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Books 2012

Books I read in 2012, organized by category and then alphabetically by author:

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Non-Fiction—Memoir, Autobiography, Biography:

Fiction Ruined My Family, Jeanne Darst
There were some funny parts of this memoir but much of it made me angry and sad. Maybe that’s my own lingering issues from childhood coming out; having grown up with alcoholism and mental illness around me, it’s hard to see their charm. That’s not to say this isn’t a good, readable book; it is.

I’m Feeling Lucky, Douglas Edwards
This made a good companion to In the Plex, which I read at the end of last year; it gave me a personal perspective on some of the stories and events I remembered from the other book. I would have loved it if there were more reflection at the end—was it worth it to sacrifice so much family and personal time for an employer, even if it did make the author rich (I assume, he never really gets into that in any detail)? I also hope Marissa Mayer writes her side of the story someday.

Following Ezra, Tom Fields-Meyer
This memoir by a Jewish father about his autistic son and the rest of their family wouldn’t seem to be in my wheelhouse, since I’m a non-Jewish non-parent who doesn’t have any relatives with autism, but I loved it. It was entertaining and funny and touching.

Five Years on the Appalachian Trail, Buck Innerebner (K)
Reading this felt a lot like reading someone’s journal, if that person had written the journal thinking it might be published one day. There was an informality to it, with the tense sometimes slipping from present to past and the author commenting on his own writing ability. Since this is a published work, though, available for purchase on Amazon for $12, I think there should have been more editing done, or at the very least, more proofreading. When I’d run into errors like “evaluation” instead of “evolution”, “Crocks” in place of “Crocs”, or “matradee” for “maitre d'”, I’d get distracted from the story.

Don’t Trade the Baby for a Horse, Wendy McClure (K)
I liked The Wilder Life and this short e-book has more stories and reflections in a similar vein. I read it pretty much in one sitting, but I’ll be revisiting my favorites (like the two “pig parts” vignettes).

Someone Else’s Twin: The True Story of Babies Switched at Birth, Nancy L. Segal
This took me a long time to get through because there wasn’t enough story here, and what there was didn’t make me feel much of anything. Nonfiction can be engaging; this wasn’t.
The text jumps around between recounting the author’s trip to Spain to conduct interviews with a set of switched twins and their family members and attorneys, dry retellings of the interviews themselves (conducted with a translator, since the author didn’t speak Spanish), and information about other switched twins and twin research projects the author has been involved in.

Three Dog Life, Abigail Thomas (K)
This is only partly about dogs. It’s mostly about what happens to a marriage, to a wife, when the husband suffers a traumatic brain injury. The story is told in a non-linear fashion, which led to me being confused sometimes; perhaps this was done intentionally to give a little taste of what having an injured brain is like. For such a tragic subject matter, this didn’t tug at my heart as much as I’d have guessed.

The Trail Life, Julie Urbanski (K)
I almost gave up on this book early on, as it could really have benefited from better editing and proofreading. There were sentence fragments (“In one single trip. Also known as the term, thru-hiking.”), misplaced commas, and repetition galore. It read like an essay written by an earnest high school or college student trying to pad her page count. I persevered, though, much like the author did on the Pacific Crest Trail. I enjoyed the stories about the trail life itself much more than the parts about the life lessons learned from the experience; the lesson sections got very rambly and random.

Growing Up Amish, Ira Wagler (K)
I learned some things about the Amish that I didn’t know, but didn’t learn as much about the author as I’d expect from a memoir. At one point, he writes about a discussion he had with church officials, saying “They wanted the juicier details, and I didn’t let them down.” I definitely felt let down, since I read the whole book and have no clear idea what the juicier details were. Based on what is in this book, I feel like many of the people could have benefited greatly from talk therapy and/or antidepressants, but since they were Amish, both of those options seem to be off the table. There’s also a horse in the story that could have benefited greatly from having the vet called early on; why one was not is never really explained. A lot of things aren’t really explained, and that left me unsatisfied.

100 Ideas That Changed Fashion, Harriet Worsley
The pictures are the best part of this; in a few cases, the text refers to images that aren’t included, and that was frustrating. The essays themselves often ended quite abruptly; I go the feeling the author just wanted to wrap up and move on to the next idea.


Vintage Craft Workshop, Cathy Callahan
I am not likely to ever do any of the projects in this book, yet I am still so happy to have found it and read it. Like the author, I grew up in a crafty household and it was so fun to see some of the old projects I remember and learn more about the women behind them. I liked the colorful borders for each chapter. I was not a fan of some of the color schemes used for some of the contributor bios; things like orange text on a yellow orange background were too hard on my eyes.

Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in Sweden, Kaffe Fassett
The best part of this was the section that showed the design process that led to some of these quilts. I also liked that in addition to the artistic photos showing the quilts in and around the historic Swedish buildings there was also a studio photo of each quilt showing the entire layout. The advertisement vibe to this is a bit too strong for my taste; all of the quilts are made from fabrics that Kaffe and his studio design and profit from and the supplies lists indicate which prints in which colorways one should purchase to replicate the quilt exactly (kits are also available).

Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts, Rayna Gillman
The very early parts of this reminded me very much of a class I took from Nancy Crow years ago, and I was feeling sort of “been there, done that”, but the more I read, the more excited I got; this approach seemed more fun and more do-able for me, and the section about transforming leftover/ugly traditional blocks was really eye opening for me. I’m really looking forward being able to play with some of these ideas soon.

Quilting Line and Color: Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts , Yoshiko Jinzenji
This is a project book, not a process book. A lot of the photos were so artistic, with large out of focus areas, that I couldn’t get a good look at the quilts, so that’s a drawback. Still, the use of asymmetry, white space, layers, and light in the projects gave me lots to think about. I was surprised in the instruction section that the batting and back were basted together before the top was added to the sandwich and basted; I don’t think I’ve heard of that approach before.

Non-Fiction—Everything Else:

Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?:A Modern Guide to Manners, Henry Alford
Despite the subtitle, this isn’t a manual. It’s more like an etiquette-focused memoir. The index is worth reading for laughs, though I don’t see myself using this as a reference book.

Oahu Revealed, Andrew Doughty and Harriet Friedman
I won’t know for sure how good a book this was until I’ve been to Oahu to try some of the recommendations, but it was pleasant enough to read, with the author’s sense of humor coming through in a lot of spots and plenty of good photos.

Hawaii The Big Island Revealed, Andrew Doughty and Leona Boyd
Same as with the Oahu book in this series, I won’t know how good this was until I’ve made it to the island myself. The reading experience was fine, and the pictures are nice.

Filming the Undead, Rod Durick
I don’t plan to make my own movie, much less a zombie movie, but picked this up from the library’s new acquisitions section because I was intrigued by the idea that enough people are out there making low budget zombie movies to make a market for this book. I found the sections on makeup the most interesting, probably because it was the most relatable to my life. If I were wanting to make a film, this did seem to lay out the steps and point out the things to be on top of in a clear, understandable way.

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee (K)
While I read this I cycled between thinking “thank goodness I’m not that bad” and “oh my, that’s how I feel about my stuff”. There does seem to be a hoarder in me waiting to come out (she’s already made inroads in my basement and some of my closets). I found the case studies interesting; I do wish there had been photos, if even just the staged ones that were described as being created as a diagnostic tool.

A Night to Remember, Walter Lord (K)
This is an interesting historical document, written in 1955 about the sinking of the Titanic. The author had the advantage of being able to interview survivors and include their quotes, but the information is relayed in such a dry fashion that there’s not much emotion to be found. I got the most choked up when reading about the rescue preparations on the Carpathia, not when anyone was actually drowning. I’m glad I read it, but now I want to find a more in depth book about the tragedy. Or maybe I don’t. That would probably make me feel angry and sad.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, Jon Ronson
I hadn’t expected that reading about psychopaths would be as enjoyable as I found this book to be.

Program or Be Programmed, Douglass Rushkoff
I never quite connected with this book—maybe because I am a programmer? I think it might be better read by someone who hasn’t already thought about most of the “10 commands” this book is structured around. I was most intrigued by the information on how a steady diet of MP3s appears to be reducing the current generation’s ability to distinguish among various sounds; I’d like to follow that thread, so for giving me that start, it was worth reading.

Oahu Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Surf from Waikiki to the North Shore, Jerry Sprout and Janine Sprout

Hawaii The Big Island Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Snorkel, Surf, Bike, Drive, Jerry Sprout and Janine Sprout

I didn’t quite finish reading either of these books before our trip (and wasn’t motivated to finish them afterwards) but since I read a big chunk of both, I’m including them here. From a reading perspective, there’s some trip planning advice in the backs of the books that I think would have made more sense placed closer to the start of the book to give some context for the detailed information that follows. I liked the organization of these books better than the “Revealed” series. For instance, there was a section of lists that made it easy to find the best stops for our Oahu circle tour.

Fiction—Paranormal, Romance, Erotica, Fantasy:

Darker After Midnight, Lara Adrian
This is one of my favorite series, and I pretty much enjoyed the heck out of most of this 10th installment. I had a couple quibbles with things like why no one who broke into a lab looking for data brought a thumb drive with them, but those were easy enough to skate past. When it came to the climax, though, I felt things got too grandiose. I was glad that the story arc that ran through all the books to date got wrapped up; I just wished it had wrapped up slightly differently.

Taste of Midnight, Lara Adrian (K)
The elements of a Midnight Breed novel, stripped nearly to the bones. The romance got short shrift in favor of the action adventure; I would have preferred the other way around.

On the Edge, Ilona Andrews
I loved this, to the point where I carried it around with me and read it at times and in places where I don’t usually read. There’s a strong heroine, a richly developed world, a handsome hero, some drama, some romance, some humor. I don’t know why it took me so long to find this series, but I’m sort of glad it did since now I don’t have to wait for the next book.

Bayou Moon, Ilona Andrews
I sped through this pretty quickly. Enjoyed it slightly less than the first installment because the romance didn’t get as much attention as I’d hoped, I felt the hero was cheated out of a resolution he deserved, and there was some stupidness on the part of both hero and heroine at one point that just seemed unnecessary.

Long Relief, Abigail Barnette (K)

Double Header, Abigail Barnette (K)

Triple Play, Abigail Barnette (K)

I was fortunate to win these three novellas in a giveaway the author had on her blog; they’re the first contemporary baseball romances I’ve read (is that even a genre?). They are novellas, so the stories move right along. I like the variety of relationships that get focus: m/f, m/m, m/f/m. I got a bit confused in the third book when a player I thought had been fired in the second one appeared to be still on the team, but could be I missed something since I was distracted by the other action. I’m glad I had all three, as I think reading just one wouldn’t satisfy—I certainly wished they were longer, that we’d gotten to know more about the characters and see more of their amorous activities.

Touch the Dark, Karen Chance
I was in the mood for more romance than this had in it, but still mostly enjoyed it, as it was a new paranormal world to learn about. The biggest problem I had was with the heroine insisting on doing things the hard way/her own way—there’s being strong and independent and there’s being stubborn and stupid, and I thought she fell on the wrong side of that divide too often. I’m not sure if I’ll read on in the series.

Dreams of a Dark Warrior, Kresley Cole
This installment of the Immortals After Dark series has so much overlap in time and setting with the previous book that I got confused, more than once feeling I’d already read it since I knew so much about the prison and what would happen. I didn’t much care for the hero, and the torture elements from the last book continued here, so this is far from my favorite in the series.

Lothaire, Kresley Cole
I was somewhat reluctant to start this 12th book in the series since the previous installment had not delighted me, and I already knew I was ambivalent at best about the hero in this one. I spent the first part of the book being confused about the heroine—somewhere along the line, I’d decided a different character was Lothaire’s mate so needed to let go of that. Once I’d gotten past that hurdle, I was hooked, and sped through the rest of the story. There were a couple plot points near the end that didn’t make a ton of sense to me; I might have to go back and re-read those sections to see if I misunderstood. I finished reading still ambivalent about the hero: more favorably disposed to him than when I started but still not sure which side he’s on.

Just Ask, Mia Downing (K)
Apparently there’s a thing called GFY books—Gay for You, not Good For You (You’re Gay), which was my first thought—and this is one of them, as I discovered when I added it to my books on Goodreads. There were some plot points that really stretched my sense of credulity, and a scattering of proofreading errors that distracted me, but nonetheless I really enjoyed it. The main characters and their growing relationship engaged me enough that I was willing say “okay, sure” to things that would have really bothered me in another book with characters I liked less.

Deadly Fear, Cynthia Eden
Reading this reality-based romance reminded me why I prefer paranormals: it’s easier to suspend disbelief if the universe of the book isn’t the one I live in. Also, violent acts perpetrated by paranormal/immortal beings in fiction don’t resonate in my brain in the same disturbing way ones done by characters who could be real people do. This book wasn’t a good fit for me.

Hotter After Midnight, Cynthia Eden
I had some reservations about how very alpha the hero was, especially early on, and would have like the romance to be fleshed out more. Yet since the plot moved along nicely and there were plenty of hot scenes to distract me from the things that niggled at me, it’s a keeper for me.

Noah, Jacquelyn Frank
On the minus side, there’s a lot of angst in this one and not much forward momentum in the larger story arc. On the plus, the heroine gets to kick a lot of butt and there are plenty of hot scenes.

Halfway to the Grave, Jeaniene Frost
I’m so glad I got over my hesitation that this would be too much urban fantasy and too little romance for me, because I loved this, finished it in a weekend, and have already ordered the next two books in the series.

One Foot in the Grave, Jeaniene Frost
As with the first book in the series, I raced through this because I just wanted to keep reading. I ended up liking it just slightly less than the first one because the heroine does something quite dumb at a certain point and that was very disappointing.

At Grave’s End, Jeaniene Frost
I didn’t find this one as engaging as the first two. I’m really starting to wonder how long the vamps and other supernaturals in this world can stay hidden, given some of the things that go on in this book.

Must Love Hellhounds, Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook (K)
Not as hot as Burning Up, the anthology I read before this one. The Harris story is not set in her familiar Southern Vampire setting and didn’t pull me in. The Singh offering is part of her angels and vampires series, which I have read some of; I liked seeing the backstory to characters I knew from the novels. The Andrews is set in the Kate Daniels world, which I know only from the teasers in the back of the Edge books, but I didn’t feel confused as a result. The Brook is from a series I don’t know at all, but I enjoyed it.

Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris
Like the previous book in this series, this is another meh from me. I’m glad this series is almost over so I’ll be able to say a proper goodbye to the Eric I knew and liked rather than hoping I’ll see him again (the Eric in this installment sure isn’t that guy).

Stolen, Jinx Jamison (K)
This is a very short erotic story followed by excerpts from other works by the author. I liked one of the excerpts better than the main story, so I need to seek out the full length ebook of that one at least.

Burning Up, Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra, and Meljean Brook (K)
This anthology is nice mix of stories. The Nalini Singh story is a human-changeling pairing; I’m not entirely sure where this fits into the Psy-Changeling timeline, but it was nice to see some familiar characters in supporting roles here. The Angela Knight nicely pressed some of my hot buttons in a good way. The Virginia Kantra was both historical and paranormal; I thought it was sweet. The Meljean Brook is a new genre for me, steampunk romance, and I liked it a lot and wanted more.

Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang, Katie MacAlister
I had to read this to get the ending that should have been in the previous book in the series (Zen and the Art of Vampires). The tone was still a bit too much on the madcap side for my taste though I did enjoy this more than the earlier book—until the very end, when I plot thread I’d hoped and assumed would get resolved did not. I’m not sure if there’s yet another book I need to read to find out how that turns out. Maybe I’ll just make up my own story for that part.

Easily Amused, Karen McQuestion (K)
If I hadn’t needed the “E” for my A-Z challenge, I probably wouldn’t have finished this light read, as I wasn’t especially engaged by the plot or the characters. It helped not one bit that the main character maligned “butter burgers at the local custard stand”. I come from Wisconsin stock and have quite a soft spot for butter burgers (ground beef patties fried in butter).

Zane’s Tale: A Succubus Diaries Short, Jill Myles (K)
The description of this on Amazon notes that it’s not meant to stand alone, and indeed it does not. The world’s already built when the story starts, and no road map is provided. I think a bit more meat would have made this a better vehicle to draw me into the series. On the plus side, this had no glaring editing or proofreading errors to take me out of the story.

Marked, Elisabeth Naughton (K)
I could have done with less drama and angst and more questioning from the heroine upon being introduced to a new world. Still, I did enjoy it.

Accidentally In Love With .. A God? , Mimi Jean Pampiloff (K)
This turned out to be not a good fit for me. The point of view flips back and forth, with about half the chapters being in the first person from a character I found entirely too impulsive (she was young, so I guess that made some sense). There are some series that combine wacky humor and graphic violence and make it work (Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark springs to mind) but this one didn’t strike the right balance for me. I am of course willing to forgive a lot if there are plenty of hot scenes to distract me, but there were not. All of this meant that the lack of proofreading really glared at me. “Pecks” is not the right word if one wants a short form of “pectorals”. The locator service is “LoJack”, not “Low-Jack”. “Old-fashion” is not an adjective as far as I know.

Fallen, Quiana (K)
I admire people who persevere and self-publish their e-books, but I think I need to avoid their products for a while, as this is the second one in a row I’ve gotten which was sorely in need of editing and proofreading. I might have been able to overlook most of that if the sex scenes were hotter, but they were not that great, nor could I empathize with the first person narrator, which would have also more kindly disposed me to this. On the plus side the ending wasn’t what I expected.

Rock & Roll, Deliza Rafferty (K)
This is a short story (published as a standalone ebook), so there’s not really time to get to know the main character much less any supporting ones. I’d be interested to see what the author does in a longer form, as I like a little more foreplay than this gave me before jumping into the sex.

Play of Passion, Nalini Singh
This far into a series, it’s saying something that I’m still enjoying it as much as I am. The dominance issues rankle me a bit, but since they make sense in the world of the series, I can deal with it.

Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh (K)
I do really like this world, but this installment felt both overlong and not focused enough on the main couple. Maybe I’m complaining about those things because I’m still not comfortable with the main couple; we the readers met the heroine when she was too young to date, and I’m not convinced she’s grown up enough to be mated for life at this point. She’s also a bit too super hero-y for me to believe.

Archangel’s Consort, Nalini Singh
I like that this series doesn’t have a new couple every book so the relationship between the two characters it started with can be explored more. I like that the heroine is not perfect, too. I didn’t like that the big plot thing that loomed over the whole book pretty much fizzled out near the end.

Archangel’s Blade, Nalini Singh
I like this world so much that I am willing and able to suspend my disbelief more than I do with other authors, and thus did really enjoy this book. Still, a heroine who had been tortured sexually by vampires in the not so distant past hooking up with a vampire who’s into BDSM? A hero who was still not over the woman he’d loved a thousand years ago mating with someone new thanks to a handy plot device? I think this relationship needed more groundwork laid for it.

Heart of the Hunter, Lara Adrian writing as Tina St. John (K)
This is historical paranormal and that just doesn’t work as well for me as contemporary paranormal. I liked it well enough to think I’ll probably read the next book in the series, though.

The Party Boy’s Guide to Dating a Geek, Piper Vaughn and Xara X. Xanakas (K)
A sweet romance about guys young enough that I could be the mom of either one, which felt a little weird for me to be reading.

Lover Reborn, J. R. Ward
As with most of the recent books, I felt there was one subplot too many, but the good news is none of the subplots made me want to skip right over them. Some of the things that happened don’t seem to be consistent with what I’ve learned of this world from past books, and I wish there’d been more explanation. I did like the development of the more interesting bad guys who’ve popped up recently and rather hope I get to read books about them one day.

Here Be Sexist Vampires , Suzanne Wright (K)
I know I said I was going to lay off the self-published ebooks for a while, but this was already on my Kindle, so I read it. Unfortunately, it had plenty of proofreading errors to remind me why I was going to avoid these sorts of books. It had definitely been spellchecked, as many of the errors were of the homonym or near-homonym variety: “bolder” for “boulder”, “seen” for “seeing”, “your” for “you’re”. There were some odd word choices, too, like characters who giggled or glared where other actions would have been much more appropriate. All that said, it wasn’t enough to make me stop reading. I liked the world building. I liked the strong heroine (though she was a bit too successful a bit too easily at times). I liked that the author established a flow to the plot.

Fiction—Everything Else:

Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton
The whole idea of a book of cartoons with literary and historical themes made me smile, as did many of the cartoons themselves. The author’s notes were charming in a smartassed way and helped me understand some of the cartoons I didn’t quite get (not having the depth of knowledge of literature and history that I probably should).

Agent X, Noah Boyd (K)
I didn’t realize when I picked this out to read that it’s a sequel, but I think this stands alone pretty well. This reminded me of the Stone Barrington books, meaning fluffy fiction for stereotypical guys. There’s a lot of shooting and plot twists but not so much character development and the sexy times happen off camera (so to speak). The female lead does get to do some of the shooting, so that was nice.

Viking: The Long Cold Fire, Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein
I had trouble getting into this; the dialog is so sparse and the cuts between scenes so frequent that it was hard for me to follow the story or connect with any of the characters. I never quite sorted out who was in who in some cases. Then it just sort of ended, rather than being resolved or cliffhung. There were some interesting images, at least.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (K)
Dystopian fiction is not high of my list of likes but I finally decided I needed to read this series. Now that I’ve finished the first book, I can see why it’s so popular. I had some quibbles with the world-building but often got so caught up in the story that I forgot about those things.

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins (K)
Not as engaging to me as the first book, and since it’s the middle of a trilogy of course it lacks a satisfying ending. Still worth reading.

Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (K)
Even though I saw some plot twists coming, I still cried near the end.

Deliriously Happy, Larry Doyle
The back cover of this made me smile, with its reference to “baby dogs”, so I checked it out of the library. Most of the essays inside did not make me smile, much less laugh, though I did enjoy the two which featured a dog as the main character. This collection just wasn’t a good fit for my sense of humor.

Until the Next Time, Kevin Fox (K)
It took me quite a long while to be able to keep the two storylines straight, what with Michael being in Sean’s story and a different Sean being in Michael’s story, and all the Sean Michaels and Michael Seans being the same soul, reincarnated over the generations. The voices in the two stories weren’t distinct enough for me to sort out easily. Still, there were ideas here that gave me something to think about, so that’s good.

Bunnicula, Deborah Howe and James Howe
I never read this as a kid because I was 17 the year it was first published. As an adult, I found it charming. I was slightly disappointed at the lack of female characters—seems like with three animals and four people there could have been more than just the mom, who’s not a major player. The edition I read has an afterword about the writing of the book which was way sadder than I was prepared for (it also had a photo of early notes for the book which mentioned a sister in the list of characters; I wonder what happened to her).

Howliday Inn, James Howe
I liked Bunnicula so much that I picked up the next in the series right away. The problem is there’s no Bunnicula in this one. He’s mentioned briefly, but does not appear, and all the action is bunny-free. There’s also a plot point that seems needlessly emotionally manipulative.

The Celery Stalks at Midnight, James Howe
Yay, Bunnicula’s back. This didn’t quite have the charm of the first book, but was much more enjoyable than the second one in the series.

The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson (K)
It took me a while to get through this because some parts of it were very troubling. If it were just troubling and heartbreaking, I probably would have stopped reading, but it was also fascinating and even sweet at times.

The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje (K)
I could put this down, and did, frequently. I know lots of people loved this coming of age tale, but there wasn’t enough tale for me; it read more like a memoir, with brief character sketches and a sort of mystery subplot shoved in to try and make it more interesting.

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned, Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
This one had me at the monkey on the cover. I do wonder how, in a world where food and fuel and other basics are scarce, the main character is able to keep his monkey in fresh diapers, but other than that minor quibble, I really liked this. The premise is thought provoking, and there is some great art in here. I definitely want to see what happens in Volume 2.

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 2: Cycles, Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and Jose Marzan
Still liking this series, though I’m enough of a wimp that some of the violence shocks me.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Charles Yu (K)
Time travel tends to confuse me, and this book was no exception. I kept reading because I liked the wordplay, the dog, and the computers.

The Fortune of the Rougons, Émile Zola, edited and translated by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly (K)
If I didn’t need this for my Z in the authors challenge, I wouldn’t have finished it. I don’t know if it was the translation or my lack of knowledge about French history or what, but I found this very tedious. I didn’t especially care what happened to any of the characters and am not sure what I was supposed to have learned by the end.

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