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What Jia’s Been Reading in January

It’s a new year! That said, I feel like I haven’t done a whole lot of reading this month. Hmm.

Skirmish by Michelle West
This is the latest in West’s fantasy cycle and the first in a long time that got me extremely excited about events in this world. That’s mostly because this is the first installment since Sun Sword ended that takes place in the present time. No more flashbacks, no more expanding the past. Good read and got me excited about the world again. (Full review here.)

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The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
Is it just me or are there more books coming out recently set in Russia? Maybe I’m imagining things. Anyway, neat concept. The protagonist is a young duchess who wants to forego marrying well and become a doctor. That’s already a problem but in addition, she happens to be a necromancer. Oops. The worldbuilding was rather muddled and the romantic subplot needed better execution. The book had good potential but the reality was still rough around the edges. Review to come.

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Fracture by Megan Miranda
Neat book. I assumed this was going to be another YA paranormal and technically, it is that but it’s not really at all. This is essentially the story of a girl who went through a traumatic life event and has to pick up the pieces of her life after. What I liked best was how this one event revealed all these little cracks and fissures in her existing relationships. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. (Full review here.)

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Firelight by Kristin Callihan
I’d been hearing lots of good things about this one so I was excited to pick this up. I don’t know if my hopes and expectations were raised but I was rather meh about it overall. I didn’t care for the romantic storyline (the couple lies to each other for most of the book) and the worldbuilding drove me nuts because it made no sense. Or maybe it was just nonexistent. I’m not sure. I also thought the hero’s secret was kept for the sole purpose of plot contrivance because the actual reveal was anticlimactic. (Full review here.)

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Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
A Robin Hood retelling. This takes the angle that history and folklore muddled “the truth” and that Maid Marian and Will Scarlet were the same person. So-so. I know there are die-hard Robin Hood fans out there so maybe they’ll be more wowed by this one than me. Review to come.

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Right now, I’m in between books, trying to decide what to pick next. Maybe I’ll read something that I don’t plan to review! Good grief, what was up with that?

So what are you guys reading? Any books you’re looking forward to in 2012?

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

9 Comments

  1. Dabney
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:01:39

    In the YA world, I’m pumped to read Insurgent for the most basic of reasons: I want to know what happens next. I’ve just started Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince–I liked the first in the series a lot. I’m interested in Libba Bray’s new series The Diviners. I love Shannon Hale’s YA work and she’s got one coming out in June called Daisy Danger. Next fall, Kresely Cole ventures into YA with a book called Poison Princess. That’s a maybe for me.

    I’m also excited about Roddy Doyle’s foray into YA. He has a book called A Greyhound of a Girl coming out in May. I love his work and think it would be interesting to read his take on YA. And, I am, based on your review of Fracture planning to read that with my daughter!

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  2. Julie @ Manga Maniac Cafe
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:02:47

    I just finished Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood, which I loved. Everything clicked for me in that novel.

    I just started Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler, and I have been reading Ember (Firelight prequel) off and on for the last few days.

    What I’m really in the mood for right now is a humorous romance, but I am not having much luck finding one.

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  3. Estara
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:49:01

    Jia, I’m not sure if you like non-romancy historical fiction about two females in a friendship set in World War II (one of them a pilot and one of them a spy caught by the Gestapo) but if you have read anything else by Elizabeth Wein you may enjoy Code Name Verity which just came out in the UK and will come out in the US in May. It really is a book about female best friends during the hardest of times.

    I really like this review for the book at GoodReads – mine is fairly gushy. I guess I’m too near.

    Full disclosure: I checked an early manuscript for the Germanness of the Nazis – being German and a history teacher at the same time.

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  4. Darlynne
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:51:33

    I just finished Mike Carey’s The Devil You Know, a sort-of mystery series about London-based exorcist Felix Cantor (and, yes, weirdly, there are Russians), which I really enjoyed. Anna Dressed in Blood was very good and surprising.

    Currently I’m listening to Alison Goodman’s Eon: Dragoneye Reborn, which is just plain wonderful. I love all the details about ancient China, dragon gods and one brave girl. And then, because who doesn’t want to read more about the global financial crisis, and just in case I get too cheerful with all these other great books, I have Michael Lewis’s immensely readable The Big Short.

    As for 2012 books? I probably won’t get around to those until 2013.

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  5. Liz
    Feb 08, 2012 @ 13:16:03

    I got my hands on an ARC of Lisa Lutz’s latest Spellman book (so excited!). But, before I read it I’m working my way through all of the previous books in the series. Loving them just as much as the first time.

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  6. Jia
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 11:18:29

    @Dabney: Insurgent’s definitely on my list of books to watch out for. Divergent was pretty much the only YA dystopian I read last year that left a (positive) lasting impression on me. I’m excited about Libba Bray’s forthcoming series too.

    @Julie @ Manga Maniac Cafe: Humor’s a tough one to find, I think. You already have the issue of it being so subjective but there’s also the fact that it seems like people are more into the darker stuff right now. Maybe it’ll cycle back in time.

    @Darlynne: I’m glad you liked Anna Dressed in Blood. I enjoyed Eon but I wasn’t quite as enamored by Eona. YMMV

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  7. Dabney
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 11:21:21

    @Julie @ Manga Maniac Cafe: Have you ever read “King Dork” by Frank Portman? (http://www.amazon.com/King-Dork-Frank-Portman/dp/0385734506/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328808037&sr=8-1) It’s slight on romance per se but I thought it was one of the funniest YA books I’ve ever read.

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  8. Julie @ Manga Maniac Cafe
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 12:06:06

    @Dabney: I haven’t even heard of the book before. Thanks for the rec – I will check it out!

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  9. Estara
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 10:14:39

    Ana at the Book Smugglers gave Code Name Verity a 10 rating today ^^ – I’m so happy.

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