2010: Recap of My Reading Year Part 2

Continuing my month-by-month recap of 2010 (the first third of the year covered here):

May

Amongst the ten books I read in May was the excellent “Magic Bleeds” by Ilona Andrews.   This series has grown in leaps and bounds – I remember not being impressed by the first book way back when, but am rather glad I persevered.  I think if I had to name my top three UF series, it would be this one, together with Patricia Briggs‘ Mercy books and Seanan McGuire‘s Toby Daye series.

Nothing else stands out during May.  Scanning the titles I’ve jotted down show that I ranked all the rest as “Glad I read”, which is pretty much what it says – I’m glad I read the book, it wasn’t a waste of time (or money!) but it’s not one that really stood out for me.

Oh, I’ve experimented with a new grading system this year (it was a very quiet experiment and I don’t think I mentioned it anywhere!), moving on from letter grades (A, B, C, etc) to a statement-based one (“Glad I read”, “Wish I’d passed”, and so on).  This was because I never really used the full extent of the letter-based grading scale, and wanted to try something more meaningful as opposed to marking everything a B grade (obviously I’ve just moved on to “Glad I read” instead).

Seriously, I’ve found this more useful, but I’m thinking of moving to the equivalent of 1 to 5 stars in the New Year because I’ve started a Goodreads account (err… one review and one friend – hi Estara! – at last count, so don’t all rush over at once).  We’ll see – I don’t shout very loudly about what grades I give books and it took me a couple of years to actually change my grading system, so it’ll probably continue being rather unobtrusive here on the blog…

June

After that slight detour into my grading system, back to books read… I read ten books this month, unusually two re-reads amongst them, though very different ones – Louisa May Alcott‘s “Eight Cousins” and Sharon Lee & Steve Miller‘s “Conflict of Honors”.

“Eight Cousins” was inspired by Angie’s review of its sequel “Rose in Bloom”, and it was fascinating to re-read this as an adult – it is very much a product of its times (1875), for example, when talking about what a woman’s role should be, but at the same time, surprisingly modern in its views on, say, fresh air and exercise.

“Conflict of Honors”, on the other hand, is very much a comfort read for me, and re-reading this book straight after the authors’ latest release “Mouse & Dragon” gave me a slightly different perspective – I’ve always loved how the authors somehow manage to combine space opera with a fantasy of manners, but this time around, having just read the prequel, the events just prior to the start of this book (avoiding spoilers!) felt more immediate and hard-hitting, so there was more of an emotional impact.

New-to-me author – I read Meg Burden‘s “Northlander”, again based on an Angie rec, which turned out to be the type of coming-of-age YA fantasy that presses all the right buttons for me.  Loved.

Oh, and I think I may have finally kicked my Laurell K Hamilton‘s Anita Blake habit this month as well.

July

There were some good ones in the nine books I read this month.  I remember very much enjoying Julia Quinn‘s “What Happened in London”, even though I actually had to go and look up the book to try and remember what the plot was about.  Ahem.  I do recall liking it very much at the time, and thinking it had her trademark Quinn humour.

I loved Sarah Rees Brennan‘s “The Demon’s Covenant”, so much so it was one of the very few books I actually blogged about this year – bearing in mind how much I blogged this year, you know I really really liked it if I posted about it.  Oh, and I enjoyed Kelley Armstrong‘s latest Otherworld novel, “Walking the Witch”, though points deducted for yet another blasted cliffhanger ending.  Seriously.  I have stopped reading series before because of cliffhanger endings – I completely detest them.

August

Wrapping up a post that turned out to be slightly longer than anticipated – I read another nine books in August, including my first books from Carina Press, which has been an excellent addition to the epublishing scene.  I loved both Josh Lanyon‘s “Fair Game” and new-to-me author Harper Fox‘s “Life After Joe” – Josh Lanyon was already an autobuy m/m romance author, and Harper Fox’s lyrical writing and fantastic sense of place makes her another one for me.

I also got around to reading my second Steve Kluger, “My Most Excellent Year”, which was just as good as the first – a very feel-good book.

And I finally read Suzanne Collins‘ Hunger Games trilogy, all three in a month – it didn’t exactly disappoint, but I’m not entirely sure it lived up to all the hype.  On the other hand, what book could?  I ended up liking the middle book, “Catching Fire”, best, but all three were very good summer reading.

So that was the middle third of 2010 – final four months next…

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8 thoughts on “2010: Recap of My Reading Year Part 2

  1. *waves right back* I did a reread of all the Kate Daniels books this year and it’s really good to do that because the little hints from the beginning stay fresh in your mind as the story develops further. I also appreciate Kate’s opening herself up much more this way.
    I like this series now better than the Mercy Thompson series. I do like the Alpha & Omega series just as well – having reread quite a bit of Patricia Briggs fantasy this year I actually miss her fantasy more, heh. I tried Seanan McGuire and while she has unique characters and as unique a voice as on her blog I really bounced hard off October Daye in particular. This GoodReads review says it much better than I could.

    I read or reread the whole Liaden Universe series, except the duology of the founding, and I fell more and more in love with Sharon Lee. Her mystery chapbooks available on Fictionwise – Barnburner and Gunshy were another highlight after reading Carousel Tides.

    I still haven’t dipped back into Sarah Rees Brennan although the first one was deeply satisfying. It was also disturbing and I have found that as stress mounts and I get older I mostly want to read to escape, not get more disturbance heaped onto me. So I have to wait for summer holidays to restore my balance and be able to read books like this.

    • I wish I had made time to re-read all the Liaden books. I was going to, but sort of stalled after “Conflict of Honors”. Not quite helped by the fact I had trouble finding them – I need better bookshelf organisation!

      Heh – I’ve read similar reactions to the October Daye books as well. It’s funny because TSTL heroines normally don’t work for me, and I will admit Toby verges on the umm… slightly dim side at times, shall we say? But for some reason, I can overlook that – maybe it’s the combination of Seanan McGuire’s writing and world-building and the supporting cast of characters that just works for me. I will say Tybalt manages to make up for a lot all by himself… 😉

      SRB’s Covenant did leave a bit of an impression so totally understand you wanting to wait to read it.

  2. Li, I loved Magic Bleeds. It made that month for me too. Fair Game was another book, I enjoyed quite a bit. And well, I just read Life After Joe by Harper Fox and agree with you — late to the party, but having fun anyway on that one. 🙂

    • It’s always great to discover new authors, isn’t it? As I said on your blog, I thoroughly recommend Harper Fox’s “Driftwood” – in hindsight, I think I enjoyed it more than “Life After Joe”, though the ending of LAJ is still the better one.

  3. Oh, didn’t realized you read My Most Excellent Year. Loved that one too. It was just a great book 🙂

    Magic Bleeds was like the perfect installment that the authors could come up with after the events in Magic Strikes in my opinion 😉 Very enjoyable 🙂

    By the way, that’s not a bad grading system, the change. Also, add me to Goodreads!! 😛

    • Oooh, I didn’t realise you had a Goodreads account. I’m obviously very late to the party – I need to start looking out for these.

      What I appreciate about the Kate Daniels series is that both the characters and the overarching plot haven’t stalled – they don’t keep on retreading old ground, instead, there’s growth and development. And I also love the concept of the alternative Atlanta and the mix of magic/technology.

  4. I’m so glad you loved NORTHLANDER, too. It took me completely by surprise.

    And I keep meaning to check out WHAT HAPPENED IN LONDON. Haven’t read any Quinn and it sounds fun.

    • Angie – I never would have discovered Northlander without your review, so I definitely owe you one 😉

      I’m struggling to describe Julia Quinn’s books – let’s just say that she writes the funniest scenes and her characters are totally appealing. I would probably recommend starting with the Bridgerton books though, possibly “The Duke and I”, which is the first in that series.

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