I’ve been reading in fits and starts: some days I read for hours, others I don’t open a book. I can’t really explain why my reading mojo is so erratic, but part of it is reading a number of books that started slowly but then really sucked me in. I’m calling these “summer escapes” because they immersed me in their worlds.
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
I’d like to write a full review of this one, but I had an ebook from the library and returned it as soon as I finished, since others were waiting. I like Ana’s review at things mean a lot, though I’d say my feelings were more mixed. If you want a sense of the plot as context for my random comments, read it! I agree that Novik successfully builds from a quiet coming-of-age story to an epic fantasy–and then returns to a quieter note, and I too appreciated the way the “man vs. nature” theme of the Evil Wood gets reconsidered as the story goes on. But I definitely preferred the quieter parts of the story (this is almost always true for me. It’s like super hero movies: I like the origin story/discover your powers part, and then it’s all giant special effects action scenes and I get bored). Uprooted‘s battles used magic in some original ways, but there’s a certain sameness to the rhythm of battle scenes, and I found myself skimming as they took over the book. I did like that Novik acknowledged the cost of slaughter, though this wasn’t fully developed; it made the battle scenes less cartoonish. So often battles seem to have stakes only for the protagonists and everyone else is treated by the narrative as cannon fodder. Continue reading
Posted in chicklit, fantasy, non-fiction, review, romance
Tagged Beth Kendrick, Grace Draven, Naomi Novik, New Uses for Old Boyfriends, Radiance, Rob Lowe, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Uprooted
June’s TBR challenge theme is “More than One” (multiple books by this author in your TBR). I was spoilt for choice since I have a bad habit of being caught up on buying an author even when I’m not caught up on reading her.
Given my struggles with last month’s challenge book, I wanted something I’d love, so I narrowed it to two authors: Jeannie Lin and Molly O’Keefe. Here is where I admit, shame-faced, that while I had read and loved one book by each, and then bought a lot more books by each, I had still only read the one. They are both way overdue to be pulled from the TBR. My choice of Lin’s Tang-dynasty historical The Lotus Palace was sparked by reading her blog post on not seeking reviews, because she’s an author I think deserves a much wider audience. (Don’t worry, Molly O’Keefe, I plan to get to one of yours soon).
So how did it go? I loved it. Continue reading
This week saw yet another “what’s wrong with Romance” post. If those posts are written to a script, so is Romanceland’s response, and indeed the predictable cycle followed:
- tweetstorm erupts
- critical comments posted on article
- [optional for online only-publications: half-assed-apology/justification, invitation to Romanceland to write a romance-positive post–for nothing, of course]
- takedown posts written by one or more bloggers
- Romance-positive hashtag created; and
- (Romanceland’s solution to every problem) Books Recommended
It’s not my purpose to criticize these responses, exactly. I’ve done many of them myself (which is why I use the universal “we” in what follows. It might not include you). But I think that Romanceland finds these “what’s wrong” posts useful, so much so that if they didn’t exist, we would have to write them ourselves . . . under a pseudonym.
Because when a post gets some things very, very wrong (Fabio hasn’t been on a cover in decades, and actually it’s quite easy to find a romance novel without a rape in it, and it always was, even in the “bodice-ripper” days), we don’t have to ask ourselves what it might have gotten right. When it makes sweeping generalizations, we can reply with the same. We don’t have to think critically from within the genre about popular tropes or about how we construct the Romance community, because we’re oh-so-busy fending off wrong-headed attacks from outsiders.
Here are some questions we’re not asking: Continue reading
I already complained about how May is so busy at work I’ve had little for reading. But what little I have read, I’ve enjoyed–except for that TBR Challenge struggle. And maybe precisely because I haven’t been doing much actual reading, my reading aspirations have bloomed. Yes, this summer I will read 1000 books, at least half of them over 500 pages. Summer is when I try to commit myself to big reading projects. Serious non-fiction, for instance, is rarely something I can tackle when the intellectual demands of teaching prep and grading are at their height. My beach/back deck reads can be a bit . . . hefty. Although I hope to read plenty of fun stuff, too.
Here’s what I’ve been reading, and some things I’m dreaming about reading in the next couple of months. I’d love to hear about your summer reading plans, too. Is summer a time with long stretches to read, or do you read less because you’re doing other things? Continue reading
Posted in mystery, review, romantic suspense
Tagged Agent to the Stars, Echoes, Jo Bannister, John Scalzi, Laura K. Curtis, One Crazy Summer, Perfect Sins, Rita Williams-Garcia, summer reading