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Decoding the Jacket Blurb

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I have been known to be a discerning (re: picky) book reader. For this reason I tend not to take book recommendations from people who do not know me well and I've pretty much broken both Amazon's and Goodread's recommendation alogrithims to the point that I get better luck randomly wandering a bookstore or library hoping for a "ooh SHINY" reaction.

However I also love discussing books with people. So I will sometimes read books that I have no real interest in in order to discuss said book. Discussions can be more interesting when someone politely disagrees with some of it and can support it.

So here's a look at something that I am not interested in reading and the reasons why it isn't for me behind every line of the cover blurb.

Today it shall be The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan. The original is bolded, my comments are not.

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Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

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This is the sort of review I get kind of grumpy about writing (but I do anyway). The premise is that Verity Price, ballroom dancer and cryptozoologist, investigates some disappearances of the local population of creatures of legend. While doing so, she meets Dominic, member of a pseudo-religious order called the Covenant that has been taking lessons in interspecies relations from the Daleks. Stuff happens.


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The Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer

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When I picked up this book, I was expecting a cheese-tastic steampunk romp through New York. That was exactly what I got with The Falling Machine.
 
It centers around Sarah, daughter of the superhero known as the Tycoon. He happens to be the leader of a steam-age Justice League. The League has a bit of a corruption and a vision problem. Unfortunately, the only ones who see this problem are Sarah, the Automaton, the Sleuth and Professor Darby.
 
First of all, It does get bonus points for mentioning the suffragettes right from the start. In addition, it mentions men who are all for women getting the vote as well (which happens to be period accurate) and there is veiled mention on successful ladies in fields other than badassery.
 
Overall, I thought that the book was terrifically cheesy. The prose seems overblown and more than a little melodramatic in places. More than a few characters are obviously taking their cues from other sources. There's some potential for more regarding what it means to be a person (via Tome the Automaton), sexism (Sarah of course), and general social discrimination (from both) but there's a lot of running around and these things got somewhat run over by the main mystery of the book. Needless to say, the prose didn't wow me overmuch. However, I kept wishing that the story had been given illustration or illuminated panels. Actually, I wanted a comic book. Preferably with art from whoever did the cover.
 
Sarah is okay as the protagonist and while some part of me went into face palm overdrive with regards to the Sleuth (on multiple fronts) I did like most of the open minded good guys. Also, given the time period WHY HAVE NONE OF THESE NUTS ROLLED TO THE LEFT SIDE OF THE CONTINENT WITH THE REST OF THEM? Sigh.
 
I did enjoy the book, but I wouldn't call it particularly thoughtful. And I still want illustrations.

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

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Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

I am generally not prone to unmitigated and spontaneous squeeing except on rare occasions or when presented with almost anything that may be described as “adorable.” Since “adorable” is what I use to describe baby octopi and itty bitty corn snakes as well as my chinchilla, you can take that as you will. Nevertheless, I was in a major tizzy of anticipation over this book. Quite possibly my biggest book tizzy of the year.
 


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With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan

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When I pick up a book set in Victorian England and purporting to have fairies in it I come to it with a few expectations regarding the social class of the people involved, the nature of the fairies, and the setting of the story involved. I have to report that With Fate Conspire managed to overturn each and every one of those expectations and I couldn't be happier about it.


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A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

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Since I liked the Wee Free Men, I thought I would continue with Tiffany Achings adventures with the Nac Mac Feegle.
 
A Hat Full of Sky is about Tiffany as she begins her training in witchery. Unfortunate;y she's beeing hunted by something unpleasant and of course the Nac Mac Feegle have to try to rescue her. Unfortunately the Pictsie way of trying to stop something that cannot be seen, smelled or touched by beating it to a pulp might not be the best tactic here. But don't tell them that.

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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

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I picked this up because I thought that the pretense sounded interesting. A library full of working magical items? I am so there.
 
So the story is about Elizabeth, a new student page at the New York Circulating Material Repository. There are some particular esoteric collections of stuff from the descendants of the Brothers Grimm, among others (don't go into the Lovecraft Collection). Needless to say, there are those who would like to abuse their lending privileges.

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Cold Fire by Kate Elliott

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As is my habit, when I find someone writing stuff I find intriguing I want more of it (hence my patience in waiting for Nick Harkaway's next book). Since the alternate history presented in Cold magic was really interesting with all kinds of far reaching effects, I went and picked up Cold Fire.

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Dangerous Waters by Juliet E. McKenna

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Some might think it strange that I haven't really read “the big names” of epic fantasy. I've no real desire to read George RR Martin's doorstops or Patrick Rothfuss's material and I have stalwartly refused to read the Wheel of Time because I know my attention span (while improving) just isn't up to the task. Nonetheless, I do find things that intrigue me in the epic fantasy subgenre, without taking the road more traveled. So I decided to read Dangerous Waters.

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Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

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I love small conventions because I always end up with new additions to my list of things I really want to read. This was one of the books I picked up as a direct result.

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