Below: dashed off notes on the last dozen books I've either read or attempted.
Lure of the Dead

  Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice, Book 10) • Joseph Delaney
pb 448 pages ISBN-10: 006202762X ISBN-13: 978-0062027627
Always fun to get back to this series. Fast-moving, creepy horror that I gobble up like popcorn. I have only three more to go before the series is ended.
finished 9 november 2014 amazon
The Cuckoo's Calling

  The Cuckoo's Calling • Robert Galbraith
HC 464 pages ISBN-10: 0316330167 ISBN-13: 978-0316330169
A good crime story with an interestingly quirky detective and a finish you won't see coming. Looking forward to the next one.
started 21 september 2014, finished 2 october 2014 amazon
Deadweather and Sunrise

  Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, book 1) • Geoff Rodkey
pb 320 pages ISBN-10: 0142426628 ISBN-13: 978-0142426623
Read this aloud to my nine-year-old daughter, who, every time I announced that I was done reading for the night, told me that I must read more or she would kill me. The story concerns young Egbert (who prefers to be called Egg) who lives on the island of Deadweather with his father and two older mean siblings. When the family travels to the neighboring island of Sunrise (which is much nicer and not so infested with pirates), events take a dramatic turn for Egg. He's soon pining away for the spunky Millicent (about his age, 13, and much richer) and then on the run for his life. This story grabbed me from the get-go and I enjoyed reading it to my daughter who would often chuckle at some of the developments. This is fun yarn with pirates and young kids in trouble. We'll be reading part two of this trilogy next.
started 24 august 2014, finished 21 september 2014 amazon
A Storm of Swords

  A Storm of Swords • George R. R. Martin
pb 1128 pages ISBN-10: 055357342X
Third in the Song of Ice and Fire series. And the second time I read it (first time was in 2006). Some big deaths in this one and some serious changes of fortune for Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Jaime Lannister. Why did Tyrion say what he did to his brother at the end of this one? And that final surprise... whoa.
finished 20 september 2014 (2nd time)

  Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1) • Angie Sage
pb 640 pages ISBN-10: 006223692X ISBN-13: 978-0062236920
This is another book that I read aloud to my daughter but would not have finished otherwise. I am mystified by the plethora of good reviews for this one. The story is tired and scattershot; the so-called main character is largely missing; it's far longer than it needs to be; all the magic is of the deus ex machina variety; the writing style is by turns condescending, obtrusive, and dull; and the plot is hard to discern. Even with all that said, I've read (or attempted to read) others that were worse. My best indicator of how well it was received by my daughter is if she asks to immediately get to the next one in the series or not. She did not ask about this one (and if she did, there's no way I would've read it). This book held no surprises, moved at a snail's pace, and contained only cardboard characters. Next up will be a book of my choosing.
finished 24 august 2014, thank the gods!
A Clash of Kings

  A Clash of Kings • George R. R. Martin
pb 969 pages
Second in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Second time I read it too (first time was in 2006). It's just as much fun this time around too.
finished 19 august 2014
Pretty Monsters

  Pretty Monsters • Kelly Link
tpb 416 pages ISBN-10: 014241672X ISBN-13: 978-0142416723
I liked some of the stories okay. Skimmed through a few. And the pay-off was not all that.
started 22 july 2014, finished 31 july 2014 amazon

  Angelmaker • Nick Harkaway
tpb 477 pages ISBN-13: 978-0307743626
Back cover copy:
Joe Spork fixes clocks. He has turned his back on his fatherís legacy as one of Londonís flashiest and most powerful gangsters and aims to live a quiet life. Edie Banister retired long ago from her career as a British secret agent. She spends her days with a cantankerous old pug for company. That is, until Joe repairs a particularly unusual clockwork mechanism, inadvertently triggering a 1950s doomsday machine. His once-quiet life is suddenly overrun by mad monks who worship John Ruskin, psychopathic serial killers, mad geniuses and dastardly villains. On the upside, he catches the eye of bright and brassy Polly, a woman with enough smarts to get anyone out of a sticky situation. In order to save the world and defeat the nefarious forces threatening it, Joe must help Edie complete a mission she abandoned years ago, and he must summon the courage to pick up his fatherís old gun and join the fight.

I liked it. Great opening paragraph. Some cool characters (Edie made me raise my eyebrows). I liked the writer's style, although it was a tad confusing in places. But overall, an enjoyable, outlandish tale with a sense of humor.
finished 21 july 2014 amazon

The Six-Gun Tarot

  The Six-Gun Tarot • R. S. Belcher
mmpb 480 pages ISBN-10: 0765367513 ISBN-13: 978-0765367518
Back cover copy:
Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A bankerís wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyoneís business, may know more about the townís true origins than heís letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn... and so will all of Creation.

File this under weird western. It's got some nice touches, mixing strange devices, zombie-like citizens, mythology, and mad science together. But the action only really lets loose in the last quarter.
started 1 june 2014, finished 30 june 2014 amazon


  Fairest • Gail Carson Levine
HC 336 pages ISBN-10: 0060734086 ISBN-13: 978-0060734084
My daughter got this out of the library and decided on this as the latest read-aloud bedtime story book. It's a fantasy about a girl in a kingdom that prizes singing ability. And it's sortuva preteen romance-y type thing and really geared towards younger girls. So... it was okay for my daughter but OMG this did nothing for me. I thought it pretty clunky and slow and just, well, dull. Maybe it's okay for you, though.
started 20 april 2014, finished may 2014
Akata Witch

  Akata Witch • Nnedi Okorafor
HC 349 pages ISBN-10: 0670011967 ISBN-13: 978-0670011964
This was a breath of fresh air, very cool, imaginative, and off the beaten path, especially when it comes to fantasy. Here's the inside flap copy:
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a "free agent," with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
I zipped right through this tale and loved the characters, the setting, and easy pace at which the story unfolded. I will likely read more by this author.
started 1 may 2014, finished 12 may 2014 amazon
A Game of Thrones

  A Game of Thrones • George R. R. Martin
pb 807 pages
Read it the first time eight years ago. Watching the HBO series got me interested all over again. So.
finished 29 april 2014
The Dragons of Ordinary Farm

  The Dragons of Ordinary Farm • Tad Williams & Deborah Beale
HC 416 pages ISBN-10: 0061543454 ISBN-13: 978-0061543456
Got this out of the library for a read-aloud book with my daughter. Got as far as two-thirds through it. But so little happens at such a snail's pace we're giving up on this bore.
started march 2014, abandoned april 2014

last dozen books read
Lure of the Dead
~ Joseph Delaney
The Cuckoo's Calling ~ Robert Galbraith
Deadweather and Sunrise ~ Geoff Rodkey
A Storm of Swords ~ George R R Martin
Magyk (Septimus Heap, Book 1)
~ Angie Sage
A Clash of Kings ~ George R R Martin
Pretty Monsters ~ Kelly Link
Angelmaker ~ Nick Harkaway
The Six-Gun Tarot ~ R. S. Belcher
Fairest ~ Gail Carson Levine
Akata Witch ~ Nnedi Okorafor
A Game of Thrones ~ George R R Martin