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Some books & stuff [Dec. 31st, 2016|04:00 pm]
Ha- I am attempting to write this without the aid of my journal. This will be a mess.
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2016 in review [Dec. 31st, 2016|03:53 pm]
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Books of 2015 [Dec. 31st, 2015|04:10 pm]
Unfortunately, I did not keep scrupulous track of when I read each book this year. So here goes!
(ugh, did I seriously only read 28 books this year? In my defense, some of them were very long. EDIT: More like 31.)

January and February
The Girls of the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine- A+ (Jazz-era "Dancing Princesses" retelling; spectacular)
Rogue Spy, Jo Bourne– A- (not quite as good as The Black Hawk, and also a little kitschy with family)
Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison– A+ (a truly excellent reread– I was not capable of appreciating it properly in high school and am now furious that Don never considered this a contender for GAN)

March-June (what is my life)
Middlemarch, George Eliot– A+ (still excellent, although I was able to appreciate the role finance played in the narrative much better this time)
Perfect Fling, Carly Phillips– B (I wasn't too impressed...)
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, Sarah MacLean– A- (good romance, FUN gender swap... but I hate secret child narrative)
Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas– B+ (bahahaha, ludicrous hottie assassin fantasy novel for teenage girls, so enjoyable)
Crown of Midnight, Sarah J. Maas– B+ (the same! but now, she is a FAIRY PRINCESS hottie assassin!)
The Thief, Megan Whalen Turner– A- (decent middle-grade fantasy set in Alternate Greece)

Americanah, Chimamanda Adichie– A (stellar writing, soupy plot)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu– A- (stunning worldbuilding, non-Euro centered fantasy... a really dark view of nation-building & whether trust/alliance are ever possible)
The Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner– A (superior middle-grade fantasy set in Alternate Greece- good heavens, what intrigue)
Sonata for a Scandal, Lawson– A- (romance set amongst the Romantic music era- an interesting look at erasure of female art)
To Dare the Duke of Dangerford, Ewers?– C (nonsensical Regency-era romance; why must there be aristocrats? and a cake-baking contest??)
EDIT (FOR FORGETTING, PART III): A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner- A- (more scheming, this time with Sophos)

The Duke of Dark Desires, Miranda Neville– B+ (well-written romance featuring an escaped French aristocrat; still kind of soupy)
The Power Broker, Robert Caro– A+ (this is the longest book ever omg; amazing, even if it reads a little gossipy)
The Ruin of a Rogue, Miranda Neville– B (Regency romance, totally adequate; it did involve house-cleaning, that was fun)
Oreo, Fran Ross– A (the myth of Theseus, set in 1970's era NYC; I wanted to love it; I couldn't quite; but oh, did I admire the chutzpah)
The Problem with Seduction, Emma Locke– B+ (an interesting look at "legitimacy" and the respectability that money cannot buy in the Regency era)
A Dangerous Invitation, Monroe– A- (a romance set in the gutter! it read like Oliver Twist, but with alcoholism, grave-robbing, and sex)
Great and Unfortunate Desires, Gina Danna– C- (rotten writing, Orientalism at its finest, an obvious villain, and a douchey hero)
Start Me Up, Nicole Michaels– B (sweet small-town romance involving a divorced blogger and a hot mechanic)
Before We Were Free, Julia Alvarez– B+ (decent writing, odd plotting; a YA look at Trujillo's hold on DR)
Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch– A- (great worldbuilding of Alternate London; probably not the best place to start the series)
EDIT (FOR FORGETTING): Uprooted, Naomi Novik– A (lovely fantasy novel about girls and patriarchy and power)

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson– A+ (ahhhhhhhh SO GOOD HALP)
Hip Check- B (solid hockey player-nanny romance)
Shadowshaper, Daniel Jose Older– A- (fantasy set in Bed-Stuy; the villain is gentrification. The ideas are great, the writing is elementary)
EDIT (FOR FORGETTING, PART II): A River Runs Through It, Norman MacLean- A (gorgeous writing, distressing misogyny)
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2015 in review [Dec. 31st, 2015|03:40 pm]
I can't believe I skipped a year!
(Yes I can)

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2013 in Review [Dec. 31st, 2013|10:47 pm]
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2012 In Review [Jan. 6th, 2013|07:27 pm]
[Current Mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[Current Music |How Will I Know]

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58 Books for 2012 (Or, "you mean. . . he is more fun than books?") [Dec. 28th, 2012|10:48 pm]
[Current Mood |frustratedfrustrated]

Sheesh, who knew having a boyfriend would put such a serious dent into my reading? (Anyone with a brain, I guess...)

Dreaming Of You, L. Kleypas- B+ (good girl, bad guy; kind of ridiculous but sweet)
The Untamed Bride, S. Laurens- B- (Indian adventures! and it's STILL BORING)
Second Violin, J. Lawton- A- (dark moody WWII-era mystery set in the UK)
Chain Reaction, S. Elkeles- C (boring; those Fuentes boys are played out)
Darkest Mercy, M. Marr- A- (a tidy ending to Marr's faery series; maybe too tidy)
In Death compendium, J. D. Robb (Holiday, Midnight, Conspiracy, Loyalty, Witness)- B+ as always
The Perfect Mistress, B. Krahn- B
Dangerous In Diamonds, M. Hunter- A (lyrical romance writing, delving into gender inequality and power dynamics)
The River Knows, A. Quick- B- (Victorian era mystery solving with boring romance elements)
Black Silk, J. Ivory- A (a stunner of a Victorian era romance)
Legend, M. Liu- B+ (cat and mouse between teenage masterminds in dystopian future)
Sorcery & Cecilia, P. Wrede & C. Stevermer- A- (sweet epistolary novel in alternate Regency England)

Across The Great Barrier, P. Wrede- B (well developed alternate America, a little boring)
The Grand Tour, P. Wrede- B (sequel to Sorcery &....; a little boring)
Big Girls Don't Cry, C. Linz- C (small-town romance)
The Gunslinger, S. King- B+ (great language play, dull everything else)

A Lot Like Love, J. James- B+ (romance, FBI)
Maybe This Time, J. Crusie- A- (creepy ghost story, mild romance)
Scorned By The Boss, M. Child- B (funny/terrible secretary romance)
A Secret Affair, M. Balogh- B (widowed commoner-turned-duchess takes a lover... meh)

Grave Mercy, R. LaFevers- A+ (fantasy, ya, historical; assassin nuns, kissing)
Nothing But Trouble, R. Gibson- B (contemporary romance; washed up athlete & personal assistant)
Silver Phoenix, C. Pon- B (ya fantasy, AU China; delicious food descriptions, mixed-race love interest, repetitive plot, awkwardly creepy villain)

Hotshot, J. Leigh- B+ (Blaze Harlequin; sexy, romantic air force pilots)
Going For It, J. Leigh- C+ (Blaze Harlequin; virginal sex advice radio show host)

Shatter Me, T. Mafi- B- (ya, dystopian future, slightly repetitive/predictable)
A Lady's Lesson In Scandal, M. Duran-B (historical romance, class inequality, long-lost heir... meh)
Treachery In Death, J. D. Robb- B+ (as always!)

The Survivor, R. Nelson- B- (Blaze; nice girl, nice man....)
Serendipity, C. Phillips- B (small town romance; rich girl, bad boy)
N.Y. to Dallas, J. D. Robb- B+ (yikes, past coming back for Dallas!)
The City and The City, C. Mieville- A- (AU fantasy; terrific worldbuilding, weak plot development)

Between Shades of Gray, R. Sepetys- A- (historical ya, soviet oppression, camps)
Sweet Spot, K. Angell- B (contemporary romance, baseball, gross I am over hearing about pregnancy and wives)
We'll Always Have Summer, J. Han- B+ (ya, lyrical writing... TSTL heroine? :( )
The Difference Engine, W. Gibson- A- (steampunk, great worldbulding, frustrating plot)
The Name of The Wind, P. Rothfuss- A- (fantasy; solid worldbuilding, strong writing, the same boy hero in every fantasy bildungsroman)
Gemini, D. Dunnett- A (aaaah, I can't believe I finished this series!)
Accidental Love, G. Soto- B+ (cute ya romance among chicano students in California)

Breaking Night, L. Murray- A+ (holy fuck, intense memoir of growing up the child of addicts)
The Fault In Our Stars, J. Green- A+ (oh man, seriously intense ya novel about cancer and romance)
A Lady By Midnight, T. Dare- A (excellent historical romance novel; hero is terrific and realistic. SWOON)
Bitterblue, K. Cashore- A+ (ya fantasy; PTSD??? omg)
Bed of Roses, N. Roberts- B (kind of boring, and the first time I've ever felt that one of her novels was false)
What Can(t) Wait, A. Perez- B+ (ya, SOC struggling with family responsibilities and school and environment)

A Rogue By Any Other Name, S. MacLean- B (historical romance, sweet)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, R. Carson- A- (ya, political, self-realizing- Spanish based??)
Straight To The Heart, S. Hunter- B (Blaze, marshals, sexy, Texas)

Crossed, A. Condie- B (ya, future dystopia, romance...)

Daughter of the Forest, J. Marillier- B+ (fantasy, fairy tale theme, TRIGGER)
In The Barrister's Chambers, T. Gabriel- C (historical romance, anachronistic, obvious mystery)
The Far West, C. Wrede- B (ya historical fantasy; still don't really care)
Sloppy Firsts, M. McCafferty- A (hysterical YA novel with heroine EXACTLY MY AGE)
Second Helpings, M. McCafferty- A (see above)
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2011 Book Roll- only 86 this year :( [Dec. 31st, 2011|12:20 pm]
No, wait- 87!!Collapse )
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Dorothy Dunnett is destroying me [Nov. 25th, 2011|12:35 pm]
I waited some 4 or 5 years to finish The House of Niccolo, and I still have 494 pages to go. My goodness, though- it seems the intervening years have sensitized me to the point where her writing just takes my breath away. Ahhh, just listen.

"But then, moving about, he had been surrounded these last years by strangers. And loneliness was another name for self-sufficiency."
- Gemini, p. 122

"She said, 'We are all tired,' and he answered, 'I know. But meeting you is like being rewound.'"
- Gemini, p. 123

"There was another blank silence. Then Nicholas said, 'But if I failed, I should bring him down with me. He would lose his guide-rope as well.'
'I'm glad you see that,' said Kathi. 'For if you stray, a lot of people are going to be hurt badly again. Robin won't be alone.'
His face had stilled. He said 'I see.' He didn't inflect it. If he had, she thought she would have heard despair. He said, 'I think you must be the hardest person I know.' "
- Gemini, p. 125

"Always, Katelijne Sersanders had treated her strength like a boundless commodity; a windblown orchard, spinning winter and summer into blossom, in which the fruit never took time to set."
- Gemini, p. 159
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Ladies is pimps too [Oct. 5th, 2011|09:57 pm]
[Current Music |Dirt Off Your Shoulder- Jay-Z]

Julia: I don't think you're doing dumb shit. I think you're doing brave shit.
Me: I think I might be doing both dumb and brave shit.

I have been immensely frustrated with life for the past two years. I've experienced a lot of professional growth, but from a personal standpoint, I've been very stagnant. Sure, I have a decent job, but that was all that seemed right. I felt tired and incompetent all the time. Within the four domains of my life-- friends, romance, teaching kids and Being An Educator, which is the paper/data side of the job-- all was chaos.

Starting in early July, things began to turn around, and now, in the first week of October- holy shit, I think I've got a handle on all four? (I just knocked on wood, because the Chinese side of me is shouting "Don't say that out loud!!") Not to say that I'll never feel exhausted or stupid again, but god, everything feels better. It's such a relief to feel like you hold the reins, or at least, that you are coming close to taking them.

It is such a relief to feel free!

Me: how did I turn into this girl?
Brendan: dunno, but it seems pretty awesome

Oh, and from the world of online quizzes: "Compassion is the most human of the virtues. And you? Your heart has limits far beyond normal levels empathy, and your capacity for feeling the world's pain is boundless. You poor, beautiful, wonderful thing."

Yeah. That sounds like me on a good day. :)
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