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Author Topic: "I just read this book..."  (Read 3437 times)


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"I just read this book..."
« on: August 24, 2011, 09:00:13 AM »

If you have recently read a book that you just loved so much you have to tell others (or if you despise it and want to get it off your chest, that's good too), please consider this thread a place to do so. :) 

Courtesies of the Thread:

- No long lists of all the books you've ever loved, please. That can go in a different thread if you really love to list all the books you love.
- Keep spoilers mild! If you really want to share spoilers, use spoiler space.


The Wolves of Winter
By Paula Volsky

Paula is in my "top 5" list, meaning, among other things, that I like to reread her stuff.  She's not on many people's top 5 lists, but she fits me well, like a pair of well-worn leather gloves.

Most of her books are what I've heard called "Historical Fantasy", much like Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series, that tell a fantasy story that is loosely based on historical events. These books (Illusion, Wolves of Winter, The White Tribunal, Gates of Twilight, and THe Grand Ellipse) are set in the same alternative Eurasia, though in different countries. So a lot of the fun is racing to the internet to read more about the real life events that they echo. Some are easy, like Illusion = French Revolution.

This particular one was hard for me to place at first, but I could tell pretty quickly it was Russian. Some sniffing on Amazon confirmed that The Wolves of Winter is based on someone called Richard III...never heard of him.

Am now, however, curious about him, because, hey, Necromancy.  I'm guessing Rasputin wasn't the only powerful Russian accused of shady arts.  What was most refreshing is that you found yourself wanting the "bad guy" to win...you can't help it. But you didn't want the good guys to loose either.

If you like both fantasy and historical fiction, I definitely recommend Volsky. Start with Illusion...that's my favorite and probably the most riveting of them all.


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Re: "I just read this book..."
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2011, 09:05:20 AM »

Reposting my old reviews from JF Forums:

Jan 15, 2008

Neverending Story
By Michael Ende

I had not known it was a book originally. And evidently the author of the book might not have minded, since he asked to have his name removed from the movie when they ended the movie at the half-way point of the book!  Mind you, it was a lovely movie and a satisfying ending, but now that I've read the whole book, and had tears streaming down my face when I finished the last words, I can understand why he would feel that way. 

If you love stories, then you owe it to yourself to read Neverending Story.   I won't say more, because you deserve to experience it without being told why it is so great.

New Moon, Sadar's Keep, and Beldar's Fire
by Midori Snyder

OK, those are three books. And I'm on my 4th read.  I just learned that they were republished (as young adult, but they seem fairly mature to me), so I want to re-gush about this trilogy.  Good character development, interesting plot, well-constructed world, and just good, chewy adventure story telling.  The main character starts out as Jobber, a pick-pocket girl-disguished-as-boy who has the old fire magic (a genetic crime deserving of execution), and by the end there are four main characters, one for each element.  Sounds trite, but it's GOOD.  Most of my old favorites seem trite and shallow to me these days, but not these. 

Not the sort of books that has you crying by the end, but more the kind that makes you miffed that there aren't more coming.  The old "the characters are your friend" bit.  I love those kinds.

Just read, still reading, and will continue to read...

Feb 09, 2008

Vorkosigan Saga
by Lois McMaster Bujold

I'm really getting myself into trouble, because this is something like a...10 book series?  But it isn't one you ought to read out of order, so talking about the one I just read would be fruitless, and really there isn't a book...make that a chapter or paragraph...of these books that is not my personal equivalent of literary ambrosia.  

The Vorkosigan Saga has one thing thing in common with what Jungle Fire would be if we get a good distance in...which is that it isn't just one type of story. A couple of the books are space operas, a few others are spy thrillers, then there's a romantic comedy or two, and something else I think I'm forgetting.   The books are about the character(s), and like real people, their lives don't always follow the same formula.  

So that's the first thing I love about 'em. There's no easy formula to get tired of, except maybe the formula that you really don't know what Bujold will pull next.  She's one of those authors that is very very good at surprising you, without making it seem as if she's trying relaly

Reason #2: Bujold writes beautifully. Never bores, keeps it concise, yet gives you much to savor.

Reason #3: Miles Vorkosigan.  One of my favorite role models for the motto "Fake it till you make it".  He's audacious and delightful and you find yourself scratching your head that you are loving reading about a guy who is ugly and a little hunchbacked and weak. Sorta Tyrion Lannister-esque, without the nasty attitude and a LOT more hyperactivity.

Reason #4: Cordelia, Miles' mother.  She's sane, rational, and like Miles, so human. I'd love to be her friend. She'd be such an awesome friend who'd psycho-analyze me and tell me what to fix in my life in just one afternoon.  She's a betan, which is the universe's equivalents of, hrm, Californians. They're all liberal and forward thinking and a little bit wacky.

I could add more reasons, as many as there are great characters, but this is getting long.

March 26, 08

Been on a sci-fi streak lately.

Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card

Oh goodness, yes, the hype was justified for once.  It was a surprisingly smooth and captivating read, despite the content being something I could easily become very bored with.  Very tightly written and I actually feel I took something away from it...learned something.  I'm now onto the sequel...couldn't help myself.

Definitely one I'll reread at least once.

Of course I had to scurry off to find out if they are doing a movie...and yes, supposedly they are. And a video game. Surprise surprise. I hope if they do a movie they don't get some over-americanized jerk of a kid like they so often do in hollywood.

Red Mars
by Kim Stanley Robinson

A long read, and sometimes it did feel like it dragged...but I was fascinated because I understand that it is based on a lot of solid research and our latest understanding of Mars.  I kept popping my head up with a "listen to this Kael!".

I was so glad there were none of the stupid "zomg there's a fluke accident during entry!" like mars movies always have.  ::)  

And, like Ender's game above, I've got the sequel(s) waiting on my bookshelf.

July 23, 2009

Santa Olivia
by Jacqueline Carey

I love Ms. Carey for her sexy Kushiel books, so I figured I'd try some of her other stuff.  I wasn't disappointed. Read it two days straight, and only that slow because I did have to work. :P  A good, solid, well-spun tale.   What was fascinating was that feeling that there was a much MUCH bigger story enfolding, but you are only being shown one very small part of it. Which is fine, because the part you are seeing is fascinating.  If the writer wants to tell more stories in this setting, great, if not, I am satisfied.

To give a brief summary...it's about a young "werewolf" girl growing up in a quarantined town (between USA and plague-ridden Mexico).  As I said, it's a good, well-told tale. Nothing too profound or emotional, but not trite or cliche either.  Good travel reading for sure...Carey can always take you away from your surroundings.

And, alas, not borderline erotica like the Kushiel series, but since it's not about a trained courtesan, I suppose that's to be expected. :)


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Re: "I just read this book..."
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2011, 09:41:39 AM »

A couple of series that I really got into and am anxiously awaiting the next offering:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This is really my guilty pleasure, it's part historical fiction and part sappy romance, and always sensationalistic. A woman in 1940's Scotland wanders into a standing stone circle and gets transported back into the 1700's where she mets a dashing young Highlander who is a fugitive from the English.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Kind of a young reader fantasy romance, it was offered free on my Nook, and I got hooked. A young girl knows she's always been different, then finds out she's a fairy who has been placed in the non-fairy world to protect her people.


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Re: "I just read this book..."
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2011, 09:54:51 AM »

Lets get started

Tales of Hawaii by Jack London

I bought this book on a flea market in Tallinn. The only other book I've read of this author is White Fang, which I remembered to be draggy, at least to my twelve year old mind. This book was anything but that. With an elegant collection of five short stories, set on Hawaii, he describes the people living there and the fear which rides the waves beating the shore.

The Sandman Book of Dreams Edited by Neil Gaiman and Ed Kramer

I was a little tentative about reading this book, which is an anthology set in Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. My worries were unjust. These authors have all wove great stories, many which are good enough to fit into canon. A must read for every lover of the Sandman series. I recommend you to have read the graphic novels first, but you don't need them to follow.

"I know some think me a fool, or that I am too quick with my tongue, or too ready with the blade -- but I live by my own honor, my Way. I would give my life for any of you."

Thanks to Katcombs for the Ekah sprite!


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Re: "I just read this book..."
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2011, 03:10:49 PM »

Phantom By Susan Kay.

Is anyone familar with Phantom of the Opera (read the book? Seen the musical? watched a movie?) Well if you enjoyed it, then you will enjoy this book. Its one of my all time favorites. It follows the life of Erik (if you don't know who Erik is shame on you!) From Birth Till Death.
Its sooooo good because its always told through first person, but through different view points. So for example one chapter would be told through Erik's point of view, and then one through Christine's. Its very well written, very well thought out, a great book to read if your at all a Phan.

The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

The story is about a 17 year old girl named Katniss. Who lives in a future North America, where it is broken in to 12 districts, ruled by one all powerful Capitol. Every year, a boy and a girl from each district must compete in what is know as "The Hunger Games" 24 teens (between the ages 12-18) are hurled in to a nature.... Not only do the tribunes survive in extreme conditions they must also kill one another, for entertainment of the Capitol. There can only be one winner.

This book was so amazing (in my opinion) Yes, the idea is pretty twisted... but its really good. It kept me on the edge of my seat and i could not put it down. Its a real page turner. I would highly recommend this book.

The Host By Stephanie Meyer

Ok, so i'm not a fan of Twilight. I was a fan a few years ago, when the books were passed around by word of mouth. When the only people who knew about it, where other book worms. But as i got older and movies came out, my fancy for them diminished, and I can barely get through a single chapter.
"the host" is completely different from Twilight. Even her writing style is different then Twilight, its a completely different book. I LOVE Science Fiction and i was surprised by this book. Its one of my favorite books.

The host is about aliens coming to earth and taking over human bodies, creating a perfect peaceful world. When Melanie (a rebel human) gets captured. An alien called Wanderer is placed in her body. Unlike most humans when the 'soul' is inserted in to the host, their human selves disappear. Melanie will not go away, she remains in her body, not allowing Wanderer to see her memories and voicing her opinions often. Wanderer and Melanie eventually go on a journey to find Jared (Melanie's lover) and Jamie (her little brother) only they quickly discover they have bitten off more then they can chew.


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Re: "I just read this book..."
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2011, 04:59:35 PM »

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This is a story which will make you believe in God. Must admit that when I heard that, my skeptical self rose to the challenge. And that is what this story is. It seems like a boring story of how someone survived in impossible conditions, but is so much more than that. It wrestles with religion, educates the reader,  has a lot of adventure, horror and is truly one of the best books I've ever read.

"I know some think me a fool, or that I am too quick with my tongue, or too ready with the blade -- but I live by my own honor, my Way. I would give my life for any of you."

Thanks to Katcombs for the Ekah sprite!
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