Egypt, Cairo, Djinn, ghuls, sorcerers, magic, airships, gas light, aerial trams… steampunk plus electricity. An investigator looks into the suspicious death of a djinn and follows traces through a magical Cairo.
“Fatma was born into the world al-Jahiz left behind: a world transformed by magic and the supernatural. […] Egypt now sat as one of the great powers, and Cairo was its beating heart.“
The setting of this story made me home-sick for Cairo! Or whatever you call it for a city I lived in for six years…
This was fun! Plot driven, not much character development — not an easy task anyway for such a short novelette — although I did like Fatma. Good action scenes and sleuthing, interesting setting. Potential for a lot more. Onwards to the next two stories/novelettes, in preparation for reading Clark’s first full-length novel next month.
Read in 2012. The first book was only just interesting enough for me to want to get the next one. Nothing special. But this one grabbed me. I really liked it. Interesting plot, good world building, introduction of some new characters that I really liked and want to see more of. The varying points of view added a nice layer to the various existing characters as well. Very good.
“Some people are like Slinkies. They aren’t really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to my face when I push them down a flight of stairs.”
Mark Gatiss isn‘t only great as screenwriter or the occasional supporting actor…
“Once the telephone had been invented, it was only a matter of time before the police got in on the new technology and, first in Glasgow and then in London, the police box was born. Here a police officer in need of assistance could find a telephone link to Scotland Yard, a dry space to do “paperwork” and, in certain extreme cases, a life of adventure through space and time.”
She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. It is a very poetic book, the characters feel real and I got very involved in the storyline. It was just too much. Dolores was such a terrible person in the first half of the book. Not an easy read.
Yes, it‘s Young Adult, not my favourite genre. But it looked interesting. And while I didn‘t bite my nails, the story was not bad and the writing was good. More background about the world this is set in would have been nice. Essentially it‘s UF/magical realism, set in our place and time, with ghosts, vampires and fae added to the mix. My favourite gadget: instant teleportation via fae ring.
Author and female main character are Lipan Apache. Ellie is 17 years old and has the power to call animal ghosts into being. This power is her family‘s gift and we keep getting short insights into one of Ellie‘s female ancestors. Besides powers and gifts of indigenous people, other magic has made its way from the old world, aka the mentioned vampires and fae.
In her dreams Ellie is contacted by a dyeing relative, asking her to find out why he was murdered and to protect his family. The mystery is nicely done.
The illustrations above each chapter are pretty. I tried in vain to find a read thread in them or a connection to what happens in the respective chapters. I‘m assuming that the girl is Elatsoe and the dog is Kirby.
PS: I thought about tagging this as LGBT, but it‘s so fleeting, it‘s barely there.
ELLIE BOUGHT THE LIFE-SIZED plastic skull at a garage sale (the goth neighbors were moving to Salem, and they could not fit an entire Halloween warehouse into their black van).
First line, chapter one
Yes, it‘s Young Adult, not my favourite genre. But it looked interesting. And while I‘m not biting my nails, the story is not bad and the writing is good. More background on the world this is set in would be nice. Essentially it‘s UF/magical realism, set in our place and time, with ghosts, vampires and fae added to the mix. My favourite gadget: instant teleportation via fae ring.
I would like to finish this weekend, but I have plans in real life, so it‘s doubtful. I also started the next audiobook in my re-read of The Expanse:
The twin shipyards of Callisto stood side by side on the hemisphere of the moon that faced permanently away from Jupiter.
First sentence of the prologue
This is my review from 2018:
Fabulous. I think I have a new favourite in the Expanse series! 5 stars with a cherry on top. Some slight spoilers ahead…
All about Holden, Naomi, Alex and Amos, instead of the usual introduction of a new host of characters never to be seen again.
And Bobby is back! And Avasarala, potty-mouth and all.
This is like pure gold for the fans of the series. No distractions of getting to know other characters or slowly diving into a complicated storyline. Just our favourite crew, with their odd-ball humour, trying to survive against mounting odds in a pretty straight forward action adventure story. Don’t get me wrong, the other books with their conspiracies, aliens, universe-spanning plots and amazing world building were fun, too. But this was a great joy ride in its straight forwardness and relative simplicity. And the action, twists and turns kept coming right from the start. I wanted to take breaks between chapters, but I just couldn’t, I was having too much fun…
My favourite stories were those of Amos and Naomi. Holden’s was fun, too, but more of a filler. Alex’s story interested me the least. Each of those plots easily could have been the basis for full novels of their own.
Waiting till next month for my fellow buddy readers to pick up the next book of the series is going to be hard…
P.S.: Reading the short story The Churn beforehand is recommended, it gives background on Amos Burton’s youth and characters that are relevant to this story arc.
No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.
Muderbot is back in novella length. Snark and sarcasm abound. I felt a bit meh about the full-length novel, so I am very happy that my favourite ‘bot has returned to form. There wasn‘t anything particularly new, just another crazy day, tracking down a murderer and making sure one’s humans don‘t come to harm. All the stars.
This was fun. Set in an alternate universe during the Napoleonic wars, the British and the French not only fight each other with their powerful Navies, but also with aerial combat — the captains not flying in planes, but riding on dragons. Well written, it reads a bit like a mix of Patrick O’Brien and Anne McCaffrey.
A serial killer starts killing in a small Kansas town. The corn is high, the heat is hot and the agent, that appears out of nowhere, dressed all black, is really weird….
If you are into graphic violence, this is for you. Really nasty murders, with a lot of detail! Ewwww. I sort of made my way through that book in small doses. Pretty gruesome. And that agent was really very weird.
I like Clancy and Jack Ryan is one of my favourite characters. With only slightly over 600 pages this is one of Clancy’s shorter efforts. It was ok at the time. But I do not recall any of the storyline, which usually means that it was nothing special.
At the end of the 19th century our main characters travel to Africa to make their fortune and search for their father, who disappeared into South-East Africa several years previously. They encounter the British Navy, slave traders, African kings, elephants, treasures, witches, buffalo, malaria, love, betrayal, loss and their destiny… To be continued in the next book… 😉
My next and last two offerings are colouring books! I have the German versions, but both have originally been published in English.
Ok, here is another of those Kindle Unlimited comics, that have been dwelling on my TBR pile for a while.
A school of 500 pupils and teachers is snatched and deposited on an alien planet, in the middle of some woods. The fauna is not friendly. Surprisingly gory for something that has been shelved as YA on Goodreads.
So, what to do? The grown-ups are English teachers and librarians and just as clueless as the kids. But then someone gets a clue and some of the kids make up their own minds. Things go sideways. Teen angst, aliens, a touch of Lord of the Flies, a bit of Lost.
The artwork isn‘t horrible, but it isn‘t great either. None of the characters are really very likable. But the story is different and I am interested to see where this goes next.
This week’s topic is all about color. Crayola has come out with special ones, like fluorescents, magic scents, metallic, pearlescent, colors of the world, and even ones with glitter in them. Just imagine your titles as colors and see what you come up with.
Number 7 of the series was still pretty good, but started to go off the trodden path and started off into that weird direction that eventually turned me off the series — after another dozen or so books… I was pretty stubborn. What I wrote in 2010:
Anita’s powers grow and grow. Never mind raising the dead. Dating a vampire, being alpha-female to a pack of werewolves, acting queen and protector of wereleopards and friend to some two-legged rats, where can she go from here? She has crossed the line from fighting the monsters to snuggling with them. Very erotic, violent, funny, disgusting, suspenseful… Actually, this is the first Anita Blake novel where it took me more than a day to get past the first 100 pages. The main character is going through so many severe changes, that it affects the pace of the story. The series is changing from crime novels with a supernatural twist to not-quite-sure-what-yet. I can’t wait to see, how the Anita/Richard/Jean-Claude triangle will develop in the next book. And I hope we’ll get back to some real sleuthing and mystery solving…
This makes me thing of something black with glitter.
An absolute classic. If you are an SF fan and have seen classic SF movies, this comic will trigger so many memories of great SF movies! A pivotal comic with astounding graphics. First published in 1981. I probably read it shortly thereafter, as a teenager, branching out from Tintin, wanting something more artistic and with a deeper storyline. I could still kick myself that I didn’t keep those early editions. I like everything about it, the story, the humour, the line art, the colouring. A lot of running, shooting, blowing stuff up, sci fi geek madness, The Fifth Element absurdness and it is as good as I remember.
The fifth installment of the saga of Claire and Jamie. My recommendation: Read them in order, otherwise you literally loose the plot. Previous things get mentioned frequently without much of an explanation. And although I read all of them except for no. 2, I kept asking my mum (huge fan and proud owner of the compendium…) “What’s that, who’s this, what happened again there…?” No wonder with about 1000+ pages a pop. A must for fans, although my mum and I both found this one here not exactly thrilling. Number 5 is getting a bit tired.
A pale horse — a pretty light crayola, something beige or egg shell coloured…
An almost classic tale of vengeance. Our hero Earl Swagger goes down south to a penal farm, to find a friend that has disappeared while investigating the whereabouts of a client. He barely gets away with his life and sanity intact and swears to come back to give them hell. He gathers some tough and trigger happy gunmen around him and they go back. Sounds familiar? You can picture the rest!
I am thinking Charlize Theron as Fleur and Colin Farell as Dain… There was quite a lot of action and not too much romance. The hero was good-looking, but grumpy and without a past, the heroine was a bit silly, but smartened up nicely. Well described and thought-out futuristic city setting. The revelation at the end was surprising, but led to the expected ending. A good, light read for low brain power.
I considered putting this book down and to not finish it. It took about half way into the book until something resembling a real storyline finally emerged. Nice sex, granted. But the constant descriptions of how gorgeous everybody looks on every second page started to go on my nerves eventually. Not much vampire hunting going on, despite that being the sole reason of being for the main characters. Still, the whole idea had some appeal.
Another Anita and a jet-black crayola with bluish-grey mottling.
The story’s theme is quite a turn-around from the previous ones. A lot less of the supernatural, although it is still there. And a lot of whistling bullets. The previous book started to explored Anita’s fears of what she is becoming. I missed the lightness and the fun of the earlier books, but the darker look at the world in these later ones had appeal, too.
A multi-coloured crayola, with green blue and purple streaks.
I got the book, because I liked the movie a lot. My interest had been piqued after I had heard that people in the US had complained about the controversial religious undertones of the movie. The movie is a very close adaptation. Two events that happen at the end of the book have been moved further forward in the movie and the actual ending of the book is missing completely – I guess too much would have been left dangling. I did not like the book more or less than the movie. Lord Asriel in the movie was a more likeable character and the voice of Ian McKellen is hard to replace in writing.
A shimmering blue, full of bubbles and light streaking through…
This book gives a fascinating insight into freediving. When I started to scuba dive, I was amazed at the level of noise I produced with my breathing gear. I always felt very distracted by the ruckus I caused with all the gear I was hauling along. I wanted to be part of this amazing underwater world, without scaring the crap out of the animal life. This book reminded me of that.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Perlmutter, the devastating truth about the effects of wheat, sugar, and carbs on the brain, and a 4-week plan to achieve optimum health.
from the book blurb
The first half of this book cited study after study and endless anecdotes, trying to convince the reader of the rightness of the book’s subject matter. Preaching to the choir, I already bought the book, I did not need further convincing. Made the book extremely boring for me and after a while I just skimmed. In contrast the practical part of the book, the how-to, was extremely short and almost felt like an afterthought. Very populistic, very one-sided.
A quarter into it the book it felt like this: potential m/m romance in an SF setting, marriage of convenience, potentially a murder mystery and court intrigue, hints of space opera.
As the mystery unfolded at a snail’s pace, the author didn‘t offer many details. Elaborate explanations were given to other characters in the off, without engaging the reader very much. Which made that part of the narrative pretty superficial.
The romance was mostly nonexistent in the first half of the book. Kiem and Jainan didn‘t have any meaningful conversations. I know this is pretty typical in many romances — bad communication, misunderstandings, etc. But there wasn’t a lot of internal dialogue either and little to no character development. Not very satisfying.
I can understand why people abandon this book in the first half of it. It felt a bit as if the author wasn‘t sure where she was going with it. Is it a mystery? Is it a court intrigue? A romance? Definitely not space opera in the typical sense. I decided to just go with the flow and wait out the glacial pace of it all. The writing was good, the story just took its sweet time.
Then something happened in the middle and the story became interesting. Suspense, romance, scenery, space station, the lot. I was enjoying myself. There was even something truly inventive towards the end. Good stuff. I was much happier with the character development in the second part of the book as well.
Besides Kiem and Jainan I liked Bel and Rakal the most. The humour was good throughout the book. I liked the rest so much, that I would even pick up a sequel.
So, if you don‘t expect elaborate SF, but like your brain candy with some suspense, this might be for you. Just be patient with the beginning.
I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!