Saturday, March 5, 2011

What I've Been Reading Lately

What with all the traveling I've been doing since the new year, I've managed to get in some decent reading time. I was trying to keep track of everything I read in 2011 but when I was messing with the format of the blog I lost that list. I hope I can remember them all.

The Way of Kings
by Brandon Sanderson
Sanderson is one of my favorite authors. I read the book the first time in November, when it came out. I'm reading it again now--and taking notes.

So, you say I'm a geek? Fine. It's certainly not the first time I've done that for a book series. One of the things I loved about the Harry Potter books was Rowlings' ability to write in layers, providing clever clues for diligent readers. Reading those books is like a treasure hunt. The picture to the left is a page from my copy of Half Blood Prince.

Well, Sanderson's got that suble, clever style as well. When I read this book the first time (and it's a tank folks--1,001 pages. Significant number anyone?) I read it just to see what happened next. I can only compare this book to looking at a painting from a far distance and seeing the overall beauty. Then as you come closer it to it, you begin to pick up the intricate details and realize there's so much more going on than you originally thought. Several members of my family have read the book and a few friends as well. Our conversations usually run like this:
"Did you notice ...?"
"Yes! But what do you think this means?" or "No! You're kidding!"
It's entertaining to compare notes with other fans to see what they picked up that you did not. I guess it's obvious that I loved this book and highly recommend it. A coworker who read it commented that it could serve as the curriculum for a college class on ethics and values. I wish all college text books could be this fun to read.

The book is the first in a series of ten, and it does take a while to get into because Sanderson builds the world and shows its rich history and many cultures. The tale centers around three main characters Kaladin, Dalinar, and Shallan. Some of the storylines (Kaladin especially) are more compelling right now than others. But they're all tied together, and Sanderson drops all kinds of oh, so casual comments that seem to scream of bigger things to come. Each chapter begins with a little blerb, and they make you wonder what's going on and sometimes seem a little creepy. And they are creepy, when you find out more about them at the end. I can't wait to read the next book--which he hasn't written yet since he's finishing up the Wheel of Time series.

Star of the Morning
by Lynn Kurland
This is the first book of a romance fantasy series, and I really enjoyed it. I kept reading this morning even though I had other things I needed to do. Grrr. It left me hanging. But it's got magic and fighting and likable characters. I laughed a lot. I love strong, brave heroines, and Morgan doesn't fail in that. I love that she's absolutely forthright in her comments to everyone but especially to an unwanted traveling companion (who happens to be a King incognito). She thinks he's not a very good fighter and an idiot besides--and she has no guile in telling him exactly what she thinks of him. She's such a blow to his inflated ego. You go, girl.

Poison Study,
Magic Study,
Fire Study
by Maria V. Snyder
The story begins with Yelena, who at 19 has been a condemned prisoner for nearly a year awaiting her execution for kill her torturer. In her society, no killing is allowed for any reason unless they are at war. Hauled out of her rank cell, she is dragged before Valek, assassin to the Commander (ruler). Valek tells Yelena the Commander's food taster recently died (hazard of the job), and he needs a new one. Since the food taster must be someone condemned to die, Valek offers her the job. So she must decide...death now or may death later. Seems like a pretty easy choice to her. The story becomes more complicated when Yelena discovers she can do magic, something that is expressly forbidden by the Commander. Everyone found able to do magic is executed. Yelena's adventures continue in Magic Study and Fire Study. I had to keep reading to find out what happened.

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme
by Krista Davis

I'm not normally a mystery genre reader, though many of the books I read have mysteries that must be solved. I downloaded this to my Nook while in Hawaii. Sophie Winston is a wonderful cook and runs an event planning business (her life is more complicated than that). She's invited to be part of a Thanksgiving Cooking Event put on by a wealthy entrepreneur. After getting supplies at the store, she discovers a body--a private investigator who had a picture of her. Then at the event, she stumbles over the murdered entrepreneur. Now the police are looking at Sophie as a possible suspect in both killings. And then things really get complicated. It was a fun, entertaining read. Since the main character is an incredible cook, it made me hungry. I will be looking for more books in the series.
by Patricia Briggs

This is the first book Patricia Briggs ever wrote. I'm a big fan of her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Masques is set in the same world as some of her other books (Steal the Dragon and When Demons Walk). I enjoyed the book and have already purchased Wolfsbane the sequel that was released recently.

My Fairy Fair Godmother
All's Fair in Love, War, and High School
both by Janette Rallison

I read Godmother to my granddaughter, while I was in Hawaii. She loved it as much as I did. You can read a detailed review here.

War is about Samantha whose lack of attention to her studies has resulted in dismal SAT scores. To beef up her resume, she decides to run for student body president. Her journey (and a competition with her enemy/friend Logan) provides her with a different view of people and their motivations, including herself, and how thoughtless words and actions can hurt others. One of the things I really enjoy about Rallison's characters is that they're good people at heart. But even good people can be mean and thoughtless at times. You don't have to be a "mean girl" to be mean.
Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins
I'm reading this again as part of a reading group. I loved it, and you can see my previous review here.

Courting Miss Lancaster
by Sarah M. Eden
Loved this book. For a detailed review, you can click here.

Second Kiss
by Natalie Palmer
I loved this sweet little story. Click here for the review.

There are just so many books to read. I seriously need a clone!


  1. Wow, you have been busy!

    I can't wait to catch up and start that Brandon Sanderson book.

    Call me geeky but I think your taking notes sounds like a good one. I'd be most interested in knowing what your method for note-taking is, what you underline and what you look for.

  2. I still can't believe you missed that detail about Shallan. :)

  3. Don't you love when you get into reading groove with lots of good books?

    I finished Anna and the French Kiss last week and adored it! My daughter couldn't wait to get her hands on it, lol. She loved it too.

  4. Ian, when I first started taking notes for the HP books there was not method. But I was a member of enough online reading groups that I eventually color coded by topic the things I noticed in the books. Some were the make my case in how I thought the series would end but others were to debunk theories of other people.

    Robin--well, you didn't pick up what I noticed about Dalinar. : P

    Susie, I've lent that book to several people at work now. They all loved it, too.

  5. I love your book choices! I've been reading Patricia Briggs too!

    -Shannon King


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