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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » What I'm Reading Now Thread (Page 3)

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Author Topic: What I'm Reading Now Thread
AmieeRock
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If you haven't yet, try Janet Evanovich's Hot Six. I thought it was about the most entertaining of the series. By Eleven, she's kind of getting a little stale, I think.
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KayTi
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Still highly recommend all of the books in the 5 book Elizabeth Moon series that starts with (I think) Trading in Danger. I'm finishing Victory Conditions tonight and it's been a really enjoyable series. Lots of action. Slight bit of romance/love story that thankfully is kept really low-key (couldn't take much more after Twilight, LOL) I am impressed with the military concepts, which I imagine because Moon has a background in the military are accurate. Interesting stuff.

I have packed for vacation Do Androids Dream by Scalzi, On Basilisk Station by Weber, and Ender in Exile which I found on a cart at the library today and grabbed up.

Meanwhile, the kids and I have been listening to Harry Potter books on CD (love Jim Dale's reading of them. and love that someone else can read to my kids for a while - for whatever reason, I find reading aloud to be somewhat exhausting.) We're midway through book 3, and borrowed book 4 from the library today. We'll see if we have much time/interest in playing them on vacation. I hope so, I really enjoy the stories, both as a reader and a writer - seeing how the details make the story come alive, how the plot elements are laid in book 3 for items that come up in books 4 and 5, etc. It's really quite a feat.


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JamieFord
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Reading LA Requiem, by Robert Crais
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Dogmatic
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I'm currently reading volume 2 of "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing Traitor to the Nation". I bought the first book last year solely based on the title having never heard of it. It was a difficult and tragic read and took me a bit to really appreciate it.

Book 2 (which I'm still reading) seems like the author has come into his own. It's an incredibly beautifully sad and poetic book. I would highly recommend these books, volume 2 being one of my favorite books in recent years. (besides OSC of course)

The books are also a great writing example of the simplicity and depth of a story. How the smaller hidden tragedies can be much more devastating then the obvious.

READ THESE BOOKS

Steve


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satate
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I just finished Life of Pi. It's a story about how a boy survives on a life boat with a tiger. I liked it, but I have mixed feelings about it. Sometimes I think it's wonderful and want to tell everyone to read it and then I think it's okay. It was never hard to put down, but kept me interested enough to always pick it back up. Also, this book isn't the normal type of book I'd read. I don't usually like survival stories and it's not fantasy, but I liked it anyways. I guess I'd give it a good.
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BenM
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Ian M. Banks' Matter. A fusion of SF with fantasy themes that exudes Scope - a stupendously fun read. Recommended.
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dee_boncci
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Okay, I've gone back and read some older things I missed when they first came out.

Robin Hobb: The Farseer trilogy (the assassin books) and the Tawny Man trilogy (the fool books). I recommend these, although most here have probably read them. Hobb does a good job with creating interesting characters, and although it bogged down at the tail end, the story stayed interesting for a long time.

Nicholas Sparks: A Walk to Remember. Recommend, a nice story and enjoyable voice.

Nicholas Sparks: The Notebook. Good, better as a movie, I didn't care for the way the plot moved although it was fundamentally a great story.


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wetwilly
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GOOD: The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. A page-turner of a murder mystery that also makes you feel smart because it's also about Dante's Inferno. And the fact that the main characters are major people from American literary history--Longfellow, Oliver Wendel Holmes, etc.--makes it a very interesting read for those of you who are literature buffs like myself.
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pixydust
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Dee, the Farseer and Tawney Man books are the most AWESOME books ever! Fitz is my hero. I second your recomendation. I can't believe how invested I got in that guy. I'm so glad she didn't stop with the first three and let us finish the story properly.

Ah, Fitz.

Okay, so, I'm reading the new trilogy by Gail Z. Martain, Chronicles of the Necromancer. I'm still on book one, The Summoner, but I'm really enjoying it. Interesting magic, and good solid characters.

I just finished Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn. I hadn't read any of her books yet and I'm definitely going to be reading more.

Before that one I read Juliet Marillier's new Sevenwaters Book, Heir to Sevenwaters. A one night read. Short and wonderful. All the Sevenwater books are amazing, though. As well as her Wolfskin and Foxmask. An amazing writer (wasn't as big a fan of the Bridei books, though).


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Robert Nowall
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I'm rereading Gary Giddins's A Pocketful of Miracles, volume one of a two-volume biography of Bing Crosby. I like it better each time I read it.

My only major beef is that it's been seven or eight years, and Volume Two is still nowhere in sight. Giddins hinted at a number of fascinating stories that would be told in Volume Two, but the cutoff date was (more or less) 1940. I was looking forward to it but it still hasn't appeared.

This is a problem with serious biography. It's not the only one I'm waiting for. Two volumes of a life of Orson Welles only take things up to the end of the 1940s. And Robert Caro has promised the next volume of his biography of Lyndon Johnson "sometime in this century."

Meanwhile, I occasionally look online for some further info...and I nearly always check the biography sections of bookstores in case I've missed word of it.

(I'm still waiting for a serious biography of Heinlein.)


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dee_boncci
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Pixy,

Yes, that was an impressive set of stories. I thought the relationships between Fitz and Nighteyes and Fitz and the Fool were remarkably well done. Really, the relationships he had with all the primary characters were extremely well done.

Okay, I just finished Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. I would call it a "literary mystery". In some ways I thought it was extremely well done, but overall can't give it higher than "good". My only complaint is that I felt a little manipulated in the way the numerous flashback scenes were woven into the plot. Another reader might think that the backstory was presented "just in time".


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dee_boncci
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Just finished "Good Omens" (Gaiman and Pratchett). I have to rate this one as NOT IMPRESSED. It wasn't my cup of tea. It came to me very highly recommended, so maybe I had unrealistic expectations for it.

[This message has been edited by dee_boncci (edited April 17, 2009).]


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satate
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I just finished Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and really enjoyed it. It was one of those hard to put down books and now I'm anxiously awaiting the next book. It's a YA science fiction set in the future where some children are forced to kill each other in the Hunger Games. The book was recommended to me by non-science fiction readers who loved it (that's always a good sign to me, if the book can reach those who normally don't like science fiction). I have to give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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KayTi
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Dee - I have Good Omens on the shelf, it came highly recommended to me, too. Bummer that it didn't impress you. I have tried to read it before but couldn't get engaged past page 1. I'm thinking I should start with some other Pratchett book, and read some other Gaiman book too. I haven't. Shocking, isn't it? LOL

But meanwhile, I read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (in anticipation of the movie coming out.) it's a compelling read, fast-paced, but honestly I don't know if it's just me, the genre of mystery/thriller, or what, but I found the way the MC kept eeking out of disaster or just-in-the-nick-of-timing things (though not everything, which got annoying sometimes) or remembering something just at the right moment or what have you to be grating. I'm actually going to pull examples from it for my in-person writer's group for our next discussion. I still liked the book and would recommend it, but with a caveat to other writers that you may find the plotting annoying. I did find the intricate plot engaging, but it was the way the MC got through each of the traps the author laid that annoyed.

I'm looking forward to the movie, though. Huge Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor fan.

Haven't decided what to read next. Maybe Tales of Beetle the Bard...


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Robert Nowall
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Addendum to my above post: (1) the title is A Pocketful of Dreams---this is what I get for posting without the book in front of me.

And (2), thanks to the magic of internet searching, I've managed to scrape up a little information about why Volume Two is missing in action. Seems the writer and the publisher wound up in a dispute about royalties---the writer claiming he never got a dime from it. I don't know if that's true---I'm still sorting out some of the details---but it's certainly a cautionary tale for us would-be writers.


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BenM
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Just finished Brent Weeks' debut book The Way of Shadows.

I felt very ambivalent about this book. The characters seemed wooden and difficult to connect to, though I'm not sure I can put my finger on why. Perhaps it was bizarre contradictions in morality that the main characters were prepared to accept but I wasn't. Whatever caused it, my resulting disbelief of the characters spoiled what could have been an otherwise interesting world and story. Despite being a reasonable first novel, I was sadly Not Impressed.


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wetwilly
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NOT AS GOOD AS THE FIRST BOOK:

The Poe Shadow, by Matthew Pearl. His first book, The Dante Club (see my post about it above), was a really fun read. This one is OK, but not as interesting as the first one. It moves a lot more slowly and the characters just aren't as interesting. It's not bad, really, but it's not all that great, either.


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dee_boncci
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Empire, by OSC. I give this one a GOOD. I nearly put it down after the first two chapters, it just didn't click with me (fortunately I'm not a hook addict) but I kept going and wound up enjoying the story. Card wrestled with some interesting contemporary issues, and once the plot got moving it was a fast, fun read.
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shimiqua
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If your looking for a good Prachett, start with the Bromiliade trilogy. Truckers, Diggers, and Wings.

I didn't love Good Omens on the first reading, but when I read it the second time I found it a lot funnier. Expectations I think.

I could kind of tell where Gaiman began and Prachett left off, and that distracted me from the story the first time through.

~Sheena


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InarticulateBabbler
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I just cracked open Sam Barone's Dawn of Empire. I'll let you know what I rate it later.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (as most of you already know) was good. I loved his magic concept, and the rules so far.


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BenM
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Just finished Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. Definitely not the sort of book I'd normally read, but someone handed it to me and it is a contemporary phenomenon, so I'd like to have my own opinion on it. I'd read a lot of rants about the writing style, and while there were times when it was distracting, I didn't find it all that bad - it's a YA novel, after all. I was more annoyed by the subject matter, which seemed like Bram Stoker meets Mills & Boon. Don't know what I'd rate it though. Probably Not Impressed, but that may be mostly due to the subject matter.

Also onto the last couple of pages of OSC's Character's & Viewpoint so will rate that now rather than double post. Have quite enjoyed it, probably rating it a Good, based on our criteria in this thread.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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And I just finished Randy Pausch's THE LAST LECTURE. It's a great little book--the kind you want to buy copies of to give to family and friends.

I've selected some quotes and posted them in the quote topic--mainly because I think they have application to writing.


[This message has been edited by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (edited May 04, 2009).]


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Robert Nowall
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I recently finished Columbine, by Dave Cullen, which is, yes, about the Columbine High School shooting back ten years ago. It's a little confusing in narrative structure, constantly jumping around between events before and events after...a common failing in a lot of recent non-fiction books.

But it does blow away a lot of the myths and legends that surround the incident. I'll touch on one, that was widely talked about at the time but that I suspected might not be true...that the shooters were not, in fact, "victims of bullies" but were bullies themselves.


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satate
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I just finished Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and loved it. I would rate it a RECOMMEND. I can't wait to read the next ones.
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dee_boncci
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Just finished Obsidian Butterfly by Laurel K Hamilton. This one gets a GOOD. I was pleasantly surprised on this, my first exposure to her Anita Blake character. The novel was no where near as "steamy" as I'd expected from the reputation of the series. It was enough to get me to pick up another by her someday.
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JamieFord
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Flight, by Sherman Alexie.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Hey, Jamie! How are you doing?

Did you ever think you'd be traveling so much for your first book?

I'm excited about how well it's doing, and I'm looking forward to the one you're working on now.


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm reading Kevin J. Anderson's Edge of the World, in case anyone didn't know (a signed, advanced reader's copy).

I haven't finished Sam Barone's Dawn of Empire, it has just been phased off to the side. I've noticed a quite a few redundancies in that story, and they slow down the events and squash the tension. I'll give it a final vote later (keeping in mind it's a first novel), but as of now it's mired--and that's not good.

[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited May 09, 2009).]


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Unwritten
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I sometimes review books (usually young adult)and in return the library near my home gets to purchase the book I review for $1. The librarian picks the books out and she asked me to read Far From You by Lisa Schroeder. I never would have tried it on my own. This was my first experience with a verse novel, and I liked it. I thought it really captured the way a person thinks--honing in on one moment, one sense, one memory. It captured teenage angst in an especially profound way. And it only took an hour to read, in spite of being 350 pages long. I'd definately recommend it. I'm even tempted to write some.
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Kaz
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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: I haven't crossed the 50 page mark yet, but I'm really excited. If it continues to build up this way it's going to be epic.

I've also started Natsume Soseki's I Am a Cat, which I'd recommend to anyone, especially if they enjoy humorous and/or satirical stories.

I'm also getting ready to read Salman Rushdie's latest novel, The Enchantress of Florence. The opening was good enough to deserve smile, so I'm guessing the rest will be good as well.


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MrsBrown
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Re-reading Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. RECOMMEND. Historical fiction, well-researched, likeable characters, covers a long span of time effectively.
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JamieFord
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Hi Kathleen, never thought I'd be traveling this much. I'm really need to say NO for a while and just lash myself to my desk...
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InarticulateBabbler
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Mrs. Brown, I liked The Pillars of the Earth, too--though it voilates PoV all over the place. How many times have you wanted to chuck it across the room because of Sir William Hamleigh or Waleran Bigod?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Yes, Jamie. Write! Write! Write!

I decided to try MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs and I'm quite liking it. I think the characters are more interesting than those in some of the other "werewolf pack" series that are out there. I especially like the point of view character better, but I have a thing for coyotes.


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Kaz
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Finished The Name of the Wind a couple of days ago and it was superb. Filling the void with The Wheel of Time in between all the other books on my list.
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InarticulateBabbler
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Finished Sam Barone's Rise of Empire - Not Impressed, the end was a redeeming quality.

Started The Whale Road by Robert Low. It has a great hook: Runes are cut in ribbons, like the World Serpent eating its own tale. All sagas are snake-knots, for the story of a life does not always start with a birth and end with death. My own truly begins with my return from the dead.

Can you tell it's about vikings.


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satate
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I just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I really enjoyed it, loved the setting, and the characters. I'm excited to read the Jungle Book now since I'm one of those underprivileged people who have only seen the Disney version. Definetly Recommend.
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BenM
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Read Frederik Pohl's Gateway this weekend, something I'd been meaning to do for a long time. Though enjoyable, it certainly wasn't what I expected (though what that was, even I'm not sure). It was a lot more enjoyable than Val McDermid's Kick Back which I finished this week out of sheer stubbornness. Neither are recent novels, and it shows a little, but Pohl's SF has aged a lot better than McDermid's mystery story.
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KayTi
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I've diverged from my Female Warriors In Space phase and am reading the Time Traveler's Wife right now. I'm enjoying it, sort of, but it's got a strong literary feel that is not my preference (heavy on description and establishing mood. Plot is less of the emphasis, though in this book it's not ignored.) I think that the overall tone of the story is so melancholy that I'm having difficulty with that. But still, interesting story told in a very strange but effective (but annoying to me) way - often right after seeing a scene from POV1 character, the author will retell the scene from POV2's character. Very unorthodox storytelling style, but interesting nonetheless.

I'm also in the midst of Harry Potter 7 with the kids, on audio CD. They have gobbled up the audios, and my 7 year old is even keeping pace with us by reading the book as well as listening to the CDs (asynchronously - he'll get ahead in the book, then put it down and we'll catch up with the CDs, then we'll get ahead of where he is in the book and the next time he reads he'll catch up, etc.)

My son (7) broke his arm this past weekend so I'm planning to do a lot of summer reading with him in the mid-grade genre. Lightening Thief is first on our list, along with the Wright Three, books 3 and 4 of City of Ember series, Magic Thief...and probably Artemis Fowl.


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InarticulateBabbler
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KayTi, my oldest (12) just burned through The Lightning Thief, and book 1 of the Ranger's Apprentice series: The Ruins of Gorlan. My kids also absolutely loved The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver--although it's not finished--and the Artemis Fowl books.
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zerostone
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Someone mentioned Evanovich, which is detective fiction much of the time. I've been reading the Lord Darcy series by Randall Garrett, and New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear (whose protagonist is named Garrett, in homage, like Cook's Garrett, PI.)
Would recommend both Darcy and New Amsterdam.



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Robert Nowall
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I like to post every so often about what I've read...if I did it every time I read something I'd be posting something here, well, every other day.

I just finished Stripping Gypsy: The Life of Gypsy Rose Lee. An interesting read...blows away some of the myths that one might take from seeing the musical / movie "Gypsy," which makes it well worth the time...but it's not without its flaws. For example, you would think there would be precise dates for the final illness and eventual death of Mama Rose...


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InarticulateBabbler
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I'm really enjoying The Whale Road by Robert Low. It tickles me the way some of Han Solo's/Indiana Jones stunts do. It is also very reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell's storytelling. I have little time for reading it (which is why I haven't blown through it), but every time I pick it up, it immerses me and gives me a laugh. Highly Recommend. the beginning is a little bumpy, but when it smooths out...lookout, hours are going to pass.
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BenM
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Just finished Larry Niven's Ringworld. Loved it. A great milieu story and a fun example of SF using 'aliens' to amplify differences in characters. Recommended.
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Unwritten
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Pendragon 10 is in my house! It's currently been confiscated by my 11 year old, but I'll get my hands on it soon. I mostly recommend that series. It would have been better if he'd made it a 7 book series instead of a 10 book one, but I think it's an awesome milieu story, and that's coming from someone who doesn't often like them.

It might be a little old for your son, KayTi, but who knows? Some of the stuff on your list would bore my 6 year old silly.
(We were listening to Harry Potter in the car last summer. One day in the fall when the BBC news came on the radio, she heard the British reporter, clapped her hands over her ears and started screaming "NOT HARRY POTTER!"
Melanie

[This message has been edited by Unwritten (edited June 08, 2009).]


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InarticulateBabbler
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Finished The Whale Road, loved it. So, I moved on to book two in the Oathsworn Saga: The Wolf Sea. The title comes from an old Norse proverb: Only the Hunting Hungry set sail on the Wolf Sea.
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MrsBrown
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Almost done with Pillars of the Earth and truth to tell, I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first time around. I can see the problems in the writing more clearly now. It really bugs me when the characters remember the same scenes over and over again, sometimes in considerable detail. I read it already!

It does have wonderful details for daily life in that historical period, and an engaging story. I could do without the rape scenes.

IB, I am eager for those two villains to get their just reward! William never lets up.

Downgrading it to Good.

[This message has been edited by MrsBrown (edited June 12, 2009).]


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Meredith
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I'm currently reading THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothfuss. I'd definitely RECOMMEND this one. There are a couple of small things that bother me, but only one major one. And it probably wouldn't bother everyone. I'm beginning to bog down a little at around page 500, but on the whole it's a really good read.

Before that I read HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON and THRONE OF JADE by Naomi Novik. I'd rate the first as GOOD. I really enjoyed it and was only slightly put off by a style that seemed to try a little too hard to emulate C. S. Forester.

But I have to say NOT IMPRESSED to the second. I just never could get into it, even though I already liked the characters. And reading the blurbs for the next three books, it's obvious that she's taking the story in a direction that doesn't appeal to me.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited June 12, 2009).]


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dee_boncci
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Recently finished Holder of Lightning by S.L. Farrell. I was pleasantly surprised by this. If the criteria for recommend wheren't so high for this thread, I'd probably use it here. As it is, I'll say GOOD.

Also read Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Another GOOD. I haven't read the first book of that series yet.


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satate
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I just finished Brandon Sandersons's Second Mistborn book and loved it. I wish I had book three with me right now so I could start reading it tonight. I found the beginning a little slow but soon I didn't want to put it down. I recommend this book.

I was reading Robin Hobb's Shaman's Crossing, well I'm still trying to read it, but I'm 202 pages into it and I find myself still waiting for it to start. There so much telling and summarizing that she's losing me. I think I'll try and finish it, if I'm bored. She confuses me as an author. I loved her farseer trilogy and the Tawny Man one also. The liveship trader trilogy though didn't hook me and I gave up after the second book. I wonder why her books are so hit and miss with me. I've never found that with any other author. Usually I love (or at the least like) all the books if I love one. Right now I'd have to rate it as Bad since I can't hardly finish it, but I'm hopeful that if I finish it I'll like.


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