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So What Have you Read Lately? And other favorite books!


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Right now I am listening to David Drake's With the Lightnings.  It is so incredibly boring its astounding.  Something is finally happening 7 hours in, but that took oh, so long.  Not to mention that writing is pretty terrible.  The main character, as of right now, is wholly unlikable.  @Doug Sundseth recommended it so I hope it gets better.  I am listening to it, but so far I am sure if that works well as Drake breaks passages all the time with view pint shifts (small paragraphs at times too) and that is often hard to follow in audio format.  This is an homage to Aubrey/Mautrin series but right now, I would say just read that.

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Some catchup for my own amusement. tl;dr away.





A dragonmark thought long lost to Eberron may have suddenly reappeared, throwing a former elite soldier and his companions into turmoil and chase across a magically scarred wasteland.


This entire series might have the biggest "cool stuff about setting or I'd steal for a game" vs. "painful to read" split of all the D&D novels I've ever read.


The good: a neat look at the Mournland, a cool encounter with an undead elf, and airship, and some great warforged material.


The bad: repetitive and wheel-spinning plot, a lack of character development, and less than stellar prose.


Final word: Come for the food ideas; you might leave for the bland execution.





The chase continues across the Talenta Plains. The good: halflings, dinos, Fort Bones, the wilds of the Mror Holds. The bad: More of the same.





The chase changes directions. To Argonnessen!


The good: Argonnessen!


The bad: a near total waste of Argonnessen! Frustratingly aimless plot that just kind of peters out.





A Harper teams up with a fallen paladin and a community of gnomes to repel an evil outsider driving gnolls onto a path of destruction. Fast-paced--just one thing after another, nearly to a fault--and entertaining enough but perhaps not particularly memorable.





Another solid entry featuring Danilo Thann. Not quite as entertaining as Elfshadow, but solid fantasy adventure with plenty of chances for the deceptively hapless protagonist to shine as he seeks to discover the secret of magical song to avert disaster.





Disappointing and cold, if fairly competent, followup to Caledan Caldorien's previous outing as he takes a backseat to plot device in favor of young Harper Mari Al'Marin, his former lover, as she seeks to redeem him from dark magic.





h/t top somebody here who I think I first saw mention this book. Saw it on Amazon back before Christmas as grabbed it on the buy-two-get-one-free deal. Fun, if a bit predictable, heist/mystery adventure in a not-quite steampunk fantasy city where magic infuses everyday objects. You can feel Bennett trying a little too hard to convince the reader just what a strong female lead Sancia is sometimes, and the language turns a little rough a third of the way or so in for what otherwise could nearly pass for a YA novel--well, fairly graphic violence also notwithstanding--but at its core a really fun read.





Collection of short stories chronicling the adventures, both rather magical and also more personal, of the monster hunter Geralt of Rivia. Leans a bit into exposition by way of explain-y dialogue but a great read all the same. It's hard not to get pulled along into the moral gray areas of Geralt's duties and destiny.





Young thief Seren joins up with the crew of an airship--including a young artificer desperate to prove himself, a warforged on a path of redemption, and a former knight turned inquisitive--on an adventure to claim a world-altering magical artifact. All Eberron entries should be like this: Wulf pulls together the grittiness of noir with the magic of high fantasy. Great read, highly recommend.

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I just picked up a free e-book to read to Brigid - The Princess in Black.

Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret — she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! From the award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter-book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.


There may be an argument about which of us gets to read it to her. ::):


The Auld Grump - Megan is my black clad princess.


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6 hours ago, TheAuldGrump said:

I just picked up a free e-book to read to Brigid - The Princess in Black.




There may be an argument about which of us gets to read it to her. ::):


The Auld Grump - Megan is my black clad princess.


sounds like you might want the Princess World rpg at some point...

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Great middle entry in the series. Artificer Tristam Xain moves a bit more to the center of things, along with his relationship with Seren (though just barely), while the secondary characters, especially inquisitor Zed Arthen and Sentinel Martial Eraina, get more time to shine, as the crew races as far as the Frostfell and the Mournlands in search of the pieces to Ashram d'Cannith's powerful Legacy.





All great stories end in Sharn. This was a pretty great story.


I loved this series. Characters are great, the plot engaging. It's fun. Go read it.





A nice collection of stories, largely following women in, uh, certain states, I guess. Solid prose. At their best the stories keep a body caring about their characters while also taking some stylistic risks. Highlights: A man reads his ex's latest short story while sorting out her mail in "Violations"; a woman deals with her mother's whim and the confusion of loss in "ur heck box"; newlyweds visit with a friend of the husband's family on their honeymoon in "Touching People"; a woman sorts out her complicated relationship with an ex while cat-sitting in "Small Differences"; and a woman tries to figure out where she fits in her family and in the world in "Family Physics."


Also, it's like whoever did this cover had me in mind.





Great collection of poems chronicling Wyatt Earp's life and exploits. The poems at their fiercest rock the reader with danger, surprising tenderness, and cool (especially for devotees of the American West and/or [let's be honest here] the film Tombstone). I struggled with the style at times, not being a big Beat guy or whatnot, but that's more of a me problem. Fun, fantastic read.





Wonderful collection of stories chronicling mostly women at crossroads in their lives. Often dealing with the complications of sex and sexuality and relationships, these stories face big issues in the most intimate and meaningful ways. Everyone should be talking about this book. Highlights: A married man and mysterious woman skirt romance in NYC in "Answer"; a woman resists adding a child to their family in "Addition"; a dressmaker battles the ghost of her boyfriend's ex in "Slice"; a potter in the midst of an affair remakes broken objects in "Kintsukuroi"; and a man and woman struggle to grow their family in "Frequency."

Edited by Marvin
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2 hours ago, Crowley said:

I just finished up Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London #7) be Ben Aaronovitch. Love this series so much. Can't wait for book 8 to arrive... 


Is it really good, Crowley? I've got to admit that I gave up after Foxglove Summer. It seemed to me that Mr Aaranovitch was just spinning things out to sell more books. There was little character or plot development in the last couple of volumes I read and even PC Grants character had become a bit thin. Has the author really returned to form?

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2 minutes ago, paintybeard said:


Is it really good, Crowley? I've got to admit that I gave up after Foxglove Summer. It seemed to me that Mr Aaranovitch was just spinning things out to sell more books. There was little character or plot development in the last couple of volumes I read and even PC Grants character had become a bit thin. Has the author really returned to form?

So... I'm not super critical of my popcorn reading. Things did, in retrospect get a little flat, but then this is also the first one of the series that I actually read. All the others I devoured as audiobooks. And the narrator's ability to capture the character's voices I think hid any deficiencies in the story. 


That said, I really enjoy all the world building, even when the rest of it might be a bit flat. 


So, to your question, is it really good? I really liked it, and the few hours I spent reading it did not feel wasted. 

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I have a request and hopefully someone can fill a desire of mine...  I am looking for some Scifi books involving discovery of a new world.  My favorite example of this type of book is Mirabile by Janet Kagen.  I am looking for something to settle down with where our protagonist(s) are on a new world discovering the flora and fauna and dealing with live in a new colony. What I am not looking for is a military novel.  I love books like Old Mans War and the Forever war but that isn't what I am looking for.  I haven't been able to find what I want so I thought I would ask and see what this group could come up with.



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Dragons egg and the sequel starquake were fun reads, if a little dated. I'm looking a little more for humans land on a new planet and either discover wondrous things or something went wrong and now must survive.  Other titles in this group are Anne Mcaffrey's Dragonsdawn (well sort of that whole series but that one specifically) and dinosaur planet, Taylor's Ark, heart of the comet, to name a few more.  Just feel like that sort of book.  Re-reading my sector general novellas while I find something else. (Can the hyper intelligent prune lift a dinosaur?  Yes, yes it can)

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50 minutes ago, Rob Dean said:

Have you ever read the Heinlein juvenile Tunnel in the Sky?


Yup. I'm afraid I am looking for pretty new authors or obscure ones my electronic library is in the GB size and I've read most of them.  Of Heinlein's  juvenile series I still like the Star Beast the best.  It's the one that really sticks in my mind but I've read his works through as well as the other classics like Brin, Sheffield, Bear, Niven, and Benford.  Their works are great but strong enough that even decades later I remember the plot points and the whammy of the book isn't as much fun.

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