Picked this up, because friends kept mentioning it favourably. Started into the first chapter and though that the writing was a bit bumpy.
I don’t usually look at reviews until I have read a book, but here I made an exception after the first few pages. Romance with an SF setting? Insta-love, too many blond people, thin world building, a Mary Sue, two people great at hiding that keep getting captured and then proceed to repeatedly free each other. Sounds all pretty daft, right? Ok, ok, following the advice of one of my reading buddies: check your brain at the door and have fun.
Brain checked away and… I read the first 8 chapters, 27% into the book. It doesn‘t do anything for me right now, I am skipping paragraphs and find it mainly silly. I would probably really like it, if I was in the right mood for it—the style reminds me of Ilona Andrews. As it is, too many books, too little time. DNF!
I had books 2 (Aurora Blazing) and 3 (Chaos Reigning) of this on my shelf as well. I will kick them off and diminish my TBR pile by two more books, from 217 books by the start of the year to 165 books right now.
Sorry for the long break in posts. I am back from my holiday and the first week back at work was busy. I mostly watched TV in the evenings. I also finished another of my books for the StoryGraph Reading Randomizer challenge. It‘s been a really useful challenge so far, helping me to regularly and easily pick from my TBR pile of owned books.
Officially marketed as PNR, but much more steampunk-pirates-zombie-swashbuckling fun.
Alternate history, where the mongol hordes continued their advance through Europe and had something extra to help them along. England was conquered and subdued, until the Iron Duke freed it. Our MC, Mina, is a police inspector at Scotland Yard, dealing with a murder. She crosses his path and together they have to solve a conspiracy and save England again.
When picking this up, I feared that there would be a huge amount of silly PNR, but luckily this was more adventure yarn than silly romance. Don‘t get me wrong, romance can be a lot of fun. But PNR has this tendency of being peopled with especially stupid characters. Anyhow, this was not it. There was some of the required drama at the end and some over-the-top sex with that big member and with slightly dubious-consent issues. I just blinked and kept going.
Good plot, a speedily told adventure story, good world building, believable characters, a slightly different take on Steampunk keeping it interesting — the nanotech is a nice addition. Loved the parts on the air and sea ships, although this London was well rendered as well.
Excellent brain candy! I had fun.
Normally I would say that I will continue with the next book in the series, Heart of Steel, but it centers around Yasmeen, a character of this book that I didn‘t particularly like and that I am not all that interested in. I would definitely try something else by the author though.
Read in 2011. I don‘t remember anything of this story, but must have liked this at the time. It‘s part of The Guardian series. Angels were never my thing, even back in the day when I still regularly and obsessively read UF and PNR. Hence I picked another series by the author to explore her writing further.
Read in 2015. This is what I noted down back then:
Very good, 5 stars: Paranormal Romance Blues, Kelley Armstrong (vampires, demons) – FUN! John Doe, Anna Windsor (angels) – I don’t like angels, but this was a positive surprise. The Tuesday Enchantress, Mary Jo Putney (guardians) – very entertaining, good sense of humour, I might get something longer by this author. Trinity Blue, Eve Silver (demons, sorceres) – fun! I want to read more of this. Night Vision, Maria V. Snyder (light bender): fun as well. The heroine is blind in daylight and has absolute vision at night. Refreshing idea. Pack, Jeaniene Frost (werewolves): excellent werewolve story. Likeable characters. Reads like the first chapter of a book I want to finish reading. Blue Crush, A Weather Warden story, Rachel Caine (djinn, mermen) – fabulous, loved it. Snark, humour, great characters from the get-go. I was fully immersed in the story right from the start. Taking a break right now to finally read that first book of the Weather Warden series.
Good, 4 stars: Grace of small magics, Ilona Andrews (revenants, magic battle) – slow build-up, too fast ending, but entertaining. Temptation of Robin Green, Carrie Vaughn (selkies, vampires, the lot…) – nice, nothing earth shattering Daniel, C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp (vampires) – Generally not a bad plot, but the story had a very abrupt ending. Pele’s tears, Catherine Mulvaney (gods, alternate reality): Instalove, nicely written, characters I could easily relate to, story not terribly exciting, but a nice idea. Blood Song, Lynda Hilburn (vampires, magical healing powers) – Fun, neat plot idea, a little simplistic, but might be tempted to try more by the author. The Princess and the Peas, Alyssa Day (fae, fairytales) – complete and utter fluff, with a princess, some fae and a little humour. In Sheep’s Clothing, Meljean Brook (werewolves) – pretty decent werewolf story. Nothing earth shattering, but I already have one of her books on my shelf to check her out further.
Ok, 3 stars: Taking Hold, Anya Bast (werewolves) – good plot idea, sounds like it could be an interesting series. Reminds me a bit of Patrica Briggs. But I did not like the tone of the writing very much. Light through Fog, Holly Lisle (alternate universes) – a little too sweet for my taste. Once A Demon, Dina James (demons, vampires): nice plot idea, but the characters were a little wooden. Nothing earth shattering. When Gargoyles fly, Lori Devoti (gargoyles) – the initial idea, a woman waking up a gargoyle, is not bad. But the plot has a twist that feels rushed and not believable. And Instalove is not my thing. The Lighthouse Keeper and His Wife, Sara Mackenzie (gods, alternate timeline) – the lighthouse keeper gets a second chance. The Dream Catcher, Allyson James (mind reading, wish fulfillment) – unusual idea, not badly written. But a bit too shallow for my taste, too sweet and characters that are too black and white. Plus Instalove.
Not for me, skimmed, 1-2 stars: Succubus Seduction, Cheyenne McCray (succubi, faeries) – the plot was daft, the characters were silly, too much saccharine. How to Date a Superhero, Jean Johnson (superheros) – a lot of talking, not much happening, not interested in those superheroes. At Second Bite, Michelle Rowen (vampires) – not badly written, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Very cliched. And a man that does not like women has to be gay… Really? The Wager, A Lords of Avalon story, Sherrilyn Kenyon writing as Kinley MacGregor (Merlin) – ramble, ramble, ramble, nothing happening, DNF. Must remember to never again buy anything by this author. Was underwhelmed by her novels, too.
“Lazarus kept his mouth firmly straight, but he felt a surge of triumph as the prim widow ran headlong into his talons.”
And so it begins!
I liked both main characters, they were not stupid. The world building was decent, the mystery ok, if not terribly suspenseful. The plot wasn‘t exactly gripping either, but interesting enough to keep me reading. Nice build-up to a pretty good finale.
And there were so many plot bunnies and possible pairings for the next books… I especially liked Silence and St. John. Harlequins and pirates also come to mind.
I received this free e-copy from the publisher/author via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review, thank you!
I spent four days finding other things to do and read, instead of picking up this book. It probably wasn‘t the book’s fault, I made the mistake of reading these two back-to-back.
In retrospect, over five years later, I am not surprised that I tossed the second book. Historical Regency Romance (or thereabouts), she is perfect or scattered or young or bored or misunderstood and needs a husband for some reason and he is a terrible rake or mysterious or a gambler or… whatever. Rinse, repeat, cookie-cutter…
Goodreads posted a ton of recommended reading lists today for Valentine‘s Day. I occasionally read romances, mostly as a kind of palate cleanser between SF novels or other a bit heavier offerings. I took a peek at those lists and this is what I found.
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with six directives to help her “Get a Life”…
To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.
Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind.
Yep, another fake relationship, I like those!
Do you read romances? Any preferences, aka tropes you like? Recommendations?
Welcome to #6degrees. I haven’t done one of these in a while. On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book. I mostly use this meme to work on my backlog, aka reviews that I haven‘t yet posted to my blog here. Or to give myself a reminder of the books on my TBR pile or want-to-read-shelf.
So, as usual, this month starts the chain link with a book I haven‘t read or ever heard about.
„As this urgent, genre-defying book opens, a woman who has recently been elevated to prominence for her social media posts travels around the world to meet her adoring fans. […] Suddenly, two texts from her mother pierce the fray: “Something has gone wrong,” and “How soon can you get here?” […] Fragmentary and omniscient, incisive and sincere, No One Is Talking About This is at once a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature.“ (from the book blurb)
Really not my kind of thing. I read the blurb three times and nothing came to mind. However, as we are on the subject of talking…
„A show runner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumour.“
Sounds like an entertaining romance. Just the kind of light escapism I enjoy at the moment. Just moved it to from my want-to-read to my TBR pile. So much for me not wanting to add to that pile. What can I say, could be fun and came relatively cheap.
„What if you knew how and when you will die? Csorwe does. She will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice. On the day of her foretold death, however, a powerful mage offers her a new fate.“
On my TBR pile. Not sure why this landed there. Traditional fantasy with a queer touch. Another one I will get to eventually.
“A birth mark on the right shoulder! And one as big and as dark as that! Arre baap re! This is of some terrible significance…’ Despite his grandmother’s gloomy prophecy, Rattan grows up leading a charmed life – first in Delhi, then at Boston University. When he returns to Delhi, and the family business, Rattan is happy to fall in with his parents’ plans for an arranged marriage.“
I read this in 2007. It did not sweep me off my feet, but the characters were likeable. The story was sweet and interesting enough, although there were no great surprises.
And when you are done with silence, how about some wailing to break the tension?
“Tony Hillerman’s novels are like no others. His insightful portrayal of the vast Navajo Reservation, the spirit-haunted people who inhabit it and the clash between ancient traditions and modern civilization that has shaped its present and will determine its future has produced a body of work unique in mystery fiction.”
I read this in 2008. Fairly run-of-the-mill murder mystery with a slightly unusual setting. Pretty forgettable.
Welcome to the annual Locus Recommended Reading List!
Published in Locus magazine’s February 2022 issue, this list is assembled by Locus editors, columnists, outside reviewers, and other professionals and well-known critics of genre fiction and non-fiction. This year we considered over 900 titles between short fiction and long fiction. The final recommendations, combined and trimmed to a somewhat reasonable-length list, are our best recommendations for your consideration. We know there will be titles you loved that do not appear here; it happens every year. Any one of our recommending group would have put forward a different exact list, but this is the combined sum of opinions, assessed with great affection and care for the field.
And the first month of the year is over already! Here is what read, listened to and watched…
– Activation Degradation ★★★★☆, audio, SF, not Murderbot, just ignore that. Different take on robots/cyborgs/AI. – Cursed ★★★★½, Alex Verus #2, ebook, UF, wizards in London battle it out, good fun. – Black Powder War ★★★☆☆, Temeraire #3, ebook, Fantasy, the way back from China to Europe over land, with stopovers in Istanbul and Prussia, set in 1806. – Fruiting Bodies ★★★★★, short story, SF Horror, a little creepy. – Life on Earth ★★★★☆, audio, TBR pile, David Attenborough narrates his book, natural history. – The Sweet Rowan ★★★★¼, ebook, TBR, sweet Regency romance, set in Scotland, with a wee bit of magic. – Saga #55 ★★★★☆, eComic, SF, finally back after three years of waiting. – The Marrow Thieves ★★★☆☆, ebook, TBR, dystopian YA set in Canada. People have lost the power to dream, except for indigenous people, who are hunted for a cure. – Tietjen auf Tour: Warum Camping mich glücklich macht, paper, DNF after 84 pages reading and skimming to 150 pages / 55%. Travel anecdotes, nice enough, but very repetitive.
Specfic Movies & TV watched: – The Expanse, S6, Ep. 3-6 ★★★★☆ Season finished. They went off script quite a bit. Not sure yet how much I liked this. – Foundation, S1, Ep. 4-10 ★★★★★ Season finished. Excellent! – Venom ★★★¾☆ Entertaining and a little too silly. – Kingdom, S1, Ep. 1-3 ★★★☆☆ Korean zombie series in a historical setting. Unintentionally funny at times. Different. The people in this have the survival instincts of gnats.
Some StoryGraph statistics:
(yes, the last and first page counts are different, I updates something in between screen shooting the stats… 😝)
Thisweek‘s topic / January 25: New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021
I generally read more new-to-me-authors these days than known ones. I used to read series after series, but have changed my reading habits in the last few years. I already posted my Top Ten Tuesday—the ten best books of 2021 and I will not mention those books again. Funnily enough those were mostly known-to-me-authors. Oh well.
Rosewater (The Wormwood Trilogy, #1) by Tade Thompson wasn‘t quite as good for me. An alien lands on Earth, burrows into the ground and presents as a illuminated dome. We follow Kaaro, a „sensitive“, in the employ of some shady secret agency. His life story is told in three separate timelines, set around the biodome. He is a thief, he is sexist, he felt like a clueless, self-centered, mysoginistic idiot to me. I can appreciate the inventive world building, but the rest was a slog.
Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler — short story. A human colony living as little more than slaves, joined to an insectoid race. Love, possesiveness and self-sacrifice are themes. Butler voices her surprise in the afterword, that readers see this as a story of slavery. But are we looking at symbiosis or at a parasitic relationship? Is it really consent in a situation, where your personal rights have been curtailed and there are no equal rights? I think not.
Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) by Octavia E. Butler — Lilith wakes up into a world of bipeds reminiscent of Cthullu with a touch of octopus biology. The world as she knows it has ended, the Onkali have rescued her and other humans. A classic. It was ok, but I won‘t continue with the series.
Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur — A queer rom-com debut with a social media astrologer. Give me a break! And Darcy, an actuary, her terrible blind date, is a total bitch (at first). Gorgeous though. Fake relationship trope! Well written, very readable. Oh, this is supposed to be a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I didn‘t see it, to be honest, besides the first name.
Becoming by Michelle Obama — Michelle Obama‘s memoir, from her early childhood to the end of her second term as FLOTUS. Entertaining.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell — potential m/m romance in an SF setting, marriage of convenience, potentially a murder mystery and court intrigue, hints of space opera.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badge — YA. UF/magical realism, set in our place and time, with ghosts, vampires and fae added to the mix. Author and female main character are Lipan Apache. Ellie is 17 years old and has the power to call animal ghosts into being.
The Story of Human Language by John McWhorter — the author covers a vast amount of linguistic topics. The author‘s casual dismissal of places and people outside of the US was a bit irritating at times. It was interesting.
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron — Enjoyable, humorous, not too silly and not too much drama. There is baking and sourdough starter and delicious Indian/East African food… If you are looking for a book that represents Islam and Muslim life, this is not it. If you are looking for light romance and great food though, you are bang on.
Regency romance with a touch of magic. Governess trope! False identity! Scotland! Rugged Scotsmen! Damsel in distress! Treacherous antagonist! Drama!
A young woman runs away from her English home, to find something she has lost, and goes to Scotland under a false name, pretending to be a governess. The master of the house is immensely interesting, as he is wont to be in a sweet romance of this type. The situation gets complicated, with that lie of her assumed identity hovering in the background. And what is happening to that magic?
The writing was a little rough in the first chapter. And the tiny amount of magic felt like a gimmick at first, propelling the story from pure historical romance to something a little different.
The plot didn‘t hold any big surprises for most of the book. However, when the requisite amount of drama occurred, it was well done and the expected reveals were very entertaining. Good amount of action and the above mentioned damsel in distress was not a wimp.
The characters were likable and lively. The switching points of view added a nice layer to the story telling. The characters from her other two books, Her Caprice and The Telling Touch, are related to this book and should probably be read first. The books are standalone though, it didn’t feel as if I was missing anything.
Bottomline, this was a lot of fun! I might read more by the author at some point.
Thisweek‘s topic / January 18: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To
I changed that “excited to read“ to „added to my want-to-read“. Excited is a strong word. Those that I was excited about I pre-ordered and read in 2021. As I am very, very stingy with adding books to my want-to-read-shelf, I ended up with just another 10 books. And here they are:
The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott — „A gripping novel of myth, environment, adventure, and an unlikely friendship, from an award-winning Australian author“ — I have no idea why this is on my shelf. Pretty cover. Deleted.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley — YA mystery. Not really my thing. But my reading buddies loved it and it sounds tempting enough. I guess this part of the blurb did it: “Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman)“. Because I quite liked a book by a different author from an Anishinaabe community, Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice. Does not really make sense, I know.
We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker — „about one family and the technology that divides them“ — contemporary setting, about a brain implant that helps to get ahead. Not sure about this one, deleted.
The Audacity of Sara Grayson by Joani Elliott — a nice sounding piece of chicklit. Mother dies, last wish is for her daughter to finish her final book in a bestselling series. Possible shenanigans. I might keep it for now.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim — another YA. A retelling of The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen, one of my favourite fairytales. Or The Six Swans by the Brothers Grimm. I am actually not sure which one, they are almost the same thing. Anyway, it tempted me.
Glimmer by Marjorie B Kellogg — „This new cli-fi epic chronicles a future NYC wracked by climate change and follows the individuals who must make the most of what remains to survive.“ — or should I rather go for Kim Stanley Robinson? This one here sounds like more fun.
Noor by Nnedi Okorafor — „From Africanfuturist luminary Okorafor comes a new science fiction novel of intense action and thoughtful rumination on biotechnology, destiny, and humanity in a near-future Nigeria.“ — I still haven‘r read anything by Okorafor. Or should I rather start with Binti?