Sunday, February 26, 2017

Recent Reads

I read the first half of Strangely Beautiful last year, but technically this is two books in one edition. And I read the second as the start to my year.

I so meant to finish reading the second book last year, but things got in the way. But I could not be happier that I picked it up again. There are few authors today with a firmer command of the Gothic than Leanna and she instills it with a modern sensibility that I thoroughly enjoy.

I can count on one hand the number of books that have straight up given me chills, and Strangely Beautiful joins their number today. The combination of heart-wrenching sacrifice and heart-warming love... The boldly woven mythology and magic and historical paranormal set her works apart.

A truly wonderful book and the inclusion of extra scenes in this particular addition was an added delight.

 OH, Imogene. I love her. She's a delightful character and this novella had the bonus of including my favorite French inventor. Seeing Madame Lefoux again...I adored her in the Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series, so it was wonderful to see her again here. 

Plus, confirmation that Alexia in all her glory, on page, is bisexual was awesome. 

It's a nice addition to the novellas already out (Poison or Protect is also delightful) and I'm genuinely looking forward to more novellas and definitely more Imogene.

Jasper Fforde hasn't yet disappointed me, and The Last Dragonslayer was no exception. Whimsical, quixotic, delightful--he proves yet again that his light hand toward quirky magical systems and world building works wonders. 

I received this book a few years back as a Christmas present, and sort of forgot about it (I feel terrible), which is a real shame because it doesn't disappoint. From marzipan deposits (marzipan being a most dangerous and addictive substance) to licensed wizards and ridiculous monarchs, the setting doesn't fail to draw you in. 

He has a real talent for creating funny, heart warming characters. Jennifer is the youngest MC I've read from him, but she reads as genuinely as Thursday. Moreover, he tends to write competent characters, which always helps ground you in these not-quite-our-world worlds of his. 

Ah... All right, I read this because it contained a highly intelligent young character in a Neo-Victorian setting and given I'm writing a series of books like that, I generally like to read similar books to get an idea of where tastes are, what's already been done, find comp titles, etc. 

I was a good 2/3 through, thoroughly intrigued and reminded quite firmly of the Magic Thief books by way of tone and to some degree A Series of Unfortunate Events and perhaps Groosham Grange, but then I got to a scene that really bothered me. 

I'm no stranger to dark fiction but I feel it necessary to forewarn that there are two pet cats in this book (not the MC's) and neither survives so, if that's something likely to upset you, you have been forewarned. 
There's also the matter of butterflies, which was also disturbing but less so to me in particular than the cats.

Currently I'm reading The Night Circus, I'm about 40% into that one, and I'm enjoying it, though I'm hoping to get something substantive in this next section as right now, while the smoke, mirrors and words are lovely, I need at least a dollop of substance to ground me. 

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