December Reading Log

 

Would you believe 11 books this month? I wouldn’t, if I hadn’t just counted them up. My work acquired 2 new contracts, both of which mean increased deliveries for us. So I spent most of December sitting in loading docks, waiting to be unloaded. I chewed through a lot of books that way. Sadly, most of them weren’t very good. That’s kind of how my 2016 went: books were only okay.

Soundless – Richelle Mead

I’ve fallen out of love with Mead’s books. It happened during her Bloodlines spinoff series: she took an interesting character that I wanted to read more about, and turned her in into someone new. Since then, her books are on the “get from the library” not the “buy immediately” list.

Soundless was one of the most boring books I’ve read in a while. Fei lives in a village up on the top of a very high mountain. Everyone in her village is deaf, supposedly caused by when a mythical being went to sleep. They use sign language to communicate. The purpose of the village is to mine precious metals and send them down a line. In return, they receive food and supplies.

There’s more, but I’m skipping it. Fei is not all that interesting. She’s an artist, one of the few chosen to record the daily happenings in the village and turn them into paintings for all to see. She’s betrothed to another artist she doesn’t like, and in love with a childhood boyfriend that she can’t marry due to her station. Thankfully that doesn’t devolve into a love triangle. She sets out to save her village by going down the mountain, and even that’s not all that interesting.

I don’t know, I was just really, really underwhelmed by the book.

The Glittering Court – Richelle Mead

I wanted this to be better. It’s one part The Selection, and one part My Fair Lady. Our main character lives in a place like England. Her country has crossed the ocean to found colonies like the pre United States. They have proper names but I can’t be assed to remember them. Anyway, main character is a countess that needs to marry for money, not love. She hates the idea.

The new colonies have plenty of self made men, but no noble women want to travel there to be wives. So, some guy has thought up the idea of training up servant girls that are pretty and halfway trainable, to turn them into the new nobility for the new colonies. Our main character takes the place of the serving girl in her household, and goes to this new school, the titular Glittering Court.

Once there, she pretends to be a serving girl, until the plot dictates she needs to being out all the courtly skills she learned growing up. Those skills are needed to save the man who recruited her serving maid, and whom she’s fallen in love with. Also, he’s a heretic. This is important later on, but only kind of.

She and the other girls travel to the colonies. There’s balls, dinners, crazy obsessed guys, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, people disappearing, and all kinds of fun stuff. Well, not really fun stuff. The book takes off in a different direction once they hit the colonies.

Like all of Mead’s books, the blurb lies. The blurb made me think that this girl, whose actual name isn’t revealed until the very end of the book, was going to be a servant to the girls training to be nobility. That’s not the case, and the actual book is a lot more boring.

Justice Calling – Annie Bellet

I’d always wanted to read the 20 sided sorceress series, and Bookbub was nice enough to provide. Jade Crow is a sorceress, although the tiny town of Wylde, Idaho thinks she’s just a hedge witch. She fits in among the many shifters and other supernatural beings around, including the leprechaun next door. Jade’s trying not to use her magic or draw attention to herself because if she does, Alek, a crazy sorcerer and her ex boyfriend, will find her and eat her heart.

In the first book, a Justice comes to town. They’re judge, jury, and executioner for ther shifter world. This one sees Jade’s involved in a shifter death, but doesn’t see how. In the end, he has to use Jade’s powers to help track down someone who’s causing problems in the shifter world.

I enjoy urban fantasy, and I enjoy it more when I can relate to the main character. I can relate to Jade’s love of D&D and associating her spells with D&D spells. I was involved in a group that did roleplaying (Whitewolf mostly). I can’t relate to Jade and her power, but I enjoyed the D&D aspect, and the fact one of her friends is a professional gamer.

Murder of Crows – Annie Bellet

One thing I really like about these books is the title tying into the book. This one features crow shifters, and an interesting tie to Jade: they’re her family. Bellet adds in little bits and pieces to Jade’s backstory as the books go, and I like it.

I don’t have a lot to add since it’s been covered in the first book’s comments.

Pack of Lies – Annie Bellet

This one goes back to the wolf shifters, and takes place in Wylde. I enjoyed the complications Jade experiences as a sorceress in the town. Traditionally, sorcerers, and sorceresses, get their power by consuming the hearts of other magic users. As far as Jade knows, shifters are safe, but hedge witches and other magic users aren’t. So, the town is understandably biased against Jade, and she can’t blame them.

This one hints at Jade’s power being tied into a supernatural being, which made me wonder. I need to get the next few books and chow through them, because I’m curious what happens to her.

Dust & Decay – Jonathan Maberry

Book 2 of the Benny Imura series takes place 6 months after the first book. Benny and his friends have trained for 6 months in endurance, survival skills, the “warrior smart” program Tom developed, and other things, and are ready to depart into the Rot and Ruin to find the jet.

What starts out as an overnight trip for Chong turns into a nightmare when he’s kidnapped and Benny, Nix, Lilah, and Tom have to find Gameland to save him. They encounter Preacher Jack, a charismatic man who claims the zombies are the Children of Lazarus and the meek that will inherit the earth. They get split up. They discover zombies burn, and that Charlie Pink-Eye of the first book might still be causing troubles.

I didn’t really like this one, as it felt like a bit of a repeat from the first book. Tom and Benny have to venture out into the Rot and Ruin to save a friend who’s been kidnapped, and supposedly taken to Gameland. They must kill a bunch of evil humans along with zombies to get their friend back. That’s a large portion of book 1. In book 2, they actually get to Gameland, and we get to see how it’s set up, which is interesting, but the ending of the book is a real downer.

Flesh & Bone – Jonathan Maberry

Book 3 begins with Benny and crew still trying to chase down the jet. This time they’re somewhere in Nevada. They stumble across The Night Church, also known as the Reapers. The Reapers have a goal in life: eliminate all humans so they may go into the “darkness.” Most humans have a problem with that: they’d rather go on living.

So, Benny and crew have a twofold problem: there’s a small girl named Eve that they’re trying to return to her family as well as trying to find the jet, while dodging the wildlife (lions come up) and dodging the Reapers. Easier said than done. The book mostly takes place in the Nevada wilderness, when Benny and Nix being separated from the others, Lilah encountering zombie pigs, and them running into all kinds of interesting people.

A lot happens in the book, but the actual amount of time that passes isn’t long. It’s maybe a day or two. In the end, they find out about the jet, and actually make it to where they’re going. I enjoyed this more than book 2, but it was a lot to keep track of.

Think Like A Freak – Steven Levitt

I enjoyed Freakanomics, which is by the same author. So when I saw a deal on Think Like a Freak, I had to get it. I enjoyed it, but I’ll be honest: I don’t remember a great deal of the book. I did pick up two things though: It’s okay to not know the answers, and most problems are too big to solve easily.

The first one, to not know the answers, stuck with me. I know plenty of people who can’t bear to be wrong. They will invent a fairly obviously wrong answer rather than say “I don’t know.” Leavitt says it’s okay to say “I don’t know” especially when it’s to a big question or idea. It’s not possible to predict the future, and even those who’ve studied economics or other subjects their entire lives can’t always predict what’s going to happen.

The idea most problems are too big to solve kind of bummed me out. It means that wold hunger, war, poverty etc, are too big to sit down and solve. That doesn’t mean they can’t be solved, but you have to break down the problems into smaller pieces until you get to a question that can be solved. Instead of saying “How do we fix homelessness in Portland?” (The nearest big city to me), the question might be better posed as “Will a rent freeze reduce homelessness?” or some other question related to changes that can affect homelessness.

Interesting book, but not as good as the first Freakonomics, which I loved.

Ecotopia – Ernest Callenbach

This was a truly bizarre book. Funniest bit was that while I was reading it, it popped up in Facebook feeds and comments on the internet everywhere I looked. I was reading it around the Time of the #NoDAPL and presidential election, so I think it was bound to pop up, but still. The relevancy of the book was staggering.

I don’t really know what to think of the book. I love the idea: the west coast of the US, from north of Los Angeles up to Vancouver, Canada, breaks away from the United States and forms Ecotopia. The population adopts a reusable, recyclable, non disposable standard of living, along with being environmentally friendly. Despite everyone thinking it will fail, it thrives. The narrator of the book, Will Weston, is one of the first people from the US to visit Ecotopia, and he does it with the idea of punching holes in their way of living, and touting it as unsustainable.

The book paints the world of Ecotopia as fantastical, and almost too perfect. I realize the idea is to make it seem like this is where we should be heading, and that if we only get enough like minded people together, we can have that world. While some part of it were nice, I think the book is a little overly simplistic and idealistic to happen.

If You Ask Me – Betty White

I love Betty White. I think she’s a national treasure. I had a chance to pick up this book, thinking it was less of a series of stories, and more of a memoir of a specific time in her life. While it wasn’t what I expected, it was still a fun read.

It’s a series of short stories around various subjects: the fact she handwrites things, her answering fan mail, on not having children, agreeing to do a small role in Hot in Philadelphia, only to end up with a normal role, etc.

The Witch Who Saved Christmas – Katie Penryn

I’m not usually one for cozies, but this is cute. Mpenzie Monroe, called Penzi by most, lives in a small town in France. She’s celebrating Christmas Eve with the town with a church service and dinner, when she finds out she’s needed to help save Christmas. With the help of her bodyguard, Felix, and a talking cat, Penzi manages to find out what’s needed, and accomplish it.

It’s a cute story, and short enough to read in one sitting. This is my first introduction to Penzi, and I’m glad to say it was easy to get caught up with what she can and cannot do.

3 thoughts on “December Reading Log

  1. Eleven books in a month sounds like a lot:) I had to laugh on the most boring book you might have ever read….LOL. I can’t continue reading an all boring book and I am glad that I have not experience that …yet!

    About Ecotopia – Ernest Callenbach >> I like the main idea of the author of how we could live reusing, recycling, create a non disposable standard of living. With that of course being environmentally friendly is a very much needed way of living. I do not agree with the idea that a land should break off; that is quite scary and as you have stated a bizarre idea. I do have to go back to reading. It is nice to read how you read different genres;)

    Lucine @ swap-bot.com for the “Bloggy bloggy #1 swap.

  2. Waaaw, 11 books in one month, to bad that the books weren’t that inspiring to you. I don’t know the books on your list. Maybe in your next post i will find a book i would like to read. Looking forward to your next list.
    Kind regards Tanja
    (swap-bot: Bloggy bloggy #1 @tanjah76)

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