Saturday, September 01, 2012

The August Round-Up!


FALL! My favourite season! Everything smells like smoke, the leaves turn brilliant colours and I become inexplicably excited. Let's hope this helps recharge my creative batteries. I'm backing away from fiction writing (at least on any particular project). This month, I'll focus on worldbuilding and plotting the idea I'm still holding on to, and doing writing prompts from Twitter.

As for books, I read the following:

*August Winner!* A Precious Jewel, by Mary Balogh. Romance, Historical. A
Pros: Unconventional characters, particularly the hero. Lovely writing. Cons: Hero is an ass and heroine is a martyr for much of the novel.
Sex with the Queen, by Eleanor Herman. History, Nonfiction. A-
Pros: Excellently paced, lots of details and scandals. Cons: Author's attempts to inject romantic conjecture into the nonfictional narrative fall flat.

Tigers in Red Weather, by Liza Klaussmann. Fiction, Historical. B+
Pros: Excellent changing perspectives throughout the years, nice details, interesting story. Cons: A little bit of "Rich People's Unhappy Lives" Syndrome. 

The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Stephen Galloway. Fiction, Historical. B
Pros: Detailed setting, subtle characterization, strong female protagonist. Cons: So very definitely NOT a happy fun-times feel-good book.

Chocolat, by Joanne Harris. Fiction, Contemporary, Book to Movie. B
Pros: Mmmm, chocolate! Beautiful writing too. Cons: Very unclear themes at the end. Super-creepy villain.

The Girl Most Likely To... by Susan Donovan. Romance, Contemporary. B-
Pros: Layered characters, nice backstories, emotional beginning. Cons: Lots of male entitlement, too little romantic conflict, plus a total whackadoodle deux ex Real!Father ending.

Not Proper Enough, by Carolyn Jewel. Romance, Historical. C
Pros: Lovely writing, excellent depiction of setting. Cons: Booooooring as hell. No actual plot.

*August Dud* Kingdom of Gods, by N.K. Jemisin. High Fantasy. C-
Pros: Solid writing, decent conclusion to trilogy. Cons: Plot is all over the place, scattershot characterization, slow slow slow pacing.

Ravishing in Red, by Madeline Hunter. Romance, Historical. DNF
Pros: It looks like the story gets better after 100 pages. Cons: Those first 100 ages really aren't worth it.

Throne of Glass, by Sarah Maas. YA, Fantasy. DNF
Pros: Um, it's got a nice cover? Cons: Cliched writing, cliched love triangle, cutesy inconsistent mass-murdering puppy-saving heroine, no subtlety or complexity at all (which makes me cringe whenever it or another review brings up the WHOLLY UNFOUNDED Game of Thrones comparison).


  1. In regards to Chocolat, is a super-creepy villain really a con? I thought that was a strong element. To each her own, I suppose.

    Throne of Glass: I liked it, but I can see why you wouldn't. I do think the love triangle wasn't necessary, especially since it was added in at a later date. I think the pub wanted it or something. I haven't seen Game of Thrones, so I can't comment on that specifically, but I REALLY wish publishers would stop comparing books to other books unless the comparison actually makes any damn sense. Like, who read The Selection and thought 'this reminds me of The Hunger Games'? Answer: no one. Now every fantasy novel is in danger of a Game of Thrones comparison and every dystopia of a Hunger Games comparison. Actually, Throne of Glass probably has more in common with The Hunger Games. Sigh.

    1. Well, I just really liked the antagonist in the film more. The "crazy rigid priest" is a bit of a cliche and as a Catholic I don't really like encountering it so oten.

      throne of Glass: Yes, it definitely had more in common with Hunger Games.