2013 TBR Pile Challenge

2013tbrpilechall

 

 

I didn’t do so hot with the 2012 challenge.  Sort of fell off the reading wagon in the early spring,  and while I still read a good bit during the year, I just never got back to my list.

So, with hopefully a little more FOCUS this year, I’ve got some old standbys from last year, and some new to me works to work on.  Because even if we aren’t reading, we still buy books, right?

Here’s my list:

Cajun Racing by Ed McNamara

Horse Breeding in the Medieval World by Charles Gladitz

The Byerly Turk by Jeremy James

Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffrey

Fire by Kristen Cashore

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

(anyone sense a theme?)

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

Behold the Dawn by K.M. Weiland

War Horse by Lou DiMarco (not the recent fictional work, this one is non fiction)

So here’s to binging on good books.

Do any of you have any books you are itching to read?  Anything on my list pique your interest?  Give me a shout and let me know!

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Magical March book review– Game of Thrones

Well.

I’m rather at a loss for how to sum up this book.  I finished it in a sleep deprived binge Friday into Saturday morning, and as soon as I have an opportunity to, I’m going to re-read it.

Game of Thrones is a book you don’t simply read.  It is a book you experience.  From the opening prologue through the stunning conclusion, you get sucked in and dragged along for a ride you aren’t sure you really want to be on, but you can’t manage to get off of.  You find yourself seeing things coming, and trying to shout a warning to the characters to JUST FREAKING STOP RIGHT THERE! But they can’t hear you.  Or don’t want to listen.

Martin does a brilliant job of creating complex, believable characters with strong motivations who are usually their own worst enemy, as we all are in real life.  And, as many of you well know, he isn’t afraid to treat them badly.  Very badly.  And because you come to see yourself mirrored in them, it hurts when things go wrong for them or when they do stupid, stupid things.  Just like life.  A happily ever after is not a given.

SPOILER ALERT

 

 

 

 

 

Because of my stupendous ability to be a spoiler magnet, and HBO’s ability to give me free service at exactly the wrong time, I knew Eddard Stark would meet an untimely end.  What I didn’t realize until reading the book was that his demise was a direct result of his own failings, his own ability to completely underestimate Cersi Lannister.  And dude, she warned him!  Multiple times.  I tried to also, but apparently he couldn’t hear me either.

I have a friend who is a major Martin junkie, and she told me that a lot of people who watched the HBO series were outraged when ol’ Ned got done in.  Apparently they hadn’t read the books.  But I think part of the problem was that they mistook Ned for the protagonist, which he is not.  In a story as complex with as many story lines as this one, it’s hard to pull out just one main protag, but at least in this first book, it’s definitely Cersi.  The protagonist drives the story, and Cersi is definitely the driving force here.

The other great thing about Martin’s writing , for writers, is that he presents a clinic on story tension with every paragraph of this book.   Every word serves to create micro tension, and as much craft as there is in every paragraph, I can see why it takes him so long to write the next damn book.  He also does a brilliant job of writing in different POV, and yet giving you enough that you realize what the POV character doesn’t.  Example:  Sansa.  All I’m going to say about her is that her choices led her to where she is and I really can’t feel sorry for her.  And plucky little Arya.  I’m afraid to get too attached to her, but it’s tough.

Anyway,  Game of Thrones is definitely not casual reading, but it’s great reading.  Experience it for yourself.  But…

I warn you…

Photo courtesy of Better Book Titles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will read all the rest of the books, and as long as it takes me I may be caught up by the next time he releases a book, say in five years or so.

* Bummer.  Apparently I didn’t get this posted in time for it to count for the Magical March challenge.  I didn’t remember seeing a deadline, but oh, well.  My bad.  So I won’t get my sorceress button.  Maybe next year.

Magical March Challenge book review– Graceling by Kristen Cashore

Graceling

Loved this book.  Love, love, loved this book.

The characters were complex, rich and sympathetic, with unique gifts called “graces” that can be both helpful and harmful.  Not magic in a sense, but a unique ability that can seem almost magical.  The world is detailed enough to give you a strong sense of place, but not so much that you feel like you are in a geography lesson.

The main character, Katsa, is strong and tough and her relationship with Prince Po will wrench your heart a good bit.

The w riting style manages to be both lush and spare at the same time.  I had the second book in this series already and the only thing that kept me from diving right in was the fact that it wasn’t on my challenge list. ;(

I will likely reread Graceling in the near future and recommend it highly to all lovers of YA fantasy.  THIS is the kind of book I want to write.

Have a great day everyone!

Magical March Challenge book review — A Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland

Magical March Challenge

Magical March!

I read this book at the beginning of the month, but my schedule has been so eratic this month, I just now am getting around to posting about it.  Sorry!

Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland is the third book in the second trilogy in the Nine Kingdoms series.  Yes, that’s a lot of math and yes, that will be the last math I’ll subject you to.

Gift of Magic

Gift of Magic is a sweet romance, and the characters are definitely enjoyable. I think the plot was not quite as strong as the first trilogy, there didn’t seem to be quite as much conflict.  But hey, it didn’t promise to be Game of Thrones, did it now? ;o)

Honestly though, I did enjoy the book.  It was a great light read.  Kurland has created a detailed fantasy world, with complex backstory and several systems of magic.  Her story bible for the Nine Kingdoms must weigh a ton!  Hardcore fantasy fans will likely be disappointed because she doesn’t go into as much depgh with the magic as a true fantasy, but romance fans will enjoy emensely. I recommend it for a great, light romantic read, but you should definietly check out the first series too!

Have a great day, everyone!