It's been a while. Too long of a while, maybe, because I think I've lost some books in here. My beautiful data! Yet I haven't done anything with that data except make drafts of spreadsheets.
The perfect is the enemy of the good and the posted. I'm late for work. Here.
SK Dunstall, Linesman. I was ready for a ton of Showing Them All. I got way more politics than I was up for-- there was a time I followed political plots more easily, but it is not this time. But even with that, I enjoyed the book quite a lot. It’s the beginning of a series, though, and the time scale is fairly compressed, days rather than weeks, so not every question is answered.
Sabrina Jeffries, If the Duke Falls.
LADY: Don’t assume. Ass, you, me. Mostly you.
LADY: Oh my god you suck.
DUKE: *makes decisions for everyone based on assumptions*
LADY: I cannot believe we are having sex.
LADY: THE END.
I don’t think this is the first Jeffries that I’d rather was written by Milan. But I think everything would be better by Milan. This, though... I could see what she was doing, and the ways it didn’t work.
Carrie Vaughn, Kitty Saves the World. Argh argh argh, this is a time when I know just enough more than the characters to think they are completely missing something. You’ll know it when you see it. Also, what the hell, deus ex machine, what the hell.
Sarah Monette, The Bone Key. A reread because I’d lent it to the boy (now former boy, him having moved) and started reading it at his place. Still very readable. Still very dark in places.
Mary Balogh, Only a Promise. I don’t remember anything of this. But it’s been weeks.
Mercedes Lackey, Closer to the Heart. Valdemar. Heralds. Mags. Kirball.
Kirsty Logan, The Gracekeepers. Gorgeous setting! Lovely ideas! A circus that relies entirely on the goodwill of people that baseline resent it for its debauchery, and the circus people openly and blatantly plan to subvert everything and piss them off, plus extra genderbending!
Except... yeah, no. If you’re a traveling show and failing, you don’t add controversy. That’s for art. You add controversy when you’re safe, when it’s not an issue of you being attacked or starving to death.
The entire book had little things like that. Yes, a subversive circus with people who never have pronouns, that’s awesome. But the worldbuilding didn’t support it. Yes, a series of birdcages meant to act as a burial ground in the water. But people die everywhere and people didn’t quite act right around it.
Hannah Moskowitz, A History of Glitter and Blood. Tell me you wouldn’t pick that up based on the title alone.
Yeah, thought so. It’s a weird, weird book. I mean, it’s about faeries (maybe fairies, I don’t remember) and a city and teenagers and glitter, and the book begins with fairies (or faeries) being eaten. That’s just a thing that happens. And it ends up being layered, with an author but not a clear one, then a clear one, and a general sense of people being in over their heads on several different levels.
But it’s also about the only four-and-change fairies left in a city, and I could only barely make that make sense. Everything worked except the relative scales of protags and settings.
So look at that title, look at the first page, figure out if it’s something you’ll like, because faeries being eaten and metanarrative and weirdly personal revolutions and several different and interesting ways of reproducing.
Connie Willis, Inside Job. Dammit, Mencken, why did you have to suck so much at the things that you weren’t awesome at? I wish you were someone I could admire without reservation.
Unfinished book: nope. I really shouldn’t spite-read things by people who are actively annoying (and misinforming) people I know.
Mary Balogh, Only a Kiss. I remember more of this one than Only a Promise. I’m happy to see that there’s another one coming up. None of this set have been very tense, possibly because I have high standards for emotional distress, possibly because the revelation of various terrible things in backstory becomes pat after a while.
WHAT THE HELL DECEMBER
Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy. This was disappointing in the same way that Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was: I want more than a collection of slightly-related essays. I wanted this to be centered on mental illness, on Lawson’s ways of coping with it, on the community of people she’s discovered and augmented and built, and it’s not that. But if you like her blog, you’ll like this.
Aliette de Bodard, The House of Shattered Wings. Besides a few anachronistic words, my only problem with this book was that it never felt Parisian, only postapocalyptic.
Unfinished Nora Roberts: turns out I dislike the super-rich in her books, but what really throws me in the older ones is the amount of smoking.
Sharon Shinn, Jeweled Flame. Exactly what I expected, that being people who are basically decent experiencing plot. Mostly, I like the cosmology, the blessings, the way Welch works. Plus the throwaway bits about homosexuality-- not worth noticing, we care so little!-- bisexuality-- okay too!-- and asexuality-- totally a thing that happens!