Reevaluating

I had hoped to get at least two reviews up on this space this week, but it’s just not going to happen. Because, hello, it’s Friday and I’ve not written one review word yet for the week. The good news is I’m reading, and I’m reading a lot – for me. The extra good news is I’ve been enjoying (finally!) just about everything I’ve been reading these last few weeks. What a relief after a terrible first half of the reading year. I’ve got a lot I want to say about these books, but I’ve been very tired lately. I’m pretty damn tired now. I have, I admit, been paying more attention to my food blog, but that’s a little easier since I have a partner in crime over there. But it’s still a lot of work and it takes up half of every weekend. When I come home during weeknight’s, I have about three hours before I’ve got to think about getting some sleep so I’m not a zombie the next day (which is interspersed with cooking dinner, getting kidlet to do homework, getting kidlet to stay in bed, etc.) . Somehow, thinking about sleep isn’t helping, and trying to get that sleep is even less helpful. I’m still a zombie the next day. But hey, just in time for Halloween, right?

So I’ve been reevaluating my blog policy and decided that since I can’t get my ass in gear and write anything regularly here anymore, I won’t be offering the space up for author promo for a while. I’ve got to get my momentum back and the best way for me to do so where this place is concerned is to just try to push out some reviews when and if I can. Maybe something insanely magically delicious will happen this weekend and I’ll find the energy to book blog. Maybe unicorns are real, too! Wait, you didn’t know? Yeah, they’re not real.

So because I can’t seem to review anything lately, but I’ve been enjoying some books, here’s what I’ve been a-doin’:

I’m hoping to review this one next and am quite excited because I’ve recently been enjoying a nice little resurgence of romance reading. Lorie Handeland has always been one of my go-to romance authors. I was disappointed a few years ago when it looked as if her Nightcreature series was going to be discontinued. I went so far as to email the author but got nothing very forthcoming about the books at that time. I assumed it was dead in the water, so imagine my delight when I started seeing more PNR romance titles from her. I snatched this one up and let it languish in the TBR pile for a bit, but when I picked it up it was just a if that years-long stretch between it and my last Handeland romance had never happened. While it’ wasn’t 100% perfect, it came darn close for this admittedly jaded romance reader.

Hello, awesome book. You followed up your predecessor so incredibly well. I wasn’t sure, honestly, if I was going to love this book as much as Cold Magic, but it came damn close. In many ways I did love Cold Fire just as much, though, and I’ll explain all that in the review. For now, all I know is I’m over the top in love with the series and am chomping at the awful, metallic Bit of Impatience for book three next year.  NEXT YEAR. Sob. Strong female characters mark this series and their adventures are nothing short of the most imaginative I’ve ever read. I love the world the author has created. I just…I just love it all!

I’ve been reading this series recently based on enthusiastic recs from several fellow readers. It’s my first foray into any Tamora Pierce work and I find myself enjoying these books about a young girl disguised as a boy so that she can become a knight. Girls disguising themselves thus is actually one of my favorite tropes. Word on the Blogosphere was that Alanna is a wonderfully strong, kick-butt character. And while I agree she is, I still have some pretty big reservations about the series so far. At this point I’m a little ways into book 3, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man, and I needed a break from it. Said reservations were getting to me too much. One thing I keep thinking about is how so many say that YA books are every bit as smart and well-done as adult books, and for the most part I agree. This series, though, part of my issue is that so much potential isn’t put to good use. I’m on book three and still am wondering when the book will go more than skin deep with everything: character development, world development, story arc, etc. All of it feels as if I’m only allowed so deep as a reader and that it’s not at a very satisfactory level. If I was being completely honest, which I always am, I would have to say that there are better YAs out there that are along a similar line and give as passionately as this one seems to want to, yet doesn’t in any way for me. Fire by Kristin Cashore comes to mind, and while I had my issues with that one as well, it’s light years beyond what this series offers so far. Also, her Graceling is very much a great addition if anyone enjoys the Pierce series, and is even closer in terms of story. I’m planning to wait till I’ve finished Pierce’s series to get deeper into my reasons and will review the series as a whole. I am enjoying it, I’m just frustrated at all the potential that doesn’t seem to want to explore any deeper than what’s often told to the reader instead of vividly shown. Kudos on the great covers, though.

I received this one from the publisher last week and was excited then because it had come onto my reading radar a little ways back. While I’m still today not the biggest fan of fae-inspired stories, this one did sound good. I decided to give it a try since I needed a break from Pierce’s Lioness series. And I’m absolutely loving The Shadow Reader. It was actually Abigail’s review over at All Things Urban Fantasy that prompted me to fish it out of the review pile and I’m so glad I did. I’m a little torn between labeling this one as straight-up urban fantasy because it comes darn close to being a paranormal romance, but a 100% awesome paranormal romance at least. It contains an element romance-wise I know plenty of readers aren’t gaga about (and I’m not saying what it is, it might be too spoilery at this point, more in the review later), but I’m loving it. LOVING THIS BOOK. I can’t believe it’s a debut author’s book, it reads like a pro that’s been writing for a while and coming in very nicely to her own with her writing. The characters are fantastic, from the awesome heroine to every secondary character that has any role of importance whatsoever. The fae-ish-ness used here doesn’t fall back on what’s been done before, the author has made that angle her own and that angle is sharp, fresh and exciting. Abigail mentioned KMM’s Fever series as a comparison and I gotta say that made me shudder. Personally I don’t see hardly any way to compare it to KMM’s series – I think this is tons better. For one thing, readers aren’t strung along with question after question and left with next to nothing as a result until the next book where you get more of the same. The Shadow Reader is one of the best urban fantasy books I’ve ever read – and I’m only on page 173 out of 307. I may have skipped ahead a little in my rabid, mouth-frothing excitement for the story, which means I so did, and I just cannot wait – already! – for book two. Anyone know anything about book two yet? I need to go stalk the author’s sites.

So there you have it, a small taste of what’s been going on in the small Lurv world. I’m tired but I’m reading. And the reading is good. God love ya, books.

 

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: Contest Alert: Sandy Williams’ The Shadow Reader | Lesley's Reading Heaven

  2. Kenda, you’ve sold, sold, sold me on THE SHADOW READER. Must find a copy soon. It sounds incredibly entertaining.

    On the Alanna front, I’m definitely one of the ones who rave about them, and I hope you haven’t felt too let down. I understand what you mean about depth, and I guess I just want to say that I think YA has come a long way and transformed quite a lot over the last 20 years or so. And this series in particular was a foundational one for YA fantasy with strong heroines who didn’t conform to certain role expectations, etc. What I mean is, I don’t know that the wonderful ones we get now (like GRACELING and FIRE) would have come about were it not for Pierce writing these empowered ones in the early 80s.

    Also, I love George. Something FIERCE. ;)

    • Angie, you make an excellent point about th Lioness series being a building block for YA today! I totally had not thought of that – obviously lol. I do appreciate you pointing that out. And you’re right, YA today has come a long way and I suppose I’m used to them “getting away” with more, maybe.

      I want to say Shadow Reader comes out next Tuesday, so not long at all now! :D I hope you enjoy it!

  3. What Angie said :)

    Also re the blogging. I like your voice and thoughts and always pop back to check out your thoughts. So I am glad that you are keeping going in any fashion. Thanks for doing this.

  4. I only read the first few pages of Alanna and put it down because it had a more MG feel to it to me (probably would have loved it if I discovered it earlier though), but I also read TRICKSTER’S CHOICE and TRICKSTERS QUEEN and loved them. That series may have more of the complexity you want. I am not 100% sure, but I think that duology is aimed at an older audience compared to the earlier books.

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