Gateway to Fourline – Pam Brondos

b00wl6qgig-01-_sx142_sy224_sclzzzzzzz_Natalie’s in college, struggling to make ends meet, and make her tuition payments, while also sending money home to help her family. When she’s offered a job by one of the theater professors, it seems like a dream come true – a steady job that can pay her tuition.

It turns out that the professor is one of a band of protectors of the king in another dimension that somehow found their way into our world. The king is in danger, and had to flee. They can all be tracked, so they’ve been looking for someone that can take care of themselves to make contact with their supporters in their homeworld, and let them know the king is still alive.

This is pretty much your standard young person gets thrust into a pretty tough situation and grows into it admirably kind of story. It’s not bad, but I’ve definitely read better. And it ends on a really annoying cliffhanger.

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The Trees in My Forest – Bernd Heinrich

a7cfde7a4e1b0b4593049785851434f414f4141I have to admit, half the reason I probably liked this book so much is that it’s talking about the forests of Maine, admittedly a little further from the coast from my usual haunts, but close to where my mother grew up, so I’m very familiar.

This book is basically a love story to a patch of land in the mountains near Rumford, Maine, that the author owns, and has watched change over the years. He’s wandered around the property extensively, and the book has detailed observations of the plants and animals he’s seen. If you want a good flavor for the Maine forest – this book will give you that, with a real sense of love throughout the pages.

Sweep in Peace- Ilona Andrews

0ab0c6eb66b87c1597559316c67434f414f4141In the second book of the Innkeeper Chronicles series, Dina’s had an offer to host a peace summit between three warring factions at her inn. It’s immediately clear that everyone else has turned them down, because this is the most unlikely peace summit in some time. But the Gertrude Hunt is still fairly new, and Dina very badly needs the good reviews and money the summit will take in, so she agrees. Naturally, things head south pretty quickly.

I’m really enjoying this series. Space aliens hiding in plain sight on Earth makes for some good reading. The inn manages to acquire a cook for the duration of the summit, who is a hoot (and will thankfully be sticking around). And Dina’s one permanent guest, a former megalomaniacal dictator, still wanted throughout the galaxy, is also a lot of fun. I also really like how they’re treating what I assume will be the love story – the love interest is off living his life in this book, and Dina has to deal with it.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where things go from here.

2017 Books Read

Well, I think I can safely put this year’s books read into the record books – there’s no way I’m finishing another book on New Year’s Eve.

  1. Lonely Planet Iceland
  2. Shades of Grey – Jasper Fforde
  3. Fool – Christopher Moore
  4. The Star of Kazan – Eva Ibottson
  5. A Curious History of Cats – Madeline Swan
  6. The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley
  7. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  8. In the Woods – Tana French
  9. Lirael – Garth Nix (reread)
  10. Abhorsen – Garth Nix (reread)
  11. It Itches – Franklin Habit
  12. A Quiet Life in the Country – T. E. Kinsey
  13. The Reluctant Widow – Georgette Heyer
  14. Waistcoats and Weaponry – Gail Carriger
  15. The Palace Job – Patrick Weekes
  16. The Winter Sea – Susanna Kearsley
  17. Dead Man’s Ransom – Ellis Peters
  18. Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson
  19. Impossible Things – Connie Willis
  20. Goldenhand – Garth Nix
  21. The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg
  22. The Perilous Sea – Sherry Thomas
  23. The Immortal Heights – Sherry Thomas
  24. A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab
  25. Uprooted – Naomi Novik
  26. An Everlasting Meal – Tamar Adle
  27. Exile’s Song – Marion Zimmmer Bradley
  28. Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher
  29. Wilderness and the American Mind – Roderick Nash
  30. The Seventh Bride – T. Kingfisher
  31. Goldmayne – Kate Stradling
  32. Ivan Ramen – Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying
  33. Sylvester: or the Wicked Uncle – Georgette Heyer
  34. The Magician’s Ward – Patricia C. Wrede
  35. The Hanging Tree – Ben Aaronovitch
  36. The Wine of Angels – Phil Rickman
  37. Ink and Bone – Rachel Caine
  38. Risuko – David Kudler
  39. Magic Bites – Ilona Andrews
  40. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley
  41. The Blue Girl – Charles de Lint
  42. Grail – Stephen R. Lawhead
  43. A Sampler of Wayside Herbs – Barbara Pond
  44. Epic Tomatoes – Craig LeHoullier
  45. The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder – Marta McDowell
  46. Bath Tangle – Georgette Heyer
  47. From a High Tower – Mercedes Lackey
  48. Avalon – Stephen R. Lawhead
  49. Heart’s Blood – Juliet Marillier
  50. The Pilgrim of Hate – Ellis Peters
  51. The Secrets of Wildflowers – Jack Sanders
  52. The Medival Underworld – Andrew McCall
  53. The Nonesuch – Georgette Heyer
  54. Clean Sweep – Ilona Andrews
  55. Defying Mars – Cidney Swanson
  56. Miles Errant – Lois McMaster Bujold
  57. Elementary – ed. Mercedes Lackey
  58. Cloaked in Red – Vivian Vande Velde
  59. A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
  60. Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness
  61. The Scarlet Thread – D. S. Murphy
  62. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
  63. The Book of Life – Deborah Harkness
  64. The Hero and the Crown – Robin McKinley
  65. P.S. from Paris – Marc Levy
  66. Sunshine – Robin McKinley
  67. Chalice – Robin McKinley
  68. Magic Burns – Ilona Andrews
  69. Magic Strikes – Ilona Andrews
  70. Magic Bleeds – Ilona Andrews
  71. Oak and Ash and Thorn – Peter Fiennes
  72. The River’s Gift – Mercedes Lackey
  73. Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson
  74. Planting in a Post-Wild World – Thomas Rainer and Claudia West
  75. An Excellent Mystery – Ellis Peters
  76. The Furthest Station – Ben Aaronovitch
  77. A College of Magics – Caroline Stevermer
  78. Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho
  79. Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater
  80. West of the Moon – Margi Preus
  81. Chew Volume 1: Taster’s Choice – John Layman and Rob Guillory
  82. The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig
  83. Magic Slays – Ilona Andrews
  84. Saga Volume 1 – Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples
  85. A Study in Sable – Mercedes Lackey
  86. Chew Volume 2: International Flavor – John Layman and Rob Guillory
  87. Gulp – Mary Roach
  88. The Serpent’s Shadow – Mercedes Lackey
  89. In Calabria – Peter S. Beagle
  90. Jack the Giant Killer – Charles de Lint
  91. Drink Down the Moon – Charles de Lint
  92. Longbourn – Jo Baker
  93. The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper
  94. A Book of Wayside Fruit – Margaret McKenny and Edith F. Johnston
  95. Wildflowers of Maine – Kate Furbish
  96. The Grey King – Susan Cooper
  97. Faro’s Daughter – Georgette Heyer
  98. Kingfisher – Patricia A. McKillip
  99. Seaward – Susan Cooper
  100. Saga: Volume 2 – Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I actually read 100 books this year.  Partially, because this was the year of the comfort reread, and partially because this was the year I got really sick of tv, and a read away a few Saturday or Sunday evenings I might have otherwise knit through with the tv going.

I also got a real Kindle, so was able to read ebooks in bed more easily than on the Ipad, so I read ebooks outside of vacation this year.

Seaward – Susan Cooper

3c5615fcb98bccd5979494d6177434f414f4141Here’s another reread. This story is somewhat based on Celtic mythology, but draws in two young people from the “real” world. Westerly and Cally have both lost their parents, and in their grief are both drawn into another world where they met Lugan and Taranis – who both have extraordinary powers. They both know that they must reach the sea, and that their parents may be there, but Taranis will do all that she can to prevent them. They must find their way together.

This is a very sweet story – it was published in 1983, so predates the current YA craze, and it’s therefore a lot shorter than you might expect if you came up reading those books. It ages beautifully – the parts of the world that West and Cally come from are recognizable, but not sketched in such a way that they’re limited to any one time.

Kingfisher – Patricia A. McKillip

f4411df9c26de9d596f59686c774141414d6741This story is set in a kingdom with such modern devices as cars and cellphones, but where magic is alive, and religion is still very much a force in the kingdom.

Pierce is a young man who grew up in Cape Misbegotten – far from the capital of Severluna. He’s always known his mother was a sorceress, but when several knights stumble onto the Cape, he learns that she fled there away from his father, who is himself a knight, and that she left his brother behind. He sets out to find them.

Along the way, he stops at Chimera Bay, where a ritual is enacted every night at the Kingfisher Inn, but it’s clear that something is not right there. Carrie is one of the townsfolk working at the Inn, and she’s trying to figure out what’s wrong in the bay.

And finally, Prince Diamon, the illegitimate son of the king, has finally learned about his mother, at the same time that he’s fallen in love, and these women will play an important role in the action of the story.

This book is all about how the stories of these three people intersect – it’s hard to map out quickly. It’s very typical McKillip, where she throws you right into the middle of a story, and wraps it up neatly for you by the end.

Faro’s Daughter – Georgette Heyer

d6f8246d2c73b0259385a625a67434f414f4141Lord Maplethorpe is just about to reach his majority when his mother pays his older cousin, Max Ravenscar, a visit. It seems Maplethorpe has become completely enamored with a girl at one of the gaming houses, and means to marry her. Ravenscar is himself a noted gamesman, so quickly heads over to get a lay of the land.

Deb Grantham lives with her aunt, Lady Bellingham, who has gotten in a bit over her head trying to make ends meet. Their gaming house is a little less genteel than originally planned, but with a mortgage hanging over their heads, they have little choice but to continue on. When Ravenscar attempts to bribe Deb to leave Lord Maplethorpe alone, she’s so offended she vows to marry Maplethorpe just to annoy Ravenscar.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. Neither of the protagonists were actually particularly likeable, and their schemes were just ridiculously far-fetched. I did make to the end – there was just enough fun there to make me wonder how it would ultimately work out.