Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Book List and Review of 2013

That's right. Today I'm going to talk about what I've read this year. Mind you this list is not complete due to the fact that I can't remember everything I've read. Next year I'll keep a proper tab. Anyway, the list (not in order):
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Fire by Kristin Cashore
LOTR: Twin Towers by JR Tolkien
LOTR: Return of the King by JR Tolkien
The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines
Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
Bronze Gods by A.A. Aguirre
Spellbound by Blake Charlton
Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy
Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy
Coyote Dreams by C.E. Murphy
Somewhere in between 100-200 different manga series, meaning the actual amount of manga books is way higher and somewhere around 1000
at least 100 free original works/fanfiction of good quality.
So that's my list. The titled books are the ones we bought whereas the rest was found online. There might be another 5 books to add to the first part of my list, but since I'm not 100% on that I'll just leave them off.
So! Now that you have my list, what's next? Well I figure I can tell you what I thought of them! In order:
Sunshine... I did not like this one. I got it because the premise looked interesting and it was considered by many to be the best work by Robin McKinley. I was worried as I found her way of writing to be kind of boring in the past, but I figured I'd give it a shot. It didn't go well. It was slow and dragged on for a long time, only getting anywhere in the final third of the book. Mostly it was character introspection... and whining. I will say that it's a good character analysis book, but that was the only real positive I could pull from it. The main character was wishy-washy, going from borderline disgust of another character to vulgar lust, which came on so suddenly I got whiplash. I would not recommend this book.
Graceling and Fire I will do together since I feel the same way about both of these. They're fun. The pacing is great, and there wasn't a moment when I wasn't engaged. A fun, new take on having gifts in a more medieval setting. Gracling was the lighter of the two I feel, but both are fantastic. I have another part of the series, Bitterblue, to read and am looking forward to it.
LOTR: Twin Towers and Return of the King... hmm... I liked them. I found it laggy in some parts, and there were areas of unnecessary information, but altogether a wonderful fantasy.
The Stepsisters Scheme is another I liked, but it made me frustrated. The main character was one that I was constantly shouting at in my head to not do that! because she was too gosh darn nice. I liked the princesses saving the prince though. Role reversal has always been a fun subject for me to read. I'm currently reading the second book of this series, The Mermaid's Madness.
Beauty and the Werewolf is a part of a series where Lackey takes fairytales and spins them into something new. This book combined Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood. It was a little slower than the other parts of this series, but a wonderful addition to it none the less. I recommend it and the rest of the series to anyone who enjoys fairytales and fantasy.
Ah... Bronze Gods... this one was neat. It was written by a husband and wife duo, and is a mystery. It was fun to be engulfed in a world so different from what I'm used to reading in fantasy. It had fantasy elements, certainly, but it was grittier than you usually see, which I enjoyed. The way the two main characters interact was great, and it ends in a way you don't expect (you'd think since it's mystery that'd be a given, but trust me it isn't). People who read fantasy or mystery are sure to get a kick out of this one.
Spellbound by Blake Charlton is the second book in a series. I was pleasantly surprised by this one as it surpassed book 1, a feat most books in the middle of a shorter series cannot accomplish. There are two narrators, and it reads a bit like a mystery novel even though it is definitely fantasy. The use of language in it is wonderful, and I'm not just talking about the way it was written either. Many people in this world are spell castors, and the main male character is dyslexic, which is so freaking interesting you have no idea! Also... there's a dragon in it. So read it.
I'll tackle the last three together since they're in the same series. First off, I love this series so far. So much so that the rest of it is on my Christmas list because I want the rest now! Anyway, this series deals with a Miss Walker who is a mechanic/cop that has to come to terms with the fact that she's a shaman. Urban Shaman introduces us to this concept, along with having the god of the hunt trying to break free into the "real" world. Miss Walker has to try and solve murders, deal with the supernatural, her powers, her boss, and somewhere in between get some sleep. Thankfully she has a nosy taxi driver, a cross-dressing cop friend, and wise-cracking coyote spirit guide to help her.
I know it sounds a little cliché, and believe me it is at times, but it's one of those series where there's so much fun in it that you don't really mind the clichés. For one thing the police work is more like how you'd see it on TV, but if you think about it if it was like real life then you'd be reading a lot about protocol, paperwork, and whatnot, and honestly where's the fun in that? Thunderbird Falls continues on with the whole "supernatural trying to take over" thing, but this time there's witches involved. While not as exciting as the first book in the series it still does perfectly fine on its own.
The third book takes a different turn, dealing with people getting stuck in their sleep with no way out. It was an interesting change of pace, and I really enjoyed it. This book did give me lots of feels, however, and made me want to read the next one the second I was finished with it. I love this series. It's witty, sarcastic, and just oodles and oodles of fun. At least it is for me. Hopefully it would be for you too.
So that's all the reviewing for today. I'm sure I could review some of my favorite manga I've read over the past year, but another time perhaps. I'll just let you mull over this bunch first.


  1. I see my notes helped you, yes? You write good reviews, and by good, I mean well-written.

  2. I was just thinking the same thing Punkle. Her reviews are very well written. I might have to read some of these books.

    1. You should! Spellwright and Spellbound seem like they would be up your alley, and Bronze Gods is just fun.