November 2013 reads

>> Sunday, December 01, 2013

Not my best month ever numbers-wise, in spite of lots of travelling. Not great in terms of quality, either. I loved Emma and had a couple of solid, good books, but a few disappointments as well.

1 - Emma, by Jane Austen: A-
review coming soon

Audiobook. Reread, after many years. Emma is such a brilliant character. Austen made me like her, dislike her, love her, pity her, despise her, admire her, all in one book. I was fully involved in the goings-on at Highbury and the engaging secondary characters, some of whom are true comedy gold. The narrator, Juliet Stephenson, had me in stitches with her rendering of Miss Bates' ramblings.

2 - The Burning Sky, by Sherry Thomas: B
review coming soon

Audiobook. YA fantasy. Iolanthe's life is turned upside down when it emerges she's the greatest Mage of her generation. She ends up reluctantly helping the young Master of the Domain, Titus, in his quest to defeat the evil Atlanteans, who have usurped real power in the Domain. The start is not great and the worldbuilding feels a bit rough, but I did get into it and enjoy it.

3 - Blood Atonement, by Dan Waddell: B
review coming soon

Audiobook. 2nd in a series featuring genealogist Nigel Barnes. The case this time concerns the murder of a woman and kidnapping of her teenage daughter, and then the ensuing deaths of further members of their distant family. Good, solid mystery, but didn't feel quite as enjoyable as the first one.

4 - Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error, by Kathryn Schulz: B
review coming soon

Non fiction. Epistemiology. The author examines what it means to be wrong and how we feel about it and how we react. Interesting stuff, although sometimes made a bit annoying by faux-folksy writing.

5 - Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts: C-
review coming soon

Starts trilogy about cousins who are witches and must struggle with a centuries-old evil. It takes place in Ireland, and the heroine of this first one is an American who's just decided to move there. Not great, I'm afraid. I only liked the family and friends relationships. The romance was blah, the paranormal stuff tedious (except when it was unintentionally hilarious), and the Irish characters a bit cringe-inducing.

6 - Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself, by Harriet Ann Jacobs: DNF
review coming soon

This is exactly what the title says, an autobiographical account written by a former slave. It was published in the 1860s and was intended to influence Northern women to support not sending runaway slaves back to the South. While I appreciated its importance and historical significance, the writing didn't work for me.

7 - In Love With a Wicked Man, by Liz Carlyle: still reading
review coming soon

The hero is the disreputable owner of a gambling hell who suffers amnesia after a fall and has to recover at the heroine's house. The first half has reminded me of a slightly blander My False Heart. Good so far (no more half-baked paranormal stuff, yay!), but not great.

8 - Falling Free, by Lois McMaster Bujold: still listening
review coming soon

Audiobook. I wanted to read this one before I immerse myself in Miles's story. It's set a few centuries before the main books and stars an engineer who's posted to a station where they're doing some very dodgy genetic manipulations. I'm enjoying it.


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