Evil Plotbunny (hhertzof) wrote,
Evil Plotbunny
hhertzof

Reading to the moon: Long belated update

I don't remember when I last updated this. Spring, last year I think. Anyway, dramatic progress has been made since then.

This update comprises 178 books.



160497 pages / 238,857 total or 67% done


In the interest of sanity, the list is divided into several cuts by arbitrary genre and under the cut between Children/Teen and Adult. Bold means I highly recommend it. Rereads and vintage fiction are not bolded for a variety of reasons.


Realistic Fiction for Children and Teens

Where the Streets Have a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah - Hayaat has a very short journey she wants to make, into Jerusalem, but first she must get past the checkpoints, the curfews and the impenetrable wall that divides the West Bank. Possibly the best book I’ve ever read (fiction or non-fiction) about the situation there.

Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers - A transgendered teenager and his first forays into women’s clothing. Excellent.

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd - Coming of age story for a gay teen. Felt a bit generic.

How Beautiful the Ordinary edited by Michael Cart - Sixteen GLBTQetc stories. The first one made me cry in a good way, and the others were uneven but the overall anthology was exceptional.

Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn - Ostensibly about a girl with a technology addiction. Starts out as a typical teen fluff novel and then twists in surprising ways.

Angry Management by Chris Crutcher - Three novellas involving characters from some of his other books. A bit preachy and stilted, but still good.

The Birthday Storm by Sharon Draper - 2nd in the "Sassy" series about a young African American girl. I wanted to like this but it felt a little too unrealistic, especially when Sassy manages to slip something (I think it was a larger than 3oz bottle of liquid, but I don’t remember) past the TSA. I’m all for subversion, but that was a bit much for me.

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern - Quirky girl with a talent for sewing is looking for new friends, and while she resists the call of a Dungeons and Dragons group at first, she eventually discovers she likes it. Meanwhile, she makes them costumes for a SCA/RenFaire event. I see a costumer in training. I have to say that this felt closer to my experiences than Geektastic, which felt like it was still on the outside looking in.

Operation Yes by Sara Holmes - A class on an Air Force base bands together to help their teacher when her brother goes missing in Afghanistan.

This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall, Beware the Fish, Go Jump in the Pool, The War With Mr Wizzle, Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood, The Zucchini Warriors, and Something Fishy at MacDonald Hall by Gordon Korman - Because one needs to revisit Macdonald Hall every few years.

The Summer Before and Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin - The first is a prequel to the Babysitter’s Club series. Kept the feel of the series entirely and now I want more. The second was a reprint of the first book in the series - still the same book that grabbed me in college. (Yes, I started reading the BSC while I was at Ohio State and I remember I started with Mary Anne Saves the Day. )

Unsigned Hype by Booker T. Mattison - A Christian Hip-Hop novel. Not quite what I was expecting (though I knew both of those things going in). The religious message was as lightly done as I’ve ever seen and it worked very well as a coming of age novel, even to the point of showing some acceptance to people who choose different paths.

What They Found: Love on 145th Street by Walter Dean Myers - A collection of short stories set in NYC. Walter Dean Myers is always good.

You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith - I don’t remember much about this except that it involved a road trip and a boarding school.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead - I found this a little weak on the first read because I saw the ending from about the third chapter, but looking back it’s grown on me. I suspect it needs a reread.

When the Black Girl Sings by Bil Wright - About an African American girl who has been adopted by a white family and goes to an all white school, having to deal with problems at home and whether she wants to compete in a talent competition for a scholarship.



Adventure, Mystery and Thrillers for Children and Teens

Tammy Climbs Pyramid Mountain by Elizabeth Baker - Beginning chapter book. I’ve had Tammy Goes Camping since I was a kid, and I’ve been trying to find the others in the series. Tammy’s an experienced hiker at this point, so there’s a new kid introduced half-way through to ask the questions and she gets to be competent. :)

Perfect Cover by Jennifer Barnes - The Squad. High school cheerleading squad as cover for spy activities. Think D.E.B.S. The plausibility issues really got to me.

The Potato Chip Puzzles by Eric Berlin - I preferred the first one, but there were some great brain teasers in this.

The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis - Graphic novel for 3rd-4th graders. I found it a bit thin.

Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher - Non-fantasy about a commoner who earns admission to an academy that before this has only taken the noble class. In a world where peace is supposedly assured, he and his friends discover that another country is planning for war.

Blood Fever, Double or Die, By Royal Command by Charlie Higson - Young James Bond. Set during his days at Eton, taking the timeline from Ian Fleming’s novels, so they’re historical, rather than contemporary and quite good.

Crocodile Tears by Anthony Horowitz - The latest Alex Rider spy novel. These are getting increasingly complex, and you can see that the author is used to working on adult mysteries.

Heads You Lose by Jack Lancer - Christopher Cool, Teen Agent, teen series from the 1960s. Yes, it’s just about as corny as you’d expect.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - Another reread. I don’t remember why I reread this, but ♥

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, The Black Circle by Patrick Carman, In Too Deep by Jude Watson - 3 more 39 Clues novels. The first I’d missed off the last update. I’m two behind now. If you liked National Treasure, you might like this.

Adventure, Mystery and Thrillers for Adults

Over the Edge, The Defiant Hero, The Unsung Hero, Into the Night, Out of Control, Gone Too Far, Hot Target, Breaking Point, Flashpoint by Suzanne Brockmann - Someone recommended these to me and I picked them up as a backup to the Kay Hooper series above. I’m having some problems with authorial quirks (she feels the need to namecheck a dozen issues per book to the point where it distracts me from the story), but I am enjoying them. I think I’m about halfway through the series now.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - The classic mystery. A little too heavy on non-mystery plot, but one can see the seeds of the mystery genre in it.

Blood Sins by Kay Hooper - A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit novel. I was in the mood for a thriller when I was in the Sacramento airport and since I am always behind on this series, I picked up the latest paperback. I need to go back and read them in order, but her writing always grabs me, even when I don’t expect it to.

The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner - I discovered this when I was going through my unread books. Not sure why it sat unread for so long. I love this series.

The Gracie Allan Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine - Got my own copy so it was time for a reread. The weakest of the series, but I’m a completionist.



Fantasy for Children and Teens

Jasper Dash and the Flame Pits of Delaware by M. T. Anderson - A traditional pulp adventure for kids set in the dangerous and mysterious land of Delaware. For anyone who loves H. Rider Haggard or the original Tom Swift adventures.

The Nine-Pound Hammer by John Claude Bemis - Mid grade fantasy based on American tall tales and legends with a multi-cultural cast. Better adventure than Homer P. Figg, and more inclusive than The Thirteenth Child. Waiting eagerly for the sequel.

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima - Satisfying end to the trilogy.

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle - Read this if you like Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It’s very much in the same vein.

A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane - This series is becoming more subtle and nuanced, which I’m enjoying and Carmela is love.

Dragonfly by Julia Golding - Fantasy about two kingdoms about to be united by an arranged marriage which is thrown off by cultural misunderstandings and third-party interference. Better than I expected.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey - Fantasy based on Maori mythology with respect for the culture, an asexual character and some intriguing twists along the way. One of my favorite books of the year.

Tales of Moominvalley, Moominpappa's Memoirs by Tove Jansson - Another series I’m finding best in small doses. I’m liking them, though.

Moomin v. 4 by Tove Jansson - A collection of the comic strips. Fun to read, but I think I prefer the books.

Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones - The newest DWJ is a standalone about a man who goes back home to assume magical responsibilities for his hometown and in the process discovers a conspiracy. Good, but light.

The Dragon Circle and The Witching Hour by Stephen Krensky - I reread this when I started getting into The Wizards of Waverly Place. I could definitely see a crossover.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - I could see a twist coming and then dismissed it as too obvious only to have it be right. Still a powerful fantasy about reclaiming one’s homeland.

Hannah's Winter by Kieran Meehan - Lovely fantasy involving an Australian girl living in Japan, that is heavily influenced by Japanese folklore.

Charlie Bone and the Shadow, Charlie Bone and the Beast by Jenny Nimmo - Another series I’m constantly behind on. But the story is all starting to tie together, and we should be getting the last one at the library soon.

The Indigo King, The Shadow Dragons by James A. Owen - Third and fourth in the series about certain real life academics becoming the guardians of a fantasy world. Still needs to shift a little from the white male focus, but he’s doing some interesting things with the world-building.

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - The last Percy Jackson novel. He tied up the series quite well.

The Sorceress by Michael Scott - Take several immortals (John Dee, Nicholas Flamel, the Comte de Saint-Germain, among others), mix in two American teenagers and a prophecy, and stir. Waiting eagerly for the next one.

Magic Below Stairs by Caroline Stevermer - A tie in to the Sorcery and Cecelia books for kids. Orphan gets a job as a servant, discovers he has magical talent. Good, especially if you like details about such things as ironing cravats.

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whelan Turner - The fourth in the Thief of Attolia series. Intrigue and deception and hard choices as usual, but this one felt a little weaker than the first three. I’m looking forward to reading the entire series in order when it’s done.

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink - Two sisters, one good, one evil, and it never quite rose above that. Probably won’t bother with the sequel.

Fantasy for Adults

Iorich by Steven Brust - Another Dragaera novel. Reminded me how much I like Vlad.

Spellwright by Blake Charlton - Read a reaction post by this author on one of the many AmazonFail incidents, and the book sounded intriguing. It was even better than I expected. It’s set in a world where spells are linguistic based and the main character is dyslexic. Want! Sequel! Now!

Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman - Fantasy with a complex magical system involving wine and slaves. This was one of my favorite books of the year.

The Walls of Air and The Time of the Dark by Barbara Hambly - Bought some Mercedes Lackey Filk CDs and was reminded of this series by her song, Gil-Shalos. Like Riddlemaster, it had been long enough that I didn’t remember a lot of details, or perhaps I’d just read them differently.

The Riddlemaster of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire, Harpist in the Wind by Patricia McKillip - I thought it was time for a reread of this series and it had been long enough that I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before.

The Accidental Sorcerer by Karen Mills - Does what it says on the tin. Intriguing world building around a stock plot. I have the sequel but haven’t got to it yet.

Heroes at Risk by Moira Moore - I’ve mentioned this series before. Ignore the romancy covers. The books are (mostly) the antithesis of them. Or they were. Suddenly we’ve got romance plot on top of everything else, and I’m not sure I like it. Still the stories and the magic system are clever so I shall continue reading.

Cast in Silence by Michelle Sagara - Each book in this series explores a different race in the world she’s built, and they always catch me by surprise. One of my favorite authors.

The Unwilling Warlord, The Spriggan Mirror by Lawrence Watt-Evans - Two of the Ethshar series. His books are rather heteronormative, but I still like them.

John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman - Reread for Yuletide betaing. I still love his work (hey I bought the leather bound 5 volume complete works set), but it’s got some absolutes I always find myself questioning.

City of Night by Michelle West - If I hadn’t got hooked on this author years ago, I wouldn’t be reading her all too thick novels now because I’m having problems keeping track of the characters. I don’t think this is the book to start with, but it was good.



Vampires, Werewolves and Paranormal Romance for Teens

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky - Intriguing ideas and a different view of vampires, but there was a shift in scene towards the end that made me lose interest.

The Awakening, The Struggle, The Fury, Dark Reunion by L. J. Smith - The original Vampire Diaries series. Thought I should reread it now that the tv show is on. Next up, the TVD:Reunion series, which I haven’t read yet.

Night World: the Ultimate Fan Guide by L. J. Smith - Yes, I bought this. And I would do so again. It’s a bit thin, but there were some neat tidbits about the series. Now if only they’d release Strange Fate already. I’ve only been waiting about 20 years. :(

Vampires, Werewolves and Paranormal Romance for Adults

Soulless by Gail Carriger - A different take on werewolves and vampires in an alternate England. Flawed but above average.

The Devil's Virgin by Virginia Coffman - First in the Lucifer Cove series, a 1970s occult gothic series. File this under badfic I adore. This reread was because I nominated the fandom for Yuletide and had this crazy idea of scanning and uploading the books. I managed to get through the first one before deciding that scanning things in myself was a pain in the neck.

Staying Dead, Curse the Dark by Laura Anne Gilman - I finally started reading her Retrievers series. So far so good, if a little too heavy on the romance. I like the worldbuilding more than I expected (I don’t normally like scientific principles applied to magic).



Science Fiction for Children and Teens

Tom Swift and His Wizard Camera and On Top of the World by Victor Appleton - One of the original Tom Swift stories and one from the most recent series. I liked the former better, but then I haven’t forgiven the decision to reboot for the third series instead of going on with the family history.

Near Future Realistic Fiction

Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines - Intriguing take on the future of combat sports in the US. Eagerly waiting for the sequel now.

Carbon Diaries 2015 and Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd - An "if this goes on" series about global warming. Better than I expected.

The Clone Codes by Patricia McKissack - Mid-grade SF novel about a future where clones and cyborgs are second class citizens. The parallels to slavery get a little heavy, but there are infodumps and action galore - think Heinlein juvenile or other 60s SF for teens. Looking forward to the second.

Science Fiction for Adults

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by Kage Baker - A Company novel set in a brothel in Whitehall during the 19th century. More successful than the ending of the main series for me.

Regenesis by C. J. Cherryh - This took me forever to finish, but it was worth it. I just wish I remembered Cyteen better, as this was a direct sequel.

Hostile Takeover by Susan Schwartz - I nearly didn’t finish this. A rather bland science fiction novel.

Blackout by Connie Willis - I gather her historical research in this was really bad. I don’t know the time or place well enough to tell. I liked this better than To Say Nothing of the Dog, which I adored, and it was interesting in counterpoint to Victory of the Daleks



Doctor Who
No comments here, but I have bodled my favourites.

Target Novels: The Curse of Peladon by Brian Hayles, The Monster of Peladon by Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who and the Green Death by Malcolm Hulke, Doctor Who and the War Games by Malcolm Hulke, Time-Flight by Peter Grimwade, Doctor Who and the Keys of Marinus by Philip Hinchcliffe

EDAs: The Scarlet Empress by Paul Magrs, Beltempest by Jim Mortimore, The Face-Eater by Simon Messingham, The Taint by Michael Collier, Dominion by Nick Walters, Unnatural History by Kate Orman, Revolution Man by Paul Leonard

Short Trips: Companions edited by Jacqueline Rayner, Defining Patterns edited by Ian Farrington, The Muses edited by Jacqueline Rayner, Indefinable Magic edited by Neil Corry, The Centenarian edited by Ian Farrington

Decalog edited by Mark Stammers

The Doctor Who Stories by Stephen Cole

Missing/Past Adventures: The Crystal Bucephalus by Craig Hinton, A Device of Death by Christopher Bulis, Millennium Shock by Justin Richards, Downtime by Marc Platt

New Series Adventures: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards, Martha in the Mirror by Justin Richards, The Price of Paradise by Colin Brake, The Taking of Chelsea 426 by David Llewellyn, The Doctor Trap by Simon Messingham, The Many Hands by Dale Smith



Vintage Teen Fiction

Betty Bradford, Engineer by Mary Montague Davis - A vintage YA, and rather disappointing. The main character doesn’t become an engineer, she engineers the men in her life while they have the interesting jobs.

Lucile Bringer of Joy by Elizabeth M. Duffield - Vintage teen novel about a Campfire Girl. Can’t say I remember much about it.

Ruth Fielding at Sunrise Farm by Ruth Emerson - Teen series from the 1910s or so. Typical teen hijinks.

The Outdoor Girls on Pine Island by Laura Lee Hope - Yes, the Bobbsey Twins’ author, or rather pseudonym. You sell more books that way. They’re not bad in a popcorn sort of way.

Virginia Lee’s Bicycle Club by Clara Ingram Judson - Vintage teen novel. Club of kids raise money for their bike trips by having a tag sale using donations from the entire community. Doubt this would work today.

Halfpenny Linda by Jean Nielsen - American girl moves to England. Very typical and stereotypical of the time (late 50s or early 60s). I rather liked her Fair Exchange (about an exchange between two high schools in different parts of the US), but this was not as good.

Polly and Eleanor by Lillian Elizabeth Roy - Another series from the 1910s. It’s a bit more obvious in this series than in others how much the way people think about certain things has changed.

Polly Pepper's Book by Margaret Sidney - One of the Five Little Peppers books. Not the best of the lot, but I love the way she told stories with plenty of interruptions from the listeners.

Molly Brown's Freshman Days, Molly Brown's Sophomore Days, Molly Brown's Junior Days, Molly Brown's Senior Days, Molly Brown's Post Graduate Days, Molly Brown's Orchard Home by Nell Speed. Picked up a new one of these and thought it was time for a reread. Stalled after Orchard Home because I didn’t have the next one.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri - One of those books I never read as a child. Perhaps I would have liked it better if I had, but I think my allegiance for this sort of story still lies with Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney.

The Clue of the Broken Blossom by Julie Campbell Tatham - A Vicki Barr flight stewardess novel. Aside from all the coincidences, this is a textbook example of appropriating native culture badly (in this case Hawaiian), though it did redeem itself a little at the end (self-determination winning out over paternal rule by the white male).

Polly's Summer Vacation by Dorothy Whitehill - Polly Pendleton series. I got a new one of these and decided I’d reread in order to refresh my memory. That didn’t last past the 2nd volume. :/

Right Ho, Jeeves and Lord Emsworth and Others by P. G. Wodehouse - I’ve had these tucked in a box for a while. Not sure what prompted me to bring them out, but I’ve discovered I can only take Wodehouse in small doses.

Historical Fiction for Children and Teens

All The Broken Pieces by Ann Burg - Powerful novel in verse about a Vietnamese teen haunted by his life before he left Vietnam during the Vietnam war.

Mare's War by Tamara Davis - Mare lies about her age to enter the African American battalion of the US Air Corps. Half the book is her story during the war and half is a modern day road trip with her granddaughters. This book grew on me.

The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding - Fresh off Dragonfly, I remembered I’d got this in England and never read it. Another young urchin finds the stage and the tone of it was a bit annoying.

Candlelight for Rebecca, Rebecca to the Rescue, Rebecca and the Movies, Rebecca and Ana, Changes for Rebecca by Jacqueline Greene - The rest of the American Girls’ Rebecca series. In some ways the series felt like a cross between the traditional immigrant Jewish experience and the teen series that would have been contemporaneous with Rebecca such as "The Moving Picture Girls" and "Ruth Fielding". As I love the both the latter series, I consider this a good thing.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly - Newbery Honor novel about a girl in 1899, who discovers an interest in nature and begins corresponding with scientists.

Happy New Year, Julie by Megan McDonald - From the American Girl’s Rebecca series. Julie is just a little bit older than I am, so this was a very strange read for me.

The Doll Shop Downstairs by Yona Zeldis McDonough - Read while cataloging. A sweet historical fiction novel about three girls saving their family’s doll shop during the depression.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick - Newbery Honor novel about a boy’s adventures during the American Civil War. I’ve read better adventure novels.

Naomi’s Song by Selma Kritzer Silverberg - The story of Naomi before the Bible. Written about 40 years ago, so very conservative (except for the acknowledgement of potential rape situations), but I liked it in spite of myself.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith - Historical fiction about an African American girl who passes as white so that she can fly with the Women’s Air Corps during WWII. It has some problems but I loved it both for the descriptions of the Air Pilot training during WWII and the main character’s home life and the struggle she goes through having to deny her past and her family to achieve her dream.

Bill Pennant, Babe Ruth and Me by Tim Tocher - Historical fiction about the early days of New York baseball. 2nd book in the series and better than the first.



Nonfiction for Children and Teens

America Travels by Alice Dalgliesh - A vintage history of travel in America told in a series of stories. Usually I like this sort of thing, but this one was sort of bland.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice by Philip J. Hoose - Newbery Honor biography about a teenaged girl who got involved in the civil rights movement but was neglected by history.

Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean by Sarah Stewart Taylor - Graphic novel about a girl who wants to be a journalist and starts following Amelia Earhart’s career.

Nonfiction for Adults

In the Catskills edited by Phil Brown - A collection of essays, excerpts and short stories about Jews and Jewish resorts in the Catskills from the beginning to mid 20th century. A fascinating bit of history.

Lyttelton's Britain by Iain Pattinson - A collection of the introductions to various locales from I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. A birthday gift from paranoidangel42. Brilliant and hilarious.
Tags: bookety books, reading to the moon
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