104 in 2014: 12. And so it was written…

I’ve passed the target of 104 books read in 2014, but I’m still reviewing the books I’ve been reading this year. Let’s see how the next 10 fared :

#111East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All One cover East of West, Vol. 2: We Are All One GN by Jonathan Hickman (Read 14/08/2014) I remain interested in this series, even though #2 doesn’t so much answer any questions as expand the cast of characters, throw in bucketloads of political machinations and treachery, and season with magical special effects. I’m happy enough to give the next one a read, but I’m hoping for better characterisation and some answers. There’s a review on Goodreads which, in the process of disparaging this graphic novel, describes the leader of the Union as a cross between Cruella DeVil and Morticia Addams.  Made me giggle, because it’s kind of true.

#112The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words cover The Unwritten, Vol. 6: Tommy Taylor and the War of Words GN by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Read 16/08/2014) Oh, but this series! This series is solid gold. I may have enthused previously about Mike Carey’s writing and Peter Gross’ illustrations but, really, they’re fabulous. This volume has resolution of a lot of the issues in the story arc, so I was glad I had number 7 to go straight on with.

#113The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound cover The Unwritten, Vol. 7: The Wound GN by Mike Carey  and Peter Gross (Read 17/08/2014) Where to for Tom Taylor? Well, surprisingly, Brisbane where the Church of Tommy is doing weird things to people and messing with the fabric of both story and reality. I liked it. What’s more awesome than a unicorn in a story? A unicorn in a story that’s set in your hometown, that’s what.

#114Figure It Out! Human Proportions: Draw the Head and Figure Right Every Time cover Figure It Out! Human Proportions: Draw the Head and Figure Right Every Time by Chris Hart (Read 22/08/2014) If you draw the human figure, at all, this is a very cool book which offers good, clear advice on getting the proportions right. Discover useful stuff like what’s the usual distance between human eyes? An eye width. Mess too much with that and your drawing could look kind of…wrong. And I get that that may be the look you’re after, and that a mechanistic approach is not for everyone, but it’s a good primer.

#115r cover Midnight Blue-Light Special (InCryptid, #2) by Seanan McGuire (Read 24/08/2014) Oh, rats and rats and curses and rats. I so like this author’s writing, and I so like urban fantasy it feels like a fundamental betrayal of self to say I did not like this book but, I did not like this book. It just seemed like a lot of running around, saying the sky was falling, catching up with the same cute cryptid creatures from the first book, and doing a weird change in first-person narrator part way through. It kind of wiggled through the motions, but couldn’t seem to be bothered maintaining sub-plots, or things from the first book that had helped give the characters a bit of depth. Oh, well, it was a quick read at least.

#116Celebrate with a Stitch cover Celebrate with a Stitch: Over 20 Gorgeous Sewing Stitching and Embroidery Projects for Every Occasion by Maggy Shaw (Read 3/09/2014) Meh. Not my kind of gorgeous, I’m afraid. Beautifully presented book and all, and it might be just your cup of cute pastel-coloured tea.

#117National Geographic Traveler: New Zealand cover New Zealand by Peter Turner (Read 11/09/2014) Hmmm, here’s a departure from my usual reading fare. Preparing for a South Island adventure I read this National Geographic Traveler guidebook for travel tips, a little history and a few ideas on must-dos while on holiday. Quite satisfactory.

#118Landmarks of New Zealand cover Landmarks of New Zealand photography by Rob Suisted (Read 11/09/2014) Again, I was looking for some ideas for places I should not miss while in New Zealand. This little book was not what I wanted. It’s nice enough but doesn’t provide any detail on the places to let me know where they are or why I might like to visit.

#119Lonely Planet Discover New Zealand cover Lonely Planet: Discover New Zealand by Charles Rawlings-Way (Read 14/09/2014) It comes down to personal preference, but I like the Lonely Planet travel guides best – I find their tone is down to earth, and their advice is reliable. I hate their lack of indexing, though. I find I get more out of my travels if I’ve done a bit of research and planning, a couple of weeks prior to departure. And, yes, I had an excellent two weeks on the lovely South Island of beautiful New Zealand, thanks for asking.

#120How to Sound Really Clever: 600 Words You Need to Know cover How to Sound Really Clever: 600 Words You Need to Know by Hubert van den Bergh (Read 17/09/2014)  What I liked about this book, was that it didn’t just explain the meaning of words, it also gave context for how those meanings have changed, or been subtly shifted in modern usage. It quotes contemporary, media examples of using these words, showing that knowing their meaning is not just about sounding clever.

And that’s another 10 reviews from me, taking me up to 120 books in mid-September. More from me soon.