Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 Reading, Books 37-42

Still plugging away at the manuscript that's due April 30, but forcing myself to make time to read so I get the occasional brain break:

37) Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire.

This book was just plain fun. At first I missed Verity, the protagonist of the two previous InCryptid novels, but once I got used to her more serious science geek brother Alex, I enjoyed this story of paranormal murders at an Ohio zoo.

38) An Heir of Uncertainty by Alyssa Everett.

Alyssa is one of my critique partners and Carina one of my publishers, so I can't be totally objective about her books. With that caveat, this book shows Alyssa's deep understanding of the Regency era and her elegant voice. It's a well-paced, romantic story with relatable characters. My one caveat is I wish there had been a little more space in the denouement to show the hero and heroine coming to terms with the identity of the murderer.

39) The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief by George M. Marsden.

Marsden looks at the subtle fault lines in American culture in the 1950s--ways the consensus worldview, a mix of Protestant faith and Enlightenment philosophy, was starting to break down, ultimately creating the culture war of the past three decades. I don't usually delve so deeply into philosophy, theology, or psychology, but I'm glad I read this book. I feel like it gave me a deeper insight into the events and ideas that created the world I was born into.

40) The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas.

A beautifully written historical romance set in late Victorian England. The hero is that staple of romance fiction, the man who won't let himself love because his parents' terrible relationship made him afraid to trust love in general or women in particular, but Thomas made the resulting conflict feel more human and believable than this trope usually is for me. That said, the heroine forgives him a lot quicker than I would've done...

41) Newton's Football: The Science Behind America's Game by Allen St. John & Ainissa Ramirez.

A quick, interesting read on some of the science behind football--everything from the West Coast offense to how improved tackling technique and better helmets could reduce concussion risk.

42) The Mountains of Mourning by Lois McMaster Bujold.

I've read this novella once before, but I'd forgotten what a strong punch it packs. It's such a perfect encapsulation of everything important about the world of the Vorkosigan series and beautifully written and constructed to boot. I...I just wish I could write like that.

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