Tag Archive | Scepter of the Ancients

Ten Books I Enjoyed Last Year Outside My Typical Reading Zone

Here’s a list of books I read last year that were not what I typically read, but which I enjoyed all the same… mostly contemporary stuff because I’m not big into the genre but dabbled in it more recently. (Fantasy of a vaguely medieval nature is pretty much my genre, so some things outside it I just consider “weird.)

(Please note that I almost included several Diana Wynne Jones books, because they pretty much defy genre… but Diana Wynne Jones is a distinct category/genre herself in my mind, so that doesn’t count as being outside my typical reading zone, because I’ll read anything with her name on it. So I’m excluding those. We’ve got to be fair to the other poor books…)

The first six are Contemporary, but I’m dividing them into straightforward contemporary fiction, and contemporary fantasy. I don’t know why, but there’s somehow a HUGE difference…

CONTEMPORARY

heist society

Heist Society / Uncommon Criminals / Perfect Scoundrels / Double Crossed (free short story on Kindle) – by Ally Carter

5starratingI know, I’m cheating slightly with a series… But I have to put them all here together in place of one. These were so much fun. YA heist/con-artist books, clean and fun, and well-written — the writing is sort of humorous and just… yes. I quite enjoyed them and wish there were more! Also notable for a certain character, namely Hale, who is awesome. (What is his first name?? We may never know…)

31ThePenderwicksInSpring

The Penderwicks in Spring – Jeanne Birdsall

5starratingI waited so long for this book and was delighted with it. In a sense, I almost SHOULDN’T have liked it because some of it was sad or bittersweet, but it was also so hilarious and awesome and PENDERWICK-y, even though it’s set several years after the other books. Also all of the myriad of characters were so distinct and their storylines were seamlessly juggled and just gaaah, can I sign up somewhere to write this well??

CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

bookofsight

The Book of Sight (5 stars) / The Broken Circle (3 stars) / The Secret Source (4 stars) – by Deborah Dunlevy (On Goodreads)

Again with the contemporary… but I just really enjoyed these, especially the first one. For absolutely no reason. But just… it makes me happy. A group of friends and their interactions with various fantastical creatures/happenings. I’m dying to read the fourth one, still… whyyy have I not found time to read it yet?

whitecat

White Cat / Red Glove / Black Heart (The Curseworkers Trilogy) – by Holly Black

4starratingOh my goodness, how do I even start? Um. These are super dark YA, I don’t even think they should be considered YA? But despite the darkness/content and stuff, I couldn’t help really having a blast with them. (They’re even in first-person-present-tense, which I generally hate? But I just forgot while I was reading.) The hero, Cassel, is just so snarky and hilarious and unfortunate, and the series is… I don’t know. It’s mafia crime family con-artists with magic. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE. The magic is fascinating — like, there’s four or five different “types” and people are born with different kinds, and everyone wears gloves because the magic comes from the touch of hands. These books I feel like could teach me a lot about pacing and stakes and stuff, for my writing, because just everything comes at our poor hero all at once! My goodness. I can’t fully recommend them due to content, but I really enjoyed them aside from that. But yes, definitely outside my genre/comfort zone; but I’m glad I read ’em all the same. I picked up the first one on the sole recommendation of Cait’s review on Goodreads… After I read it, I thought I didn’t need to bother reading the other two. …Then the next day I realized I was really MISSING this world! Ack. So I got the other two from the library as soon as I could, and devoured them both in a day. Sigh. Addiction is bad, isn’t it? *shakes head at self* I really hope the author will write sequels or spinoffs or something, but I doubt she will…

37TheGrimmLegacy

The Grimm Legacy – Polly Shulman

4starratingThere’s a sort of lending library of magical artifacts from fairytales, in modern-day New York… This one was fun, I enjoyed it, though I feel like it had potential to be more, if you know what I mean? But it was good. Also Aaron.

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Scepter of the Ancients (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) – Derek Landy

4starratingThis was so bizarre but I adored it all the same, because of the fantastic witty banter/dialog/snark from Skulduggery Pleasant himself. It’s set in modern-day Dublin, which is so cool, and Skulduggery is awesome, even if IS a… erm… skeleton. He’s also a detective and has the best lines and this was just rather fun even though it was also kind of scary.

…STUFF

39Illusionarium

Illusionarium – Heather Dixon

5starratingI’m considering steampunk odd/outside my general reading because I’ve only read a handful. This was my first, and I loved it so so much. (For those who haven’t, you can read my incoherent fangirl babbles on this book on my other blog.) But briefly: steampunk and alternate worlds and science-y/magic-y illusion things and sarcastic footnotes by the narrator, our hero Jonathan who’s wonderful, and then of course my favorite thing about it, the character named Lockwood who is just the best ever.

53Plenilune

Plenilune – Jennifer Freitag

5starratingUm… it’s a historical-fiction 1800s turned epic medieval fantasy on the moon story? That’s… not exactly a genre I read a lot of, since it kind of doesn’t exist. It was way too long and exhausting to read because it was so beautifully written, but a lot of it was brilliant all the same, and I really love one and a half of the characters. (Dammerung is the best ever, okay? And Rupert and I have a complicated relationship. BUT DAMMERUNG. <3)

10SkinMap

The Skin Map – Stephen R. Lawhead

5starratingOh my goodness, so much genre mashing in this one too! It defies category… It starts out Contemporary England, and then becomes some odd mix of sci-fi/fantasy with time-travel and alternate time-lines and it’s a mess and I love it so much. I need to read the rest of this series… Also it’s brilliantly written and at times hilarious and so exciting and edge-of-your seat, and the CHARACTERS are just the best.

20Frederica

Frederica – Georgette Heyer

5starratingI don’t read regency romance that often, but this one was so much fun. The family dynamics in this were the best, it was sort of like E. Nesbit meets Jane Austen sort of thing… But the hero, Lord Alverstoke, was one of those kind of awful characters you love all the same (looking at YOU, Howl…) and he and the heroine and her siblings were just… awwwk, the best. *flails around* There is also a hot air balloon. What is not to love. Shenanigans and romance ensue. It’s fabulous and I need to read more of this author.

Do you have a comfort zone/genre of books that you tend to read? Do you step out of it sometimes and are the results good or bad?

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

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Top 12 Books Recently Added to My TBR

TTT

The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday prompt of the week: Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR (inspired by Jamie’s New To The Queue posts).

It’s usually top ten, but for myself I’m going just a liiiittle over.

I glanced at my latest books added to my To Be Read list on Goodreads, and there are quite a few intriguing morsels I’ve added lately!

They also have almost all been from recommendations or books people mentioned in blogs and such. This is the time of year when everyone’s posting their lists of favorite books of the year before, etc., so I’ve been gathering a lot more books on my forever growing TBR pile…

ttt3

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I’ve been wanting to perhaps read some of this famous mystery author, but I never know where to start, so I had once asked someone who mentioned she liked this author which was her favorite. She just got back to me and I promptly added this to my TBR. It sounds like an awesome mystery.

The Floating Admiral by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, G. K. Chesterton, etc.

Blogger and author Kelsey Bryant mentioned this to me recently: a mystery novel where each chapter is written by a different famous mystery author! How cool is that? Now THIS I have to see.

Blood Ties by Hazel B. West

When the author mentioned on Goodreads that she’s having a blogtour for this soon and I read the description, I couldn’t resist adding this to my list. The description starts with: “In an Ireland that mixes high kings, faeries, and modern warriors who drive fast cars, Ciran, a descendant from the famous warrior Fionn Mac Cool…” and that’s all I need to know. SIGN ME UP.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

I noticed this in a summary of 2015 books post by Deborah Dunlevy, and it sounds like so much fun. Definitely want to try it out.

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is another author who I hear good things about and never know where to START. So I asked Sarah and she recommended this one and the following one. They sound humorous. Count me in. I love humor and slightly crazy-sounding whimsical fantasy stories. Yes please.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Same story on how I came to add it as above.

ssongbirdThe Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

BECAUSE MELANIE DICKERSON! And this one is coming out this November and will be the final Hagenheim book, and is a Little Mermaid retelling set between The Merchant’s Daughter and The Princess Spy. I saw on Goodreads Shantelle add this and went AAAHH IT’S ON GOODREADS! And instantly clicked “want to read”. Yes. (Because Melanie Dickerson.)

The Map Across Time by C. S. Lakin

Again, Kelsey Bryant listed this on her top reads of last year on her blog. It sounds like a delightful fantasy which I’m itching to get my hands on…

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Cait has been after me (and everyone) forever to read some Maggie Stiefvater… So when I finally saw a review by Lisa Pickle in which she mentioned it has Welsh-ish stuff (and then I read the summary on Goodreads)… yep, had to add it.

Black Spring by Alison Croggon

Jenifer Freitag mentioned this in her list of books she read last year, saying it was recommended her by Mirriam Neal and that it’s like Wuthering Heights but better and with fantasy. I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE. (No, I haven’t actually read Wuthering Heights yet. Shush. I just need it on principal because I like the sound of the “feel”. So. Just pretend I make sense.)

Playing With Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2) by Derek Landy

Because I recently read Scepter of the Ancients, the first Skulduggery Pleasant book, and I’m dying to read more. I need more of that humorous witty banter in my life. (Now I just need to FIND more of these books… Why don’t you have them, library mine??)

The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn

Jenelle Schmidt mentioned this in her list of books she’d want on a deserted island. I’ve only read a few of Zahn’s books (Star Wars ones) and loved them… I promptly looked this up on Goodreads, and as soon as I’d read the summary I added it to my TBR so fast I think I got whiplash. It sounds like a Firefly-esque book, by Timothy Zahn, and basically I just need it right now, okay?

What have you recently added to your TBR? And is it as ever-growing as mine? (I fear it’s a booklover thing…)

Dream away in those pages…!