[At the Amazon Kindle Community forum there is a monthly thread where participants list and comment on which books they’re reading at the moment on their Kindles. These aren’t usually full reviews, often just relatively brief impressions. I’m copying over some of my comments made there into Book Bits posts here.]
I got really lazy about putting my monthly Book Bits posts up here, but finally decided since I have them in a file on my computer I should stop procrastinating (one of my best skills!) and do it.
I finished reading Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block, which I received as a random act of kindness gift. It’s the first of the Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries. I’d put it in the “light, fun read” category and recommend it to anyone who thinks the synopsis sounds interesting.
I did notice one kinda funny thing while reading. In my head I have a strong association between Block and pulp novels of the 50s and 60s, so as I was reading I had to keep reminding myself that Burglars was published in 1977, not 1957. I’ve read two crime novels from Block now and he does a pretty good job of writing in a way so that his stories don’t feel too horribly dated, despite the fact they were published 30-50 years ago.
I finished reading Shadows of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe ($4.99). This one is an old, beloved favorite of mine, originally published in 1991. Wolfe had an extremely annoying love affair with exclamation points, not just in dialogue, but all through the narration. However, I love the characters and the story, and this is probably about the fifth time I’ve read the book. (First time on my Kindle.) It was wonderful visiting an old, dear friend. It’s a science fantasy novel (similar to the Darkover and Pern books, in which there are SF underpinnings, but the story reads mostly like traditional fantasy).
Not quite ready to leave that world behind yet, I’ve now just started Fires of Aggar ($4.99) which is a sequel, but set in the far distant future from the first book.
I finished Fires of Aggar by Chris Anne Wolfe. I love the world building and characters, and it’s a pretty good story. But the writing gets in the way sometimes, lessening enjoyment.
I’m now about 25% into The Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan. I was blessed that a fellow Kindler gifted this book and the second one in the trilogy as a random act of kindness a few months ago and I was now in the perfect mood to start reading them.
This is the third trilogy from Canavan that I’ll have read. The first one, The Black Magician Trilogy (first book is The Magician’s Guild), is in the same world but the events take place 20 years earlier. The other trilogy, The Age of the Five (first book is Priestess of the White), is a fantasy trilogy in a totally different world. Both of them were very good, so I’ve been looking forward to reading this one.
And with good reason evidently because it absorbed me right away, even though my memory is very hazy about events in the first books because it’s been a few years since I read them. Which means that anyone who hasn’t read the first trilogy can easily read this one without feeling terribly lost. Info about previous events is handed out in the narrative as needed.
I finished The Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan, first book in the Traitor Spy trilogy, and it was great. The book constantly hops around between four main characters and in some books that would drive me nuts, but in this case it helped keep the story moving at a fast pace and kept things interesting all the way through. It’s a 560 page book but I devoured it very quickly.
I finished The Rogue by Trudi Canavan, which is the second book in the Traitor Spy trilogy. Good stuff! It started a little slow in a few places but then picked up steam and I tore right through it. Unfortunately, the third book isn’t out yet or I’d be in the middle of it right now. Can hardly wait!
Then, needing a change of pace I read Rebeccah and the Highwayman by Barbara Davies. Fluff lesbian fiction about an upper class woman who becomes involved with Blue-Eyed Nick, a woman posing as a male highwayman in the early 1700s. Not great fiction, but it was a fun read.
That book put me in the mood for more “woman with a sword” fiction, so I started The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. I’ve just barely started it, so can’t comment too much except to say that I’m enjoying the writing.
I finished reading The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. This book was a little difficult for me to get into. It was different than I was expecting and at the start I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters or what was happening. But Kushner is a good writer and that encouraged me to keep going to give it more of a chance, whereas if the writing had been more clunky or amateurish I likely would have dropped it and gone on to something else instead.
I ended up liking the book quite a bit, but it was a slow growing thing. As it went on I became more intrigued and wondered where things were going. By the time I was about 70% into it I was dismayed that book was nearing the end much sooner than I was ready for and was wishing it was twice as long.
I’d love to read a direct sequel with the same characters, but the following book set in the same world is about different characters in the central roles. Just as this one centered on different characters than the first Swords of Riverside book, Swordspoint, which I had read a few years ago.
I finished reading StarCrossed by Elizabeth Bunce ($2.99). This was one of those books I wasn’t too sure of at first, it didn’t really grab me hard, but it became more and more interesting the further I got into it. In the end I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I’ll ever go on to read the sequels.
There were two things in the writing that did bug me. The author’s choice of names for people and places were often awkward. I don’t know how to explain it, but a lot of them didn’t flow in my head easily, so I was always having to force myself to pronounce them correctly. (An example is one character named Eptin Csomething, and my brain kept calling him “Captain”.) Another issue was that sometimes she did a poor job of explaining things, so that later what was going on didn’t match my initial understanding. This was especially true in the placement of an important pass in the mountains.
There was also an issue with the Kindle edition where a lot of words with more than one syllable were broken up with spaces between each syllable. Strange, and obviously should have been caught in proofreading the digital edition before publishing. However, even with those issues, I still ended up liking the story quite a bit, which involved a lot of political stuff and a young female thief caught up in situations beyond her control.