cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Romance:

Bourne, Joanna: My Lord and Spymaster
(This was definitely not as good as The Spymaster's Lady. I liked Jess enormously, and whatsisname, Hawke? But I never warmed to the male lead. And the idea that Jess, who was in every way a full partner in her father's business, would actually give up her very successful career there--I mean, she basically built the accounting system--to marry that prick left me with a sour taste in my mouth. It was quite the let-down after Spymaster's Lady).


Fantasy:

Turner, Megan Whalen: A Conspiracy of Kings
(GOD I was not expecting that ending. I can't really discuss it without massive spoilers but...wow, is this ever not how I was expecting things to turn out, not after The Thief, not even after Queen of Attolia, not even after King of Attolia. And yet...it feels like less of a stretch than it might have; it is in some ways a very organic development from things that happened in Queen.

Though I haven't heard anything about another book, I am expecting at least one more. I get a very strong feeling that Turner isn't done with this story).


Manga:

Anno Moyoco: Sugar Sugar Rune vol. 3
(Anno? You have a genius).

CLAMP: Wish vols. 1-2
(To be continued! Except not, I think? It somehow reminded me of a You Higuri manga, but nicer, because this is fluffy CLAMP, not horribly bloody death CLAMP. Anyway, it's toothless enough that I don't really care whether or not there's any more story, and whether I ever get to read it if there is).

CLAMP: RG Veda vol. 1
(I totally only picked this up in the library because of the storyline in Tsubasa with Yasha and Ashura, but reading it just made me more confused. Horrible bloody death CLAMP, obviously. I really liked the bit where they stand around casually arguing while the five-year-old gazes thirty feet up at where a dead woman has been impaled on the wall by a spear, her blood running in a great swath down onto the floor, then reaches out and puts his hand into her blood, tastes it, smiles, and has another bout of evil-spirit possession. At which point the adults start paying attention again. See? This is what happens when you leave children around the corpses of people who've been horribly murdered.

It doesn't really make any more sense than Wish--the events of the first half of the book could have taken all of ten minutes, for all the textual and visual clues as I had with regards to pacing and the passage of time--but it certainly is more interesting to look at. And Gigei was cool. Too bad she's also dead (like about 70% of all the characters, male and female, who appeared in this volume). Man, this thing has already exceeded the entire body count of Hamlet, and this is just volume 1).


CLAMP: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle vols. 1-17
(as I already said. God, I mean, this thing is captivating. I stand in great peril of it eating my brain).

Ishikawa Masayuki: Moyasimon: Tales of Agriculture vol. 1
(I thought the germs would like, have personalities. I'm actually kind of glad that they don't; the personalities of the actual humans are interesting enough).

Mizushiro Setona: After School Nightmare vol. 10
(Okay, that was weird. But why not? It's not like the initial premise made a lot of sense anyway).

Ono Natsume: Ristorante Paradiso.

Tanaka Masashi: Gon vol. 6.

Unita Yumi: Bunny Drop vol. 1.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (...okay then)
Mystery:

Christie, Agatha: The Mysterious Affair at Styles
(Oh, Christie, you racist, xenophobic, conservative twit. You will just keep on doing your racist, xenophobic, conservative thing, won't you? But you wrote a lot, and you sold a lot, and now you're dead, and no one ever expected better of you, so no one ever bothers to call you on it. Sometimes I hate you for that.

Also, you are only okay as a writer, and for all your work, you really only wrote a tiny handful of books that are truly standouts in your preferred genre. Bite me, Agatha Christie).


Fantasy/romance:

Bujold, Lois McMaster: The Sharing Knife: Horizon
(I was in the shower when I had this sudden thought that oh hey, Bujold set up this world where the local predators atop the food chain, malices, subsist and thrive on birth-energies, and the only known method of destroying a malice requires the harnessing of death-energy. I find this quite fascinating, given both Bujold's general interest in reproductive issues as they pertain to both women's health and the construction of self-identity, and her regular thematic revisiting of parenthood, with its ability to exalt or to destroy the parent.

She probably covered this in the first book, but I read that years ago and don't remember.

I liked this, and I think the preceding volume of The Sharing Knife, more than I've liked any of Bujold's other fantasy novels excepting only The Curse of Chalion. Wow, did this series ever grow on me!

I adore Arkady, who would have been a jerk in anyone else's books, and I ended up unduly fond of Barr, probably because he was a jerk who outgrew it, and that trope appeals to me more than it has any right to).


Manga:

Ariyoshi Kyoko: Swan, vol. 3
(Every time I read a volume of the classic ballet manga, Swan, I have to fight the urge to run out and buy the entire series so I can finish it tomorrow. Then I forget about it for six months).

Midorikawa Yuki: Natsume's Book of Friends, vol. 1.

Ono Natsume: not simple
(the art IS simple, but not the plot! Stuff like this is why, when I was ranting about the potential glories of that Matt Thorn/Fantagraphics manga line thing, I couldn't quite bring myself to claim that they'd bring over stuff we'd never seen before and would never see otherwise. I mean, have you seen the stuff that Viz puts in its Signature line? Quality. It's totally one of those high-end scanlation groups run by hardcore manga geeks with superb taste, except that it's legit. It's stuff like this that made it reeeaal easy for me to pretty much give up on fansubs and scanlations. And that they also have a line that picks up lovely titles like Natsume's Book of Friends, i.e. the Shoujo Beat line).

Otsuka Eiji, story, and Yamazaki Housui, art: The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, vol. 10
(Dark Horse and Carl Gustav Horn also helped).

Toriko Gin: Song of the Hanging Sky, vol. 2
(this, too. The reason I fangirl all this stuff so hard, btw, is that manga is one of the only things I tend to buy instead of renting or borrowing, and I am presently fiscally unable to venture past titles that I think are just totally the shit to titles that are actual shit*).


*I would never, for instance, actually buy any of Agatha Christie's racist, sexist, xenophobic, conservative books except for the tiny handful that are genuinely innovative and clever. I mean, it's not like she's an actual master of genre writing like Stout or Heyer. The woman wrote fucking literary tissue paper stamped with her usual ugly nationalism and not even saved by a nice period denunciation of fascism. I cannot, I just cannot get over a book where a major character turns out to be a German Jew spying for Nazi Germany. That is so Agatha Christie. I fucking hate that woman.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Spoilers abound. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:

Romance:

Beverley, Jo: Christmas Angel.

Crusie, Jennifer: Bet Me
(both Crusie and this book particularly are major favorites of a friend of mine. I didn't love the book nearly as much as her, but it's a good book. It's easy for me to see why she loves it so much, knowing her--I bet she imprinted on Min like a baby duckling on its mama).

Phillips, Susan Elizabeth: Natural Born Charmer
(soooo much better than the other Phillips I tried, What I Did For Love. I fell in love with the first chapter, cooled slightly over the course of the book, but was consistently impressed by the way Phillips portrayed Blue's artistry--she showed it very naturally and consistently, in a way that made Blue feel like a real person).


YA:

Ono Fuyumi: The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas
(apparently between the initial meeting of Naokawa/Shoryuu/En and Rokuta/Enki five hundred years ago and their current state of their uber-competent rule and the moderate harmony of their interpersonal relationship, there were a few decades of dissonance. The book is about that, as well as about their initial meeting, which I already know from the anime.

Spoilers. )


Graphic novels:

Lutes, Jason: Berlin: City of Smoke: Book 2.
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Spoilers abound. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (tra la la)
Spoilers for the first two Twelve Kingdoms novels, possibly the third as well, and for episodes 1-22 of the anime.

Read more... )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Anime: Twelve Kingdoms, episodes 1-13

I tried to watch this a while back, as I had really consistently heard that it was awesome. I failed to get past the first episode--it seemed so slow and dreary. Giving it a shot again now that I've begun to read (and really like) the original novels by Fuyumi Ono, but am forewarned that it deviates somewhat from the novels.


Impressions on the fly:

Spoilers for the first novel or two, and the first arc of the anime (I think that's episodes 1-13, although I wasn't keep track. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (woman with hamster)
Fantasy:
Weis, Margaret, and Tracy Hickman: Dragons of the Hourglass Mage
(I read a short review of this that went something to the effect of, "There are good Raistlin books, and bad Raistlin books, and this is one of the bad ones, totally not worth your time." So I immediately requested it from the library, because it's about RAISTLIN MAJERE, dude.

Even at their best, Dragonlance books are never exactly what I would call good, and this is no exception, but I'm not gonna lie: Weis and Hickman's books have, over the years, brought me countless hours of unironic pleasure, and Raistlin Majere is one of those characters I randomly fixated on when I was young, and will never, ever, not love. I read it in one go when I was sick and bedbound the other day, and couldn't concentrate on crossword puzzles).


Romance:

Dunlop, Barbara: Beauty and the Billionaire
(this is the ebook romance I read when I was supposed to be looking at ebook cataloging, and I must say, it was surprisingly decent. The prose was okay, the sexual tension was good, and--in what was a pleasant surprise to me--the heroine was a successful professional whose career and whose dedication to her career path remained relevant for the entire book. Even when she went to Paris for a makeover. Our heroine, Sinclair is a very good PR manager at a cosmetics company who's being upstaged by a less-competant but more fashionable rival in the company, and when she and her billionaire beau boss talk it over, they decided that the best way to fix that was to give her a more stylish image which would better match the company's target demographic, women in Sinclair's age range who dress stylishly. Given the nature of the industry and her job, I am okay with this idea. )
cerusee: a white redheaded girl in a classroom sitting by the window chewing on a pencil and looking bored (Default)
Novels/prose books:
Bierce, Ambrose: Fantastic Fables
(hmm. Lots to be said. Aesop's Fables, as written by a sophisticated late 19th century cynic; cynicism palls really, really fast. It's interesting, but at least from my perspective, not entertaining).


Romance:
Heyer, Georgette: The Talisman Ring
(I liked it! As I generally do with Heyer. She's very good, you know).

Sutherland, Peg: Queen of the Dixie Drive-In
(When [livejournal.com profile] telophase shipped this to me lo those many months ago, I meant to do an in-depth snarky review of it in lieu of payment. But I never got around to it, and then school happened. I think it was mostly okay? The prose didn't send me screaming and it wasn't hugely misogynistic or anything).


YA:
Jones, Diana Wynne:
The Game (way too short, but a good read. Loved the bit with the pork chop, and also how well the reveal worked with the prior characterizations; Jones always does that kind of thing well. There's a little part of me that keeps waiting for her to do some kind of truly pan-mythic story, but maybe that's not fair, especially at this point; she's a basically Western Civ gal, and I know that. And she does pretty good stuff with Greco-Roman/Western European/British Isles mythology; it's not as if she's stagnated with it).
The Spellcoats (reread),
Conrad's Fate (reread),
House of Many Ways (reread),
--totally meant to go on in more detail about all these rereads, but, as I said, school happened.


Light novels:
Ono Fuyumi:
The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow
(I wanted to love this, and Yoko, as much as [livejournal.com profile] bookelfe did, but I didn't. I felt better about that after I went back and reread her post on it, and her comments about why she identified so strongly with Yoko--identifying with a character is always YMMV, and I'm not that person. But I totally get the bit about it subverting fantasy tropes. It's fascinating for that, and the more I go back and look at it, the more I like the structure and plot. The prose of the translation is unimpressive, but the story is good).

The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Wind
(awww baby kirin. And, while reading this book, I found myself suddenly hugely in love with the entire universe--reading the second book made me love the first more, and made me desperately want more of the entire world, and all the characters. I begin to get used to Ono's mind, and I like it).


Graphic novels:
Foglio, Phil and Kaja: Girl Genius book four: Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (holds up well on a reread).

Warren, Adam: Empowered vol. 5 (awwwwww fuckity.
But I'm relieved. I expected to cry a hell of a lot more than I did. I am simply grateful that I didn't cry more than I did. I think this series will eventually rip my beating heart from my chest and set it on fire, because that's what Adam Warren does to your heart. And you then say, "thank you sir, may I have another? Because I adore your clever writing, even though you obviously want to hurt me.")


Manga:

Akino Matsuri:
Genju no Seiza vols. 6-7 (was that another PSOH ref with the kirin? Say it's so, Akino!).
Petshop of Horrors: Tokyo vol. 5

Mori Kaoru: Emma vols. 8-9 (oh shit the Meredith bedroom scene was so hot! There is no sex, although there is sexiness, but the intimacy--emotional and physical--is so pure and tangible I kept having to put the book down and go oof).

Ninomiya Tomoko: Nodame Cantabile vols. 15-16.

Otsuka Eiji, writer, Yamazaki Housui, artist: Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 9

Takaya Natsuki: Fruits Basket vol. 22

Umino Chica: Honey & Clover vol. 4.

Urasawa Naoki: Pluto vol. 5 (and here I'd just boasted to my LCS guy that I knew everything that was gonna happen because I didn't see Urasawa deviating from the basic structure of the plot as outlined in Tezuka's The Greatest Robot on Earth. So far, he hasn't, but this is fucking Urasawa, man. He's a master of suspense. He will surprise you, and he will make you hang. And he'll do it well. It's why he's awesome and we love him.

Urasawa Naoki: 20th Century Boys vol. 4

Watanabe Taeko;
Kaze Hikaru vol. 11

January 2017

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