August 04, 2020, 12:19:10 AM

Author Topic: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought  (Read 9112 times)

Offline night_wrtr

Well, this was my most productive reading month I think ever. Which makes sense, since I have not been writing too much, but that will change soon and my reading will fall back to a crawl.

10 Books in January:

FireBlood - Jeff Wheeler (3 stars)
A few struggles early on, but the story finds traction later. I don't want to spoiler anything, but I don't feel like there was a real conclusion. It feels like a set up for book 2. I'll read the next book because I enjoyed the story, but I think more could have been done to satisfy a few things left open in this one.

The Kick-Ass Writer - Chuck Wendig (4 stars)
A book on writing that is fun to read? If you've read Chuck's blog, you know what you're in for. If not, you should take a spin. His humor isn't for everyone, but he mixes that with great advice for those of us working hard as unpublished writers.

Stormdancer - Jay Kristoff (4 stars)
Great setting with a strong lead character. It was something different, which I loved.

The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction - Philip Athans (3 stars)
Genre specific advice that is pretty basic stuff.

Forgotten Soldiers - Joshua P. Simon (4 stars)
I enjoyed the read. The first half of the book made me angry, but that was due to what the characters were going through. A soldiers life is hard, something we shouldn't forget. I would have given 5 stars, but the ending was not an ending for me. I'll move on to the next book, regardless. Great writing.

Wayward Soldiers - Joshua P. Simon (4 stars)
The story is great, but again with the ending. It feels like this should all be one long book, but instead, it was divided into chunks.

what if? - Randall Munroe (3 stars)
Lots of crazy questions, but most are pretty interesting.
My favorite: "Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns?"


Dryad-Born - Jeff Wheeler (4 stars)
Better improvement from the first installment, with lots of exciting scenes. I enjoyed the characters and the magic, which is a strength of the book. Looking forward to reading the next one!

Half The World - Joe Abercrombie (5 stars)
Now that was a damn good story. The writing was great. The characters excellent. And let's not forget one of the best fight scenes I've ever read!

The Palace Job - Patrick Weekes (3 stars)
I'm giving credit for creativity and several good jokes, but really the issues kicked me from the story too many times.

The good:
Unicorn shapeshifters, talking warhammers and a bizarre world. There is even a zombie...

The bad? the other?:
POVs all over the place and the characters are not very deep. A couple were memorable, but still not as developed as they should have been. The audiobook helped to keep the characters separate with accents, but I still had a hard time distinguishing one from the other.

The plot was slow to start, then skipped around, which assisted in the confusion of the story. I finished the book, but about 75% through it started to lose me.



I expect to finish Resurrected Soldiers - Joshua P. Simon tonight at some point, so that might make 11!  8) :o

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2016, 07:02:33 PM »
Here it is: The what did you read in January thread.
(since it had already started in the other thread hehe - @xiagan, could you please move night_wrtr's post here?)
 
Come share your list and what you thought of the books you read last month. We're not looking for full out reviews, just a brief couple of sentences that sum up your impressions.
This is also not a contest for who read the most books, I know some of us struggle to find time to read one book a month, and others manage a dozen. That doesn't matter, so don't feel reluctant to post if you have read less books (or way more books) than others. This is all for sharing, and if you read anything, come let us know what it was and what you thought of it.
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Offline Lanko

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2016, 07:19:20 PM »
I had 11 books in January. However, half of them were very short (~200 pages) and two of them I was already halfway through. One I even had started in 2014!

MY FAVORITE: Beyond Redemption, by Michael R. Fletcher. Magic system is based on insanity. Pyromaniacs gain fire abilities. People with multiple personality disorder can make clones of themselves. People who wants attention all the time becomes so needy they mind slave people, and so on. The prose also flows extremely well.

The others:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman. 5/5.
Full of symbolisms, memories and such. A book that you probably can reread years later and go "yeah, I know".

The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, by Michael McClung. 3/5.
This is currently winning, and most likely will win the SPFBO. I can understand why, but I had some problems with character motive and her sidekick.

Sins of a Sovereignty, by Plague Jack. 3/5.
The grimdark of the SPFBO. Very graphical in the beginning, but actually loses the graphical violence by the end. However, it has a plot twist that you really won't see it coming.

Beyond Redemption, by Michael R. Fletcher. 5/5.
 My favorite of the month.

Murder in Mesopotamia, by Agatha Christie. 5/5.
More like 4/5, a lot of suspects don't get "screen" time, but I was in high spirits for catching the culprit  ::)

Crossover, by Paul Proffet. 3/5.
Starts good, a mob guy and a girl who can see the future. Guy is marked by the mob. Girl goes to demon world when she sleeps. But it lost tension and characterization when a ton of people and faction started joining.

What Remains of Heroes, by David Benem. 4/5.
I think this is the only one who can win the SPFBO over Thief. It has one of the worst first chapters I remember, and starts very cliché. But later on the expected clichés never happen and you get a bit surprised. Now I'm wondering if the author started like this on purpose.

The Emperor's Soul, by Brandon Sanderson. 5/5.
Really awesome book. Even better for someone to start with Sanderson. It's very short, yet he put so much substance in it. Would be the month's pick if Beyond Redemption wasn't there.

Sixth of the Dusk, by Brandon Sanderson. 5/5.
Even shorter than the above. ~60-70 pages. But awesome worldbuilding. It hints to a very Avatar feel, and in only 60 pages Sanderson puts to shame Cameron's 60 year old dream.

The Face Of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme, by John Keegan. 5/5.
I was looking for the psychological effect of battles, before, during and after. It has plenty of technical stuff as well, but I really liked what I read. Very curious things, such as the wounded not receiving treatment right away as everyone thought they did, precautions on where you slept (or you could be mistaken for dead), the aftermath results, conscriptions, etc.

And the other one was a philosophy/political book with no translation to english  :P
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 07:24:14 PM by Lanko »
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2016, 07:21:56 PM »
Here are mine (since I don't plan to finish anything tonight):

Pyramids, Terry Pratchett
A re-read to start the year, it was fab. I didn't remember anything at all, and the physics/quantum connection was super (I love that)

Valour, John Gwynne
Book 2 of his series, I loved it. And I love how he picks up a 'traditional trope' (I've heard this described as 'the Belgariad as it should have been written') and turns it on its head. I think it was Marc who wrote in his main site review 'if you like your heroes and villans black and white' (or something similar), but I don't agree at all with this. Yes, the reader knows (although there were still moments where I had my doubts), but some characters don't, and that brings a whole light into the actions.
Also, John writes perfect and realistic battles, in my basic opinion!

Starborn, Lucy Hounsom
Her first book, quite enjoyable. A restricted set of characters, a small number of locations, makes a nice difference from most books. Good ideas, and while it's book 1 of a trilogy (book 2 just got a cover reveal on the main site), it actually works quite well as a standalone.

(and I'm just a little over halfway through Ruin, John Gwynne - to be included in next month's list, hehe)
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Offline eclipse

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2016, 07:35:41 PM »


The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braids, by Michael McClung. 3/5.
This is currently winning, and most likely will win the SPFBO. I can understand why, but I had some problems with character motive and her sidekick.


Her wizard friend was way overpowered it sometimes felt he was the one doing everything.the story was okay I think I placed it forth in my list out of the ten novels but I felt there were three far better books better than this one in my view.
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Offline xiagan

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2016, 07:48:22 PM »
(since it had already started in the other thread hehe - @xiagan, could you please move night_wrtr's post here?)
 
Sure. Will be the first post in this topic though (posting time matters). Hope you can live with the introductory post being second. ;)
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Offline Raptori

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2016, 07:56:44 PM »
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
The Humans by Matt Haig
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
The Price of Valour by Django Wexler
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson


I also re-read The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson.


...I don't think I'll write out my thoughts for each book this time.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2016, 07:58:15 PM by Raptori »
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Offline Lanko

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2016, 08:00:31 PM »
I wish Goodreads had half-stars.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline eclipse

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2016, 08:05:12 PM »
Megan Whalen Turner not heard of her.
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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Offline Raptori

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2016, 08:11:36 PM »
Megan Whalen Turner not heard of her.
When I first joined here, I asked for some recommendations for something with atypical setting, likeable characters with grey morals, plus a bunch of other stuff, and The Thief was recommended (by one person). Haven't ever encountered it anywhere else, so I was a bit wary about trying it, but was really impressed. I posted about it in a little more detail in the currently reading thread just after finishing.  ;)
I wish the world was flat like the old days, then I could travel just by folding a map.

Offline Nighteyes

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2016, 08:28:14 PM »
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

My 3rd read of this novel.  A definite classic but not my favourite by either writer.

Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell


Sharpe falls afoul of the army and some nasty officers, is recruited by Wellington's spymaster to go on a top secret mission, gets the girl, loses the girl, saves the British army during a lovingly recreated true historical battle and gets promoted.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes


Very clever novel, but not a comfortable read. 

Sharpe's Triumph by Bernard Cornwell


Sharpe falls afoul of the army and some nasty officers, is recruited by Wellington's spymaster to go on a top secret mission, gets the girl, loses the girl, saves the British army during a lovingly recreated true historical battle and gets promoted.

The Three by Sarah Lotz

Another clever and very creepy novel.  Loved how much of it was left to the reader to decide. 

Sharpe's Fortress by Bernard Cornwell

Sharpe falls afoul of the army and some nasty officers, is recruited by Wellington's spymaster to go on a top secret mission, gets the girl, loses the girl, saves the British army during a lovingly recreated true historical battle and gets a telescope from Wellington.

Filmish by Edward Ross

A history of film theory told through the medium of the comic strip.

Sandman:Overture by Neil Gaiman

Excellent prelude to the Sandman series.
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Offline Annomander Matt

Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2016, 08:32:08 PM »
Had a really strong start to the month, before taking of the last 10 days or so. Still was able to rock thru 13 novels and one novella:

The Black Star (Cycle of Arrawn) - This was an OK series in my mind. Can't quite place what I felt was missing...

Caine's Law (Acts of Caine) - Absolutely loved this series. Definitely unique in the fantasy genre.

All 6 Books of Codex Alera - Another series that I absolutely loved.  Really hope that Butcher can find time to revisit Alera in the future.

5 of the 6 books of The Godling Chronicles - Standard farmboy chosen one trope that started off a little slow, but as the world building and history started getting  sprinkled in during books 3-5 I found myself really enjoying it.

Precessional Integrity (Riyria) - Fun little short story with Royce and Hadrian

Offline Mr.J

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2016, 08:46:20 PM »
Novels:
A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab - 5/5
Really enjoyed it, a lot of fun and magical frolics in alternate London's. I pre-ordered the sequel straight away.

The Vegetarian, by Han Kang - 5/5
Not a fantasy, a translated work from South Korean author Han Kang, a really dark, touching, twisted little book about a woman's shocking decision to dare challenge what is expected of her. Gripping and emotionally disturbing.

Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence - 4/5
A hell of a book, brilliantly written, very compelling. I still don't like Jorg.

The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente - 4/5
Really fun fairyland story, great world, great characters and very intelligent and knowing take on the fairy story. Lots of great imaginative words and mythological creatures I'd not heard of too.

The Emperor's Soul, by Brandon Sanderson - 5/5
A novella, but still. Fantastic book, amazing central character, fascinating magic system and powers, a really engaging and compelling story. A great introduction to Sanderson for me!

Comics:
Saga: Volume 5, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples - 4/5
Another great volume, not the best by any means considering the previous trades, but still really entertaining and just shows how good the rest are.

Moon Knight: Vol 1 - From the Dead, by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey - 4/5
Love Moon Knight, such a weird fucked up guy. Some amazing art and fight scenes in this, bit short though.

Alias, Volumes 1 & 2, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos - 5/5
So great, such awesome stories, fun dialogue. Amazing character. Love Jessica Jones.

Bitch Planet, Vol 1 - Extraordinary Machine, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine de Landro and many others - 4/5
Really great feminist sci-fi story, refreshing read, sympathetic and kick ass characters. Plot is not its strong point.

Offline Yora

Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2016, 09:13:00 PM »
Kull: Exile of Atlantis: Robert Howard's first attempt at writing about a barbarian who becomes king of a great nation. Interesting read for historical reasons, but I think Conan is the much better and entertaining series.

The Desert of Souls: This one I really liked! I am constantly looking for new fantasy books of my prefered style and this is one of the cases where I found exacrly what I was looking for. It's not highly refined literature and overall I think the author was a bit too cautious and lacking audacity, but it's still a great adventure tale of swordfights, monsters, and sorcerers. You get these so rarely these days and here's a great example of how it's done.

Tales of the Jedi: I've read this comic series before some years ago and I had remembered it being a lot better than it really is. People who are big fans of the ancient Old Republic will probably find it quite interesting to see many of the often referenced events and people firsthand, but as a story it's really very bad and the art is very weak.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: What did you read in January? Come share your list and what you thought
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 10:05:53 PM »
I love @Nighteyes's summaries of Sharpe: I've never read one, but now it feels I know them all ;D
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