmother and stepsisters being attacked by birds at the wedding, as the toe and ankle lopping off were mentioned.

By Loved Unveiled by Sabrina Jeffries, a reissue of a book from 1993 written as Deborah Martin. Set during 1661, the plot revolves around Our Heroine attempting to prove that her father was not involved in an attempt to assassinate the king, and believing that Our Hero, whose family owned her father's lands before the war, and who has returned to claim them, may be responsible. Our Hero, in turn, thinks she may be a spy sent by his dastardly uncle ("dastardly" is the only proper term), who is possibly a traitor, and who told everyone that Our Hero was dead for years so that he could run off with the family jewels. Lots of "I am very suspicious of you and think you may have committed treason, but boy are you hot" hijinks ensue. I generally enjoy romance novels (and fiction in general) set in this period, and I mostly enjoyed this. "Mostly" because...uhm...I DID mention that it was written in 1993, right? For the most part, it holds up well, but the hero is prone to being an alpha jerk, and way too sexually aggressive and there's a scene that borders on dubious consent. That said....err, worse is still being published now in that regard, and there was certainly far worse coming out at the time.

What do you think you'll read next?

Not sure. I have a few romance novels and Kelley Armstrong books checked out from the library.
meganbmoore: (labyrinth: reading)
What are you currently reading

Still reading (and loving) Kelley Armstrong's no Humans Involved. Most of my reading time this last week was taken up working on rarewomen. (I now have a fic I don't hate. Now to think of a title I don't hate before the 4th.)

What did you recently finish reading?

The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vine by Jayne Fresina. A romance novel that told me it was about a crossdressing heroine, the titular Ellie Vine, who pretends to be a French highwayman at night who robs her childhood nemesis's mistress of his family's jewels. (The sparkly variety of family jewels.) Tracking the highwayman down, Our Hero, James finds a halfdressed Ellie instead and (with a lot of encouragement) comes to the conclusion that Ellie is the highwayman's mistress, and cat and mouse hijinks ensue. Sadly, this is only the first few chapters, after which, the crossdressing lady highwayman part is largely dropped (aside from an impersonator that's running around), and it becomes a fairly standard fake engagement (with a side of fake amnesia) Regency romance. Aside from some late conflict relying way too much on people jumping to the wrong conclusions and failing to communicate, it was still a pretty enjoyable book, BUT I WANT MY CROSSDRESSING LADY HIGHWAYMAN BOOK. I feel a bit cheated.

What do you think you'll read next?

Pretty much the same things I hoped to get read last week: some manga and library books.

For the curious, I read 9 prose books and 14 graphic novels in April.
meganbmoore: (too many books)
What are you currently reading

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong. A "Women of the Otherworld" book focusing of Jaime, the fake celebrity spiritualist and real-life (in the books) necromancer, as she and other fake spiritualists get together to film a TV special in a haunted house that may has acctually been the site of grisly stuff in the past. I'm enjoying it a lot so far.

What did you recently finish reading?
Did not finish:

The Landlord's Black-eyed Daughter by Mary Ellen Dennis. THIS MAKES ME SAD. VERY VERY SAD. It wasn't even bad, really, just so terribly terribly modern in sensibilities. There was the fairly standard "I want you to think I'm being as historically accurate as possible, but will have my heroine be utterly atypical and hot by modern standards of beauty," but also when people were discussing her books and the characters (and the hero and heroine were thinking about the characters), it felt like modern people looking at an 18th century text.

Did finish:

Forbidden by Kelley Armstrong. A werewolf book that I actually liked and have no major complaints about. (And a male werewolf in the series besides Jeremy who I like, though I initially though it was going to be about said werewolf, and not Elena, and considered not reading it because I'm like that.) It's a "Stranded in a small town where weird things are going on" plot, but a pretty decent one.

The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan. Prequel novella to Milan's current series, the heroine is a disgraced governess seeking either justice or revenge against (she's not overly picky about which it is) a nobleman who raped and impregnated her. Hero is said lord's fix-it man whose job it is to get rid of her. The plot has a lot of potential and I liked the heroine, but...well, the hero went to work fixing the problems of a man he knew going in was a reprehensible human being with his eyes wide open, yet somehow spends a lot of the story having deluded himself into not coming to the obvious conclusion because his boss denied the rape possibility. He gets better towards the end once the truth is out, but he made it a bit meh. The only other of Milan's books that I've read is Unveiled, which I did enjoy a lot, despite also having issues with the hero early on. (Though not nearly like this one.)

What do you think you'll read next?

Library books, which are mostly the Armstrong books I haven't read yet and romance novels, and hopefully some manga.
meganbmoore: (pillars: alienna reading)
(I remember a time when about 70% of my content was posts on individual books.)

The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne: Romance novel about a French spy and a British spy who have been freinds, lovers, enemies and rivals in various combinations over the course of a quarter of a century, beginning in the French Revolution. I don't recall Bourne's first 2 books incredibly well, but I remember both having interesting and rather different premises but the books not quite living up to them, and the heroines being rather out of the norm but being defanged somewhat to make the romances work. I rather loathed the hero here at times but I suspect my subconsciousness recalls him better in the previous books than my consciousness does, and my reaction is more related to that than this book, a few scenes aside. Not as good as it could be, but quite different from most of the genre.

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher: The short and unspoilery version is that the 13th installment in the Dresden files is a fun and entertaining book in which the most interesting things, sadly, are the things going on offpage with the supporting characters, and which Harry (and so we) only see a bit of or hear about. Molly has been slowly becomin the character that interests me the most over the last few books, and that held true here as well. I like to think that my hopes that Molly will eventually be Maggie's mentor are supported by this book, but am sure that my not-so-secret desire that the series eventually switches from Harry to Maggie as the central protagonist will never happen. The resolution to the mystery from the end of the last book was fairly predictable, but that's OK.

Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore: Sequel to Magic Under Glass, featuring a good story and a woefully whitewashed cover. Everything in the book springs pretty much directly from the first, including the new characters and their plots. This one focuses a lot more on the fae and the fae court, but it's not to the detriment of the book as a whole. (Though, if you're like me and watch Once Upon A Time, one particularly dramatic and serious scene might accidentally become funny because you picture Josh Dallas popping us and asking if you've tried "True Love's Kiss.") The world remains a very engaging blend of history, steampunk and fantasy, though I wish more of it would be explored beyond the pseudo-Europe beyond Nimira's memories of her homeland.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George: Light and largely adorable medieval-lite MG book about about a 12-year-old princess in a castle that's always changing (rooms and corridors move and change size, conditions and dimensions, new rooms spontaneously appear) who, along with her teenaged brother and sister, has to protect the castle (and kingdom) from advisors and a foreign prince when her parents disappear and are declared dead. A bit heavy heanded with the "place as character" at times, but probably not as much so from the perspective of the target age group, and less reminiscent of the "Castle Perilous" books than I had expected, with lots of spy!princess shenanigans and some political maneuverings that are amusingly naive at this point in life, but which I probably ould have thought brilliant when I was 12.

The Squire's Quest by Gerald Morris: This is I think the 9th or 10th book in the "Squire's Tales" series. Good but not one of the best in thr series, this adapts "Cliges," a source text which Morris seems to look at about the way he views "Tristan and Isolde," only moreso. It's most notable, probably, for being one of the few books to focus primarily on the series's titular character, Terrence, and his running around investigating things and being suspicious of Mordred was considerably more fun than the "Cliges" parts. I think there are only one or two books after this, given the presence of Mordred and his obvious plotting.

Cloaked in Red by Vivian Vande Velde: A collection of 8 adaptations of "Little Red Riding Hood," the best part is probably the author's foreword, in which she spends several pages boggling at the tale and it's popularity. The stories themselves are a bit hit-and-miss, and largely have little to do with the fairy tale beyond the surface. My favorites were "Little Red Riding Hood's Family" (a bit of a nod to urban fantasy) and "Granny and the Wolf" (in which the wolf is female and Granny's pet, and Granny has an unwanted suitor), but while a couple made me go "Err...what...?" (possibly deliberate) it's a pretty entertaining, light read.
meganbmoore: (next stop: amnesia)
Pretty decent but not outstanding batch of romance novels, with the exception of Venetia, which was excellent.

The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh: Part of Balogh's "Dark Angel" series, I believe, though I don't remember character names from the others well enough to spot the crossovers. This is best summed up as "Future duke hires governess to marry him so he can horrify his father with his unsuitable bride, things get out of his control." The latter part largely referring to the heroine deciding to fix all his family's problems and make him and his father talk to each other like sensible human beings of sound mind. Which is actually more interesting than the perfectly decent romance.

A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh: I like the concept of this one more than the actual book. The heroine (who has a Scandalous Past) enters into what is essentially a comfortable marriage of convenience with a man 10 years younger than her and the book is about roughly their first 2 years of marriage and the awkwardness of figuring out you love someone who you only expected to be (and were only supposed to be) comfortable friends with and figuring out if their feelings have changed to. Unfortunately, the end result is a bit dull when it shouldn't be, and the conflict that's evwntually introduced isn't one that I cared much for.

Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare: The first half of Dare's debut novel is entertaining, though only really stands out from every of Regency Historical by beiginning with the heroine essentially sexually assaulting the hero. (HERO: "Uhm...what...?" ME: "Uhm...what? Well, not exactly the norm...") The second half of the book consists of the leads having no clue what the other thinks or wants due to their not talking to each other while living under the same roof and jumping to conclusions. I'll check out Dare's other books (I have several) based on the entertaining bits, but I've read many better debut novels.

Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer: Entertaining, but I couldn't help comparing it to Lady of Quality, which was a lot more entertaining, and one of my favorite Heyers.

Venetia by Georgette Heyer: By far the favorite of my mot recently read Heyers. I was uncertain about it at first because it's a rake plot, but that becomes fairly irrelevant (aside from a bit of "I'm no good for you!" stuff later on) before long, and the leads become friends before they become lovers (even if one initially intended otherwise). Lots of great dialogue (my favorite bit is when the leads are trolling her uncle about orgies) and I like that most of the action takes place in the country in this one, instead of a city.

Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer: Also entertaining, but with a makeover plot, and I'm not fond of those. I did like that it was the guy who got the makeover, not the girl, but I feel that a lot of it was so that Cleone could Learn The Error Of Her Ways. Also, Cleone was absent for a lot of the book, and she and Philip didn't spend a lot of time together. It's an earlier Heyer, and it shows, especially in how the banter between the leads isn't up to Heyer's normal standards.

The Taming of the Rogue by Amanda McCabe: This has (I think) the questionable quality of being the first of McCabe's books I've read that's set in England, with both leads being British and having lived their entire lives in England. This is a fairly typical but enjoyable Elizabethan romance, spy hero and all. It's largely set apart by the heroine helping her father run his theatre (and less savory properties as well) and the hero being a playwright and actor, as opposed to either or both being nobility. Not my favorite of McCabe's books, but still pretty fun.
meganbmoore: (lady audley)
Cousin Kate appears to be Georgette Heyer's go at writing a gothic romance. As such, it's a pretty servicable gothic, but also relegates most of Heyer's strengths to the sidelines.

Kate is a governess fallen on hard times who is abruptly reunited with her rich aunt-her father's half-sister, Minerva-who whicks Kate off to her counntry mansion and begins to not-so-subtly push Kate at her son, Torquil, and very determinedly away from Torquil's cousin, Philip. Torquil appears to be on the unbalanced side, things go bump in the night and make mysterious loud shrieking noises, servants show up with mysterious wounds, and people-particularly Philip-like to make oblique comments semi-warning Kate about things to the point where you want to reach into the book and go "Sweet mercy would you just say what you mean and get it over with already!!"

All of which is perfectly fine, except that Heyer's strength is in character interaction and dialogue and in her leads' sparring with each toher and sometimes others, and there isn't much of that here. I felt like I spent the book in the first half of Arabella where Arabella and Beaumaris barely interacted and I kept waiting for things to get going, but without Arabella's very fun second half.

Not a bad book and worth reading, but I don't think I'm very likely to reread this one.
meganbmoore: (mm: reading material)
This is, I think one of the more popular Heyers, and I can see why. I'm not sure it'll end up one of my favorites simply because I didn't like Vidal a lot of the time. I mean, I did at some times and didn't at others, but he was mean to his mother early in the book (but nice to her later) and I feel there have been far, far too many Vidal's in my fictional life over the years, even if there were far, far fewer in fiction when Heyer wrote this.


The Marquis of Vidal is mad, bad, and has every vice you can think of and drives everyone bonkers with his sinning. After one duel too many, his father (apparently far worse in his own youth) decides to exile him to France. Vidal decides that it will be a bit lonely to go alone and sends a note to Sophia Challoner, who he has been planning to run away with, to meet him before he leaves. Sophia's super-practical older sister, Mary (I love Mary), accidentally intercepts the letter and realizes that Vidal wants Sophia to be his mistress, while Sophia thinks they'll be eloping. Mary goes in Sophia's place to make Vidal think Sophia has only been playing with him, and gets abducted and dragged to France for her troubles.

I decided to like it when Mary gets a gun that may or may not be loaded and use it to defend her honor, then shoots Vidal when he tells her to. At which point, he decides that Mary is an honorable young lady and he should marry her, while Mary decides she should stay in France and become a governess. Then Vidal's flamboyant cousin, Julianna, and her staid fiance and their romantic troubles show up and further complicate things, and there are many misunderstandings and chasing people around France.

The abduction aspect works better than it should and it's lots of fun, but think I needed to read it many romance novels earlier to love it the way others do, though I did like iot overall a lot.
meganbmoore: (aiw: jabberwocky)
This is, I believe, the 11th book in Liu's Dirk & Steele series, but can largely be read independently, though scenes pertaining to the series as a whole may make you “bzuh?”.

Lyssa is the daughter of a dragon and a witch. Who is secretly a famous yet secretive children’s artist under a pseudonym, but who lives in the sewers because she must forever be in hiding. And because one of her arms is covered in scales and the fingers on the hand attached to it are rather clawlike. Eddie is an agent of Dirk & Steele (aka "The X-Men, if the X-men were a detective agency and considerably less soap opera-like") who is almost abnormally nice and polite in this day and age and who has a tendency to burst into flame. As they are the leads in a romance novel, yes, the sex actually is a tad on the dangerous side.

Eddie is sent by Dirk & Steele to find and protect Lyssa when the agency learns that she's being hunted by evil superwitches. Lyssa isn't exactly thrilled to suddenly have a a bodyguard, but decides he's pretty useful. Along the way they get rid of abusive fathers, tangle with various forms of good and evil witches, face off with the scary lady dragon and hang out with shape-changing, one-eyed female mercenary captains. (Never forget, Liu is the one who actually had a character run away to join the circus. If she can think of a way to include something, it'll be there.)

It's fun and there's a lot of development with Liu's mythology for witches, most of which was interesting, but I kept getting the feeling that this shoe was going to drop and I'd hate the shoe. It didn't really happen, but I kept having that FEELING as I was reading it. It’s also a bit disappointing as “Eddie’s book” because fans (at least, the ones I know) like Eddie because he’s super nice and not because he’s angsty and has Tragedy in his past.
meganbmoore: (borgias: lucrezia/giulia)
This is a medieval romance set in the 1290s and centering around Edward I's attempts to take over Scotland. I really liked the first half, which focused on two childhood friends, Isabel, who becomes one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting and gets involved in courtly scheming of all kinds, and Rachel, whose family moves to Scotland after Edward exiled the Jews. Both acquire strapping Scottish rebel hunks as love interests, as one does, but I really liked the focus on and contrast between Isabel and Rachel's lives and how the politics of the time affected both. it focused more on Isabel than Rachel, which disappointed me a bit because I really liked the idea of a medieval romance with a Jewish heroine, even though I actually did like Isabel more, and Jewish protagonists are extremely rare in romance novels. Then again, Isabel also had more adventures and got to show how she dealt with things more, so it's a bit of a catch 22 situation there to a degree.

The second half was mostly Braveheart ground, but with a much greater resemblance to actual history. It was good, but forgot about the girls for long stretches, and so I didn't like it as much as the first half. I still really liked the parts with Isabel, but thought Rachel's parts in the second half came close to punishing her for making smart choices instead of romantic choices. While the second half wasn't as much my thing as the first half, it was still very good and I thought both romantic plotlines were well done, and plan to read Givens's other books. (I, uhm, wish they weren't all Scottish though.) After Braveheart came out it seemed like every other historical romance had a Scottish hero, half of whom got to teach stuck up English girls about how awesome Scotland was and how bad England was, and I kinda got antagonistic towards anything resembling a Scotsman in a romance novel for a few years there.
meganbmoore: (gatd: sunset kiss)
Various Baloghs, mostly older books. Read over several months and comments jotted down as I read them. All decent-to-good except for one book that I'm trying to forget exists.

cut for length )


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