What are we reading

scandal by the ton:  none of the characters are particularly sympathetic, and the author isn’t big on authenticity, but this book was still pretty funny

Elizabeth Cole’s zodiac series– These are really good, and as of this typing, the first one is free!

life is too short to waste it reading about heroes who kiss unconscious strangers.  Lack of consent is Not romantic.  (Skipping too many books here.)

how to marry a royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly was fun and amusing.

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay adorably reminiscent of Boy Meets Boy

Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean was just bad.  It started out with a promising first two chapters and then became boring and repetitious.  Heroine yells at hero.  Hero thinks to himself he’s not good enough for her because he’s just a sexy hunk of man-meat.  They do something stupid.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  Either this needed to be a novella or she needs a MUCH better editor because she doesn’t seem to realize she’s already had characters have that exact same conversation in a previous chapter.   It had a lot of potential.  They could have gotten together earlier on without the angst and had half the book be a heist… this would have been in line with some of her fallen angel series.  But no.  BORING boring boring with two characters who don’t seem to like each other except for each other’s bodies.  I am so glad the library had this and I didn’t make the mistake of buying it.

Kay Michaels has a series called the alphabet Regency Romances.  These are none of them great and are of varying quality.  The Tenacious Miss Tamerlane, The Playful Lady Penelope, and The Haunted Miss Hampshire all share a mildly amusing side character who only talks in quotations.  None of these have particularly sympathetic characters– you would not want to be stuck at any of the house parties or be raised by any of the couples, and everybody is pretty two-dimensional, but they’re still somewhat amusing.  Oddly, the Wagered Miss Winslow was actually pretty good with sympathetic characters and a reasonable plot.  I almost skipped it entirely because I hate wagered women books, but in this case she’s not actually wagered… it’s more complicated than that and completely reasonable.  Also, after reading Scot in the Dark it really hit the spot as the couple does get together (mentally and emotionally as well as physically) before the end of the book and spends the rest of it working together for a common goal.  The Belligerent Miss Boynton is worth skipping.  The best parts of it are stolen whole cloth from Heyer and the rest is kind of like Taming of the Shrew and the heroine’s agency is pretty much taken away and then she seems just fine with it for no good reason and then an ex-mistress becomes murderous for no good reason.  So meh.  The Lurid Lady Lockport was surprisingly good.  It’s a forced marriage book and is a bit questionable in terms of the husband’s beliefs about consent (the heroine is never assaulted, but he thinks about it) but the plot and puzzle mystery and side characters were remarkably interesting.  I found myself wanting to know what happened next and stayed up a bit too late finding out.  The rambunctious lady royston was an imitation of one of the worse Heyers with a bored 30-something getting together with a TSTL 17 year old.  Only with even less likable characters than in the original Heyer (where at least the heroine was sympathetic).  The mischievous Miss Murphy also worth giving a miss.  The hero is a jerk and there’s way too much focus on virginity as a woman’s source of value and power.

Kasey Michaels has later work as well, which is more modern–sort of balogh with a sense of humor, and a little suspense.  I really liked Then Comes Marriage, the third in a trilogy, and it is worth reading the second just in order to get the full enjoyment of this third book.  I skipped the first due to feeling meh about the plot and ratings (update:  read it, it was fun, but not necessary to enjoy the first two– a good library read).

Enjoyed Unspoken though it ends on a cliffhanger.  (#1 notes:  It is a trilogy and the third book gets mixed reviews– we haven’t read the next two books yet.)

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Books for #2’s DC1

After this post, I searched through my library history and my memory to see if I could come up with anything appropriate for #2’s kid, who I know a little bit…

Has zie read Tom’s Midnight Garden? I think it’s YA but it’s older, from maybe like 20 years ago.  (Answer:  Yes.)

We decided that Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is too grown-up for hir so far.  Ze’s not really into romance (yet?) and that lets out a lot of books like Jane Eyre.  Ze’s also not that into animals; didn’t like the Redwall books, probably won’t like the James Herriot books (but I do!).

I wonder if zie’s old enough for Nine Princes in Amber (The Chronicles of Amber Book 1)?

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley is a perennial recommendation, which ze has already read.  I remember liking Interstellar Pig, so ze’ll probably try that.  Ze read and liked Hoot by Carl Hiassen.  Sherlock Holmes stories are classics.

I suggested the series that starts with Peter and the Starcatchers, but #2 vetoed it because she hates Peter Pan.  However, #2 wonders if maybe ze’s old enough for The Three Musketeers.

I recommend the Amulet series of graphic novels (the first one is The Stonekeeper), but fair warning:  the dad dies immediately.  I think I’m on book #5 right now.

The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix is on #2’s to-read pile, but she might move it to DC1’s pile instead.  I like those.

To both #2 and DC1 I recommend The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier, which is fantasy adventure with no romance.  I recently enjoyed it a lot.

More suggestions from me…

You could try out The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey (which is not the weird kind of Lackey you don’t like).  Too young for Flavia de Luce?  If ze liked Harry Potter, you can try Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.  I don’t remember enough about Huntress by Malinda Lo. You could try The Ruby in the Smoke: A Sally Lockhart Mystery by Phillip Pullman. (Has zie read the His Dark Materials series?)  The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison might be a bit dense for zir, but #2 might like it if you haven’t read it yet.  It’s good; was nominated for many awards.

You could try Saving Kabul Corner by N. H. Senzai.  I don’t know if The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter is too old for zir or not.  But #2 should read it!  The third book in the series is out now.

Come Fall by, I think, A. C. E. Bauer?

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang?  That seems to exhaust my library history… at least as far as DC1-appropriate books.  Some of the books I read are definitely NOT for kids!

What’s good, Grumpeteers?

DC1 is starting to read grown up books

It’s so exciting!

There is a little bit of bridging going on.  Technically the books zie is reading are probably YA that just haven’t been classified as YA.

The first one, of course, was a Tiffany Aching by Terry Pratchett.  Specifically The Wee Free Men (only $1.99 on Kindle which is a steal!).  Zie followed that up with A Hatful of Sky, which is the second in the Tiffany Aching series.

Then zie read the first 4 books in the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy (zie means to read the fifth, but sort of lost interest, which is understandable since the fourth and fifth books aren’t as good as the original three).

Then, because zie was rereading Meeting and Threshholds I offered up my favorite Nina Kiriki Hoffman, A Fistful of Sky (which DC1 noted has a remarkably similar name to that second Tiffany Aching book, but the Hoffman book came first).  (Don’t read the second in the LaZelle series though– it has a rape and victim blaming which is so uncool.)

Grown-up books are a whole new world of fun.  I’m pretty sure I first started with Agatha Christies as my first fiction experience (prior to that I read the humor section from non-fiction), but once I realized that adult fantasy novels existed, I was hooked on going upstairs to the adult area each week at the library.  Even though a lot of what I read up there wasn’t actually very good.  But some of it was.

What were your first adult fiction books?  What grown-up books would you recommend for a precocious 10 year old?

Fanfic for star wars fans

[ed note:  this was scheduled to post before Carrie Fisher’s untimely death.  We are so saddened by her passing.]

In honor of the new movie out, here are some of my favorite light star wars (almost entirely Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan) fan fictions.

Twenty Questions

Rated NC-17:

I seem to have a thing for Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan erotic slash Lots and lots of slash. So much slash.

From the Temple Erotica Archives

This is the start of a series if you want something novel-length and more romance-focused (link to continuation is at the bottom).

Do you read fanfic?  Any recommendations?  Are you excited about the new Star Wars movie?

Ask the Grumpies: Favorite books for pre-readers?

Leah asks:

Fave books for kids not quite ready to read?  We’re rocking a lot of Curious George, Corduroy, and Pout Pout Fish. Just looking for new library reads for my 2.5 year old who LOVES books.

Rented Life adds:

My kid, same age, loves books too. I second that question.

Allyson adds:

I also have a two-year-old and we could use good library reads, lots of books in the house already. Her fave is Where is Spot? and we have it in English and Spanish. Lift-the-flap books are big in my house. Can I add a request for recommendations of classic children’s books in Spanish that may be easy to find? Some translations seem to work with the rhythm of the originals and some are more literal and not as much fun to read.

First up, check out the comments in this recent post.

Leah– one series I would add to that list is the Froggy books.  Those along with the Clifford books hit our DC’s interest at the same time as Curious George.

Allyson– Our favorite lift the flap books are the ones by Karen Katz, of Where is Baby’s Belly Button fame.  She has a bunch of these.  We also loved Dear Zoo.  A related much loved cut-out book is Where’s that cat?  There are a ton of Where’s Spot books as well, though I am not a fan of the Easter one (the kids like it, but it bugs me that [spoiler] Spot finds an egg on the table after mean old female hippo tells him to get off the table; Spot also gets more eggs).

Spanish translations: Our favorite Spanish translations are Buenas Noches Luna and Insectos asombrosos (which you probably won’t find).  We also like the bilingual books by Eric Carle, such as Animals Animales — these are fun because they have moving pieces.  Our DCs also really loved My First Spanish Word Book.  We do have a bunch of other Spanish translations but they’re not popular.  Wandering Scientist is probably good for asking for other suggestions.

Our general recommendations for these age groups are:  Anything by Sandra Boynton, anything by Mo Willems.  These will age well as your child ages.  Your children are probably also on the cusp of being able to sit still for Red Fish Blue Fish or Dr. Seuss’s ABCs or Go Dog Go! or Put Me in the Zoo, but you could also wait another year.  They will definitely like the board book versions which are shorter.

Related:

Books for 3 year olds

Favorite children’s books (this has a number of classics like The Little Engine that Could and Ferdinand and The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes)

What say you, Grumpy Readers?

Ask the grumpies: Recommendations for audiobooks?

Chelsea asks:

Also, I’d love to hear people’s favorite audiobooks. Right now I’m 1/2 way through the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, which is fantastic, but in a mere 200-ish more hours, I’ll be done. What should I listen to next?

To Say Nothing of the Dog has a fantastic audible and is a fantastic story.  First top choice.

Redshirts was absolutely fantabulous.  Wil Wheaton is the perfect voice narrator for the book, and it’s funny until the codas and then you cry a lot.  But a good kind of crying.

We recently did Agent to the Stars on a roadtrip and it was a lot of fun.

Most Scalzi books have good audible, including his latest short piece, The Dispatcher.  We did end up not finishing Little Fuzzy though because it was kind of boring.

My DH likes both the Iron Druid and the Harry Dresden series on audible.  I’ve listened to the first two Iron Druids and the voice acting is pretty good, but I couldn’t handle any more of the series after [spoiler redacted].

Grumpy listeners, what do you recommend?

Favorite books made from webcomics

If I really love a webcomic’s art and/or story, I will happily buy a book of it so that I don’t have to keep clicking and scrolling and clicking and scrolling and looking at the computer for hours on end.  These ones are worth it:

Digger: The Complete Omnibus Edition by Ursula Vernon

Gunnerkrigg Court (link goes to volume 1 but there are multiple ones out now!  #2 notes that the books themselves are beautiful, much higher quality than other webcomic books)

Strong Female Protagonist (can’t wait for book 2!)

Princeless

Breaking Cat News: Cats Reporting on the News that Matters to Cats — we will read all of these the author puts out!!!

Was Wayward a webcomic?  Anyway, that.

Girl Genius

Chickweed books (#2 thinks this one is syndicated– she used to read it in an actual newspaper)

We have more posts coming up about other books, including graphic novels and other visual media, but most of them aren’t made from webcomics.  Stay tuned!

Are we missing anything awesome here?