Monday, April 30, 2012

Recap for April 2012

I've been recapping my blog at the end of every month, and it's useful for me, so I continue.

Book Reviews
Uncross Your Heart by Taryn Elliott (4/5 stars; debut romance, ebook only) — The book that showed me I don't hate all romance, just some of the tropes. Very enjoyable read, sizzling sexual tension. But maybe I'm biased; this is someone from my writing group.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (4/5 stars; steampunkish Victorian urban fantasy; audio book) — Much-hyped debut novel doesn't quite live up to the gushing praise, but manages to entertain with a well-crafted tale that shows it's a debut. Looking forward to this author's next few books, to see if she improves.

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones (4/5 stars; YA urban fantasy with fae and magicians; audio book) — Magic dabbler inherits his grandfather's house and a load of responsibility he doesn't understand, but he soon has a young helper in sorting it out.

In the Blood by Nancy A. Collins (4/5 stars; Sonja Blue #2; horror/urban fantasy before it was a genre) — Sonja Blue, returns to face off against the monster who made her what she is. Less bleak and confusing than #1, though Sonja is still the rare modern vampire who's scary.

The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber (3/5 stars; fairy tale spoof) — Humorous take on fairy tales loses something with an adult audience. Doesn't help that I've never been a fan of Thurber's.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (3/5 stars; futuristic science fiction heavy on the 1980s nostalgia; audio book) — Another overhyped debut, this time banking on 1980s and gaming nostalgia. Best thing about this was the narration by Wil Wheaton for the audio book.

No Place Like Home by Seanan McGuire (5/5 stars; InCryptid-related short story; Wild West monster hunting family) — Our first look inside the Price family home, an origin story, and a chance for the Aeslin mice to have a say in the plot. So much to recommend this quick tale, which is still free on the author's website.

On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah (4/5 stars; contemporary fiction with a romance flavor) — A woman questioning everything about her life goes back to her hometown, and finds what she needs. But can she keep it?

Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk (4/5 stars; political and cultural satire; audio book) — A young terrorist infiltrates middle America and reports back on his mission status via status updates that are in turns hilarious and gross.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner (3/5 stars; chick lit with a mystery plot; audio book) — A bored stay-at-home mom investigates her neighbor's untimely demise. A book with a fun narrator dwindles to an unsatisfying conclusion.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (5/5 stars; hilarious blogger's memoir) — The Bloggess's book is even funnier than I expected, and also more poignant. And congratulations are in order for the book's debut at #1 on the NYT Nonfiction bestsellers.

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich (2/5 stars; urban fantasy rehash of the Stephanie Plum series) — This was so hackneyed and derivative that I've sworn off anything Evanovich has written.

Tithe by Holly Black (3/5 stars; YA urban fantasy with fairies) — Well-paced tale about a girl discovering her ties to Faerie keeps the reader at arm's length by never giving insight into the characters or explaining anything.

Most Popular Posts in April
Good Stuff: The Chrestomanci Series generated a ton of links from a right-leaning political site. I have no idea, but I'll take the blog hits.

Apparently a lot of people found my Miscellania and Potentially Useful Links useful.

Lots of people wanted to know more about my Pet Peeve of Infodumping, which was what I disliked so much about Ready Player One.

My Grammar Peeve: Comma Splices drew some readers. I was going to make that sentence into a comma splice, but the idea made my teeth hurt.

My general post on Reading for Pleasure was about why I choose the books I do, and to heck with anyone who wants to dictate what I should read. I've been out of school for years, thankyouverymuch.

Speaking of school, I outline whether I think it's useful in Learning to Write, and some alternatives to spending tens of thousands of dollars and four years of your life.

I have a Pet Peeve of Low Stakes in the books I read, and I discuss that in some depth.

I also have a Pet Peeve of Clichés, and I discuss why to avoid them.

The most useful link of the month is also toward the bottom of the page hits, but I'm going to repost it here, anyway. Lots of writers have trouble Naming Characters, and so I offer some resources.

That about wraps it up. I'll see everyone in May*.

*As in tomorrow, yes. There will be a post expounding on theme.

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