Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Round-up for early 2013

I made several resolutions regarding books this year. First, there's the usual "read a lot of books" resolution, which I then modified to include "read 26 new authors this year" to force myself to branch out a little more.

As of today, the end of February, I've read 14 new novels (5 by authors new to me), and reread 2 novels.

The rereads: March Upcountry by David Weber and John Ringo: a lot of fun if you just want action and aliens with a hint of romance.
One Shot by Lee Childs, which is the basis for the movie Jack Reacher: one of the best in the series, less action than the movie, and more plot lines.

The new authors:
Kylie Chan, author of Blue Dragon, Red Phoenix, and White Tiger. A fun fantasy/horror romance set in Hong Kong and Australia. Recommended if you're into that kind of book.

Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity. A wonderfully written first-person account of two teenaged girls, spying in France during WWII. Very moving and clever. Highly recommended.

James Smythe, author of The Explorer. A really strange SF novel that, IMHO, went too far to the literary and ended up disappointing me.

Maggie Stiefvater, author of Raven Boys. An excellent YA fantasy with sequels coming soon. I did NOT spot either of the major plot twists, which (I think) speaks highly of the author's story-telling skills. Recommended.

Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe. A YA generation-ship, dystopian SF novel that did a nice job of telling its story without overloading on either the science or the pathos. I'm looking forward to the sequels. (Note: my husband thought it was only so-so.) Recommended.

The rest of the new books:
RM Meluch: Wolf Star, The Ninth Circle, Sagittarius Command, and Strength and Honor. A fun SF series about a future where the Roman Empire has risen again to command the stars and challenge the USA for control of the galaxy. Recommended only if you like this kind of novel.

Joe Haldeman: Marsbound. YA SF novel about a teenaged girl and her family who move to Mars. The first 3/4 were ho-hum and then the last 1/4 was amazing. Not sure if I will seek out the sequels.

Charles Stross and Joe Haldeman: The Rapture of the Nerds. SF novel about the recent future, when half of humanity has uploaded, and a neo-Luddite seeks to avoid all things technological before he's called upon to save the world. I'll be honest... I nearly quit four or five times, and eventually skipped the middle 1/3 to see if the book got any better. It did - a lot better - so I went back and forced myself through the slow parts. It really is worth reading, but you'll have to be patient with it. Recommended for lovers of hard-extrapolation SF, or anyone who likes the authors' previous works.

Karen Lord: The Best of All Possible Worlds. A quietly SF, discretely romantic, totally wonderful utopian novel. The story is so gentle that you have to search behind the words to really piece out what's happening. After all the dystopian SF I've been reading, this just felt like a breath of fresh air. Highly recommended.

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