cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
Rather than keep getting further behind I will post all this behind a cut: this is all of January except for four books by Robin Stevens that I loved and which will get their own entry. Someday.

Sarah Dressen, Dreamland
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit
Yoon Ha Lee, Raven Stratagem
Yoon Ha Lee, Revenant Gun (x2)
Sherry Thomas, Not Quite a Husband
Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy
Stephen King, Riding the Bullet
KJ Charles, Wanted, a Gentleman
Jenny Lawson, Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Naomi Alderman, The Power
Megan Abbot, You Will Know Me
Elin Gregory, The Eleventh Hour
Emma Newman, Between Two Thorns (the Split Worlds, book 1)


Books read, January. )
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
Just finished:

Circling the Sun,, Paula McLain. Fictional biography of Beryl Markham, about whom I wrote my Yuletide story last year. I put off reading this then because I didn't want it to get in the way, and ended up reading it on a recent plane trip instead (obviously I started reading the opening shortly after take-off and then remembered how many plane crashes were likely to be canonically involved in the text...).

It starts very near the same place I did - 1936, although it starts with Beryl's transatlantic flight, which I think was September, and I put my story in July (ish). Then, however, it goes back to Beryl's childhood, and works forward to end with the flight arriving in the US. Nothing after is included. I can see why McLain's done this, but it did leave me feeling a little shortchanged. If I hadn't known some of the rest of Beryl's life? Probably yes, although I would have lacked the detail. I'd have no idea Markham wrote herself, for example, because picking that section of her life cuts out the appearance of her highly acclaimed memoir, West with the Night (and means McClain doesn't have to deal with any of the controversy over whether or not she did actually write it. It also means that the shape of the narrative becomes Out of Africa with occasional horses and planes, being much more about the tangle of relationships, licit and otherwise, among the white landed settlers in Kenya, than about Beryl herself.

It's not a bad book but it lacks any sort of edge or uncomfortableness to it, qualities which I feel the real Markham had no shortage of.

JL Merrow, Relief Valve and Heat Trap, volumes 2&3 in the Plumber's Mate series. Psychic plumber solves crime and works on his relationship with a PI who bullied him as a child. I find these soothing, entertaining and very British. I also read the first of her Shamwell Tales series, Caught! and liked it but something is putting me off about the blurb for the next one.

KJ Charles, Rag and Bone. Magpie Lord universe but different leads, and I've just realised on checking the author's webpage that the interesting decision to start *after* they've begun their relationship is because I missed the short story prequel. Oops. Taking place at the same time as Jackdaw, which I have in progress, and I will probably comment on both more when I finish. Excellent. Also has a black British lead, which is vanishingly rare in historical romance.

In progress:

KJ Charles, Jackdaw, as above.

Up next:

The read, renew or return unread decision. I have an Anne Perry (one of the Monk books, yes I know, but I get them from the library), Georgette Heyer's An Infamous Army and Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests on the books from the library shelf, all due back in the next 5 days. Hmm.

Weekly picture book concern:

The bit in Pip and Posy: The Scary Monster by Axel Scheffler (more well known as the Gruffalo artist) where Posy makes cupcakes, putting them into the hot oven very carefully with lots of textual warnings. Then Pip comes over and they go outside to play in the garden until tea time. They then eat the cakes which are a) not burnt to crisps and b) iced. No one else appears to live in the house. I keep wanting to add a bit where the oven's on a timer or where an obliging but invisible relation handles things.
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)
I have updated my Chocolate Box signup, here - fandoms are Final Fantasy VII (Zack Fair/Cloud Strife), Ghost Trick (Missile & Sissel) and Dragonlance (Caramon Majere & Raistlin Majere), latter two fandoms are friendship requests just in case anyone is contemplating these with bemusement.

My goal for the week is to acquire some new icons. Hmm. Actually, my goal for the week is to work out how many icons I can have.

Just finished:

Jane Cameron's My Friend Cousin Emmie. Off the back of <[personal profile] oursin mentioning them, but I also tried to read a couple of these when I was a teenager and didn't get them. I now have the first four on library request, so obviously this one (mid-series) worked for me. Very well-observed character studies, and an extremely impressive almost unnoticeable shaping of events into narrative.

KJ Charles' Think of England. M/M historical romance, Boer War veteran attends country house party in the hope of finding the person behind the sabotage that killed his friends and left him crippled. Encounters effete foreign poet-type who turns out to be more than he was expecting. Great characters, interesting time period, bit too many convenient bodies in the denouement. I would definitely read more with these two but she seems to be extending other serieses first.

In progress:

Margery Allingham's Dancers in Mourning. This, like the Jane Cameron, was a grab from the assorted newish books (both obviously newish reprints) stand at the library. I've read at least one Campion and liked it. This has a very good first line but I'm only about a chapter in and can't say much else. Set and written mid-30s, song-and-dance setting.

I have started Kaje Harper's Nor Iron Bars a Cage (fantasy m/m) on my iPhone and am just posting this here to remind me. Hasn't grabbed me but am still in the angsty backstory.

Up next:

In a fit of optimism I grabbed another one of Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters books (Blood Red) as well as the Allingham. Also, the Jane Camerons, once they finish being in transit.

Abandoned:

The chess book I picked up when I was thinking about writing Chess/Hav fic for Yuletide, Gary Fine's Players and Pawns. I have tried to read bits of it anyway and it's just not at all compelling. I also got put-off by the beginning, which describes a chess tournament and says "The diversity is impressive", outlines various ethnicities, ages, classes, races and occupations, and then says, "A few are women.".

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