snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: All the Windwracked Stars
Author: Elizabeth Bear
Series: The Edda of Burdens, book 1
Genre: Postapocalyptic fantasy.
Setting: Eiledon, the last city of a dying world, in an age of technomancers.
Reason for Reading: I heard it was loosely based on a Norse edda, and that was very intriguing to me.
Finished In: Hours. I checked it out yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning.
Pages: 368
Copyright Date: 2008
Cover: A woman dressed as a Valkyrie (waelcyrge, in this book) stands with a two-headed winged antelope-looking thing (valraven, in this book). A desolate cityscape is behind them.
First line: "There was snow at the end of the world, and Kasimir was dying in it."
Best part: The worldbuilding was just as good as in Bear's other books, with the action being much more fast-paced.
Worst part: The ending was a little confusing.
Imaginary Theme Song: Heiemo og Nykkjen
Grade: A. It's been a long time since I saw someone write about myth and science tangled together in such a compelling way.
Recommended for: I think any fans of Norse mythology should give it a try.
Related Reads: Companion to Wolves, which Bear cowrote with Sarah Monette. Brisingr by Diana Paxson. Chimera by Will Shetterly (which does not have a Norse theme but does have a lot of genetically engineered and mutated people in an underclass, as this book has).

Favorite quote, with a bit of a spoiler. )

Muire is the last of the waelcyrge, warriors of the Light. She run when she should have fought.
Kasimir is the last of the valravens, winged steeds of the waelcyrge. He lived when he should have died.
Mingan is the Gray Wolf, devourer, betrayer. He has never done what he should - but now that an old love has come again in a new form, his desires may set in motion a chain of events that no one could have predicted.

I really enjoyed this book. I almost didn't give Bear another chance after Carnival, which I found incredibly slow despite its intriguing premise. This one is fast, funny, and unpredictable. Better yet, as a former student of Norse language and literature, it FEELS Norse. Though she doesn't seem to have based it on a particular Edda, there's definitely that sense of bleak beauty, "Come, my brothers, one last drink before we hack each other to pieces! The skalds will long sing of this day!" that I remember so well.

With that being said, I know she has a strong interest in Norse mythology (which we also saw in Companion to Wolves and that she was involved in a... debacle about race in the fandom community, and that makes me wonder a little about her overall ideas about race - my only reservation.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Silent on the Moor. (It's when you use the same naming convention to title your second book as your first than you start down the road to trouble. Silent in the Grave was a great title, Silent in the Sanctuary was okay. If anyone in this particular book had been silent, it would have been a relief! The author has apparently given up with the fourth book, called Dark Road to Darjeeling.)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: Lady Julia Grey, book three
Genre: Historical mystery
Setting: ... the moor. I actually don't really like books set on the moor most of the time. Too bleak.
Reason for Reading: I enjoyed the first two, and the fact that the next book in the series is set in India made me want to read this one.
Finished In: Weeks, perhaps two of them.
Pages: 465
Copyright Date: 2009
Cover: A woman leans back into a man's embrace before a beautiful sunset. If they really are on the moor, her outfit leaves her in severe danger of catching a chill. Does no one realize that corsets were UNDERGARMENTS in this time period??
First line: "Julia Gray, I would rather see you hanged than watch any sister of mine go haring off after a man who will not have her," my brother Bellmont raged.
Best part: Some movement in the love interest plotline.
Worst part: Oh, how to choose. The heroine's impassioned speech about how two people shouldn't be married because she doesn't think they'll make each other happy bugged me. It was very anachronistic - people didn't used to look to marriage for those things. There was also a plot twist, held in suspense for many chapters, that was totally obvious to me from almost the beginning.
Imaginary Theme Song: Something bleak and classical.
Grade: C-. The book's flaws detracted from my enjoyment of it.
Recommended for: I don't feel I can recommend it very strongly.
Related Reads: Silent In the Grave, the first book in the series. Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross.
snugglekitty: (book magic)
Title: The Masqueraders
Author: Georgette Heyer
Genre: YA Regency romance
Setting: The London of balls and carriage rides.
Reason for Reading: I like Heyer a lot in general and read her when I'm feeling low; my sister recommended this specific title.
Finished In: Months, actually, which is funny considering how fast-paced the second half of the book is.
Pages: 409
Copyright Date: 1928
Cover: A brightly lit ball. A slight man in a domino mask speaks to a slighter dark-haired woman. Behind them, a large man whispers in the ear of a tall woman.
First line: "It had begun to rain an hour ago, a fine driving mist with the sky grey above."
Best part: The complicated character of the protagonist's father. She wrote him really, really well.
Worst part: You really want me to believe that the protagonists are completely unrecognizable just by dint of being in drag? Sigh.
Imaginary Theme Song: "When a Special Girlfriend" by Ute Lemper (from the Kissing Jessica Stein soundtrack)
Grade: B+. Not going to change the world, but SOOOO enjoyable.
Recommended for: Really, any fans of YA should read Heyer, and this is my favorite Heyer so far.
Related Reads: Cotillion and The Grand Sophy by the same author. The Season by Sarah MacLean.

Brother and sister Kate and Peter Merriot are cutting a swathe through the London ton. They have a secret - she's a man, and he's a woman! And a more dangerous secret yet - their checkered past. But when each falls in love, how can they reveal their true selves? And will their roguish father's plans interfere?
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Twilight's Dawn
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: Black Jewels #9 (Milking those bestsellers for all they're worth...)
Genre: Dark fantasy.
Setting: The Blood realm
Reason for Reading: I saw it on the "new fiction speed read" shelf at the library and went "Score!" I didn't even know she had a new book out.
Finished In: Days, and not many of them.
Pages: 435
Copyright Date: 2011
Cover: By Larry Rostant, who has done the covers for most of the recent books in this series. It shows a woman in a teal dress and dark cloak wearing a shimmering jewel. She stands in a winter landscape. Her expression is reserved.
First line: "Daemon Sadi, the Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, crossed the bridge that marked the boundary between private property and public land."
Best part: Much to my surprise, Bishop took a BIG risk with this book, in her story "The High Lord's Daughter." That was brave and unexpected of her as far as I'm concerned, and I think it paid off.
Worst part: Okay, so Bishop has gotten really into Sceltie dogs in the last few years. But do they have to be in ALL her stories now? I don't really see the charm.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Down to You", the Luciana Souza cover
Grade: B.
Recommended for: Fans of the series will really not want to miss this one. Those who are new to Bishop should start with Daughter of the Blood.
Related Reads: Dreams Made Flesh, the previous anthology in the series. Sebastien, the first book in the Ephemera duology by the same author.
snugglekitty: (living planet)
Title: Daughters of an Amber Noon
Author: Katherine V. Forrest
Series: Daughters of a Coral Dawn #2
Genre: Feminist sf. Lesbian, aliens, matriarchy.
Setting: A desert on Earth.
Reason for Reading: I enjoyed Daughters of a Coral Dawn and heard from a friend (I think it was [ profile] dalbino83 that the latter books in the series got even better.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 232
Copyright Date: 2002, though it reads like a much older book.
Cover: A dune with blue sky above.
First line: "It has been the eternity of twenty-four hours since the penultimate day in the existence of our Unity."
Best part: The plot twist near the end, which kind of blew my mind and which I didn't see coming at all.
Worst part: I still feel like Forrest makes it very easy on herself when it comes to characterizing men. Has she never had a moment's doubt? She admits in this work and the previous one that gay men are okay, but none of them have been characters in either book.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Testimony" by Ferron
Grade: C+. I didn't love it but it did make me think.
Recommended for: Those interested in sf with the consensus model, single-sex environments, and unconventional societies.
Related Reads: Daughters of a Coral Dawn by the same author, The Mero Tree by Katie Waitely, Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
Title: Path of the Sun
Author: Violette Malan
Series: Dhulyn and Parno #4
Genre: Sword and sorcery, mercenaries, fantasy.
Setting: The isolated kingdom of Menoin.
Reason for Reading: I loved books one and three in the series.
Finished In: Weeks.
Pages: 374
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: Another lovely CGI of our favorite mercenaries. Dhulyn's hair is shaved off to stubble, Parno is looking a little less naive. They stand in front of a maze.
First line: "Epion Arkarion waited until moonrise to travel the last portion of his journey back to the palace in Uraklios."
Best part: I liked the cliffhanger ending.
Worst part: It really dragged in the middle. Also, revealing the villain in the prologue is a little weird.
Grade: C
Recommended for: Fans of mercenary fantasty shouldn't miss it.
Related Reads: The Sleeping God by the same author. Assassin Fantastic edited by Martin Greenberg.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
Title: Thresholds
Author: Nina Kiriki HoffmanN
Series: None.
Genre: Modern fantasy.
Setting: Spores Ferry, Oregon, which seems to be based on an actual ferry, though not an actual town.
Reason for Reading: I really like this author and try to keep an eye out for her new books.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 243
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: A young androgynous figure looks at a glowing shape in her hand. There are stars behind her.
First line: "It was Maya's second week in the new house."
Best part: The descriptions of art in the book - sketches and music.
Worst part: The sinking feeling that the main character was getting herself into a lot of trouble.
Imaginary Theme Song: I'll Fly Away
Grade: B
Recommended for: Fans of YA fantasy, people curious about YA fantasy.
Related Reads: A Red Heart of Memories by the same other. Saffy's Angel by Hilary Mackay.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
(Note: I am many books behind in my reviewing at the moment. If I post more than two or three reviews today I'll start putting subsequent ones behind cuts so I don't overtake your friends page.)

Title: The Walls of Air
Author: Barbara Hambly
Series: Darwath Trilogy, Book 2
Genre: Alternate universe fantasy.
Setting: The kingdom of Darwath. Our two main characters are still from SoCal but Earth is only present in their dreams.
Reason for Reading: The first book was really good.
Finished In: Days. Maybe a week total.
Pages: 297
Copyright Date:
Cover: Looks like something out of Star Wars. Obi-Wan and Leia are standing in front of a holoscreen. Leia has a sword and staff in her hands.
First line: "The setting was the Shamrock Bar in San Bernadino on a rainy Saturday night."
Best part: I continue to find the ongoing political intrigue in this series of great interest.
Worst part: The plot twist near the end seemed very obvious to me.
Imaginary Theme Song: "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, but only because "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto" doesn't have a song AFAIK.
Grade: B-
Recommended for: I think fantasy fans should give this series a look, but it should definitely be read from the beginning.
Related Reads: The Time of the Dark by the same author.
snugglekitty: (dragon reading)
Title: Intrigues
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Book Two of The Collegium Chronicles (book one was Foundation)
Genre: Fantasy fluff
Setting: Valdemar, at the founding of the Collegium in the time of King Kiril.
Reason for Reading: Lackey's books never quite get bad enough to make me swear off her.
Finished In: Days. I admit it, all right? Days.
Pages: 328
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: One of the standard ones by Jody A. Lee – it's in greens and golds and shows a boy on a galloping horse with leaves blowing past them.
First line: “Mags slapped the palm of his hand against the blue-painted wood of the stable door, and it banged open, whacking into the frame as Mags hurried through it.”
Best part: Lackey books when they don't explicitly suck are like warm comforting crack to me.
Worst part: Something went really wrong with the ending of this one, specifically the “tearful reunion of friends” part.
Imaginary Theme Song: “This is the song that never ends... it just goes on and on my friend...”
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Inveterate Lackey fans. Anyone who isn't familiar with Valdemar would really be better served starting with Arrows of the Queen or at least the first book in the trilogy (I assume it's a trilogy) Foundation.
Related Reads: Foundation, Arrows of the Queen, and Burning Brightly by the same author.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: The Time of the Dark
Author: Barbara Hambly
Series: Darwath Trilogy, book one.
Genre: Dimension-traveling fantasy.
Setting: SoCal in the late seventies, Darwath 3000 years after the last invasion of the Dark.
Reason for Reading: My metamour let me pick through a box of books she was giving away, this trilogy was among them.
Finished In: Days. Hambly is a good writer, though somewhat unpolished in this one.
Pages: 263. Fantasy novels are written much longer than they used to be.
Copyright Date: 1982
Cover: A wizard holding a staff sits at a Formica table. He has a Budweiser in his other hand. His expression is forbidding. Also, I somehow managed to drop this book a couple of times so the cover is kind of falling apart.
First line: "Gil knew that it was only a dream."
Best part: It was very engrossing, and I enjoyed the characters.
Worst part: It was also pretty derivative.
Imaginary Theme Song: LOTR theme song.
Grade: A solid B. I'm pretty sure I'll want to read it again once I'm done with the whole trilogy.
Recommended for: Fantasy fans, especially those who like female swordswomen and nonromantic pairings.
Related Reads: Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Sabre and Shadow by SM Stirling and Shirley Meier.

Gil is a scholar of medieval history, troubled by dreams of an impossible city beseiged by mysterious dark creatures. Rudy is a happy-go-lucky motorcycle afficianado with some talents in the spraypaint department. A chance encounter with the otherworldly wizard Gandalf Belgarath Ingold soon takes them far from their homes, to a place more passionate and frightening than they've ever known before.

This is a good one, folks. Sure, it's not the most original plot in the history of the universe, but the characters kept me turning pages. I'm interested to see where she goes with the rest of the trilogy, and particularly with the Darwath standalones she apparently wrote later.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
Title: Land of the Burning Sands
Author: Rachel Neumeier
Series: Griffin Mage book 2
Genre: Fantasy with talking animals.
Setting: The edge of civilization and the desert.
Reason for Reading: My metamour got me into this series.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 441, plus an excerpt from book three
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: A wing, a sand dune, some curlicues.
First line: "Gereint Enseichen sat on a narrow pallet in the lowest cellar of the Anteirden townhouse, waiting."
Best part: This book was both compelling and quite different from the previous installment.
Worst part: It was oddly jarring (though perhaps that was the intent?) to see the story from the perspective of another side.
Imaginary Theme Song: Taqasim.
Grade: B+
Recommended for: Fans of the series.
Related Reads: Lord of the Changing Winds by the same author.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
Title: Some Golden Harbor
Author: David Drake
Series: Lt. Leary book five
Genre: Space opera
Setting: Principally Dunbar's World, which is not what we would call a bastion of intergalactic awesomeness.
Reason for Reading: I love the series.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 530, including an excerpt from In the Stormy Red Sky
Copyright Date: 2006
Cover: What seems strange to me about the covers of these books is that my favorite character, Adele Mundy, seems to look completely different every time.
First line: "'This way, mistress,' said the hostess of Pleasaunce Style, dipping slightly at the knees before turning to lead Adele Mundy into the restaurant."
Best part: A buddy for Tovera, one of my favorite psychopathic characters.
Worst part: A sameness is starting to develop, I am forced to admit that.
Imaginary Theme Song: "It's the Same the Whole World Over." I love that Drake has his spacers sing authentic drinking songs and working songs.
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Fans of the series, although honestly you could pick it up at any point. You'd just miss some of the awesome origin story stuff in the first book, about how Adele and Daniel got together in the first place.
Related Reads: With the Lightnings by the same author. The Sleeping God by Violette Malan; even though that is a fantasy series the partnership feels a little similar to me.
snugglekitty: (lioness)
That's right kids, one trashy book called Moonshine was just not enough!

Title: Moonshine
Author: Alaya Johnson
Series: It's technically a standalone. It felt like there would be sequels, but there has been no announcement of that yet.
Genre: SPT.
Setting: A New York City ruled by Tammany Hall, in which vampires are second class citizens.
Reason for Reading: How could I not read a sexy pentacle tattoo novel set in the jazz era? Come now. How long have you been reading this blog, anyway?
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 288
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: A woman's neck with two vampire bites on it. She's wearing red lipstick and a cityscape is below her. The word MOONSHINE is in red except for one white O. A quote exclaims, "Gangs of New York meets True Blood!"
First line: "I skidded on a patch of ice as I rounded the corner on Lafayette Street, only years of experience saving me as I tottered in the bar twelve inches between a shuttered horse-drawn hansom cab and a Model-T."
Best part: A schoolteacher who works for vampire rights and sings jazz? What about that is not a good time?
Worst part: The parts with Zephyr's parents made me cringe. Not that they were poorly written - they were very well-written to make you cringe.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Remember" by Billy Holiday
Grade: B+
Recommended for: Anyone intrigued by the premise. Anyone who thinks SPT is starting to get a little old.
Related Reads: Chasing Midnight by Susan Krinard. The Vampire Files by PN Elrod.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Who reads two trashy novels called Moonshine in a row? I do, that's who

Title: Moonshine
Author: Rob Thurman (interestingly, a pen name for Robyn - this author is female.)
Series: Cal Leandros book 2
Genre: SPT (Sexy Pentacle Tattoo).
Setting: NYC and New Jersey, with monsters. Lots of monsters.
Reason for Reading: I'm not sure I can explain. I just wanted to even though I knew it wouldn't be that good.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 338
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: Dean, I mean Nic, is holding a sword and wearing a muscle shirt. Sam, I mean Cal, looms in a trench coat. The New York skyline and a full moon are behind them.
First line: "I was born a monster."
Best part: The developing romantic relationships.
Worst part: The main villain was just... I mean, really?
Imaginary Theme Song: The theme from Supernatural.
Recommended for: Anyone who likes the show Supernatural ought to read these books, and yes I am looking at YOU [ profile] samidha!
Related Reads: Nightlife by the same author, Dead to Me by Anton Strout.

The many legions of Supernatural fans should read this tale of brotherly love and werewolves.
snugglekitty: (bookbabe)
Title: The Painted Boy
Author: Charles de Lint
Genre: Urban fantasy
Setting: American desert, modern day.
Reason for Reading: I read almost all of deLint's books as they come out.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 431
Copyright Date: November 2010
Cover: A stylized dragon, Asian-style. At the bottom is a small italicized tag line - "His secret lives on his skin."
First line: "The boy had finally fallen asleep."
Best part: I liked seeing deLint tackle some new characters and ideas.
Worst part: What is it about dragons and gangs, anyway? How did that get to be so cliched?
Imaginary Theme Song: "Beat It" by Michael Jackson
Grade: B
Recommended for: Those interested in urban fantasy, but wanting it to be a little less urban.
Related Reads: Medicine Road or The Mystery of Grace by the same author.

My first book of 2011, woo hoo!
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Batwoman: Elegy
Author: Greg Rucka, JH Williams III, and others at DC Comics
Series: Batwoman graphic novels
Genre: Comics, superheros
Setting: Gotham City
Reason for Reading: It was on the list of the best graphic novels of 2010, and I was also interested that the main character is a veteran kicked out of the service for being gay. It's awesome that this concept will likely become dated in a few years.
Finished In: Hours.
Pages: 192, including covers and bonus material.
Copyright Date: July 2010
Cover: Batwoman with a crazed-looking doll behind her. They are caught within the bat shape.
First panel: No text, just Batwoman swooping down on a cable with her teeth bared.
Best part: I liked the art and the parts that were about the main character's orientation.
Worst part: Some of the rest of it was confusing and hard to follow, at least to me. Maybe that wouldn't be true if I had read more Batwoman graphic novels.
Imaginary Theme Song: "We Are the Champions" by Queen
Grade: C+
Recommended for: People interested in gay superheros. What, you're not?
Related Reads: Hero by Tyler Perry (though that is not in graphic format). Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (though it is not about a superhero).

Woo hoo, finally I'm done reviewing the last of the 2010 books! Hopefully I'll even get to catch up soon.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Trio of Sorcery
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Genre: Novella (three).
Setting: Boston in the seventies, the rez in the 90s, and the world of gamers today.
Reason for Reading: I'm kind of addicted to Lackey. Surely you've noticed by now.
Finished In: Days
Pages: 352
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: Faint outline of a woman in a dress looking over her shoulder. It's unusually styled for a Lackey cover - generally they're more representational.
First line: "As apartments went, it wasn't much; a third-floor studio that had as its main attractions the fact that it was within walking distance of Harvard Square and the University, and that it had a fireplace."
Best part: I enjoyed seeing Diana Tregarde again. I didn't think Lackey would revisit the character - she said she wouldn't after the death threats she got from crazed wannabe Guardians - glad she changed her mind.
Worst part: MAJOR transphobia in one of the stories.
Imaginary Theme Song: "That Old Black Magic"
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Those desiring fluff! If you're interested in Lackey's modern-ish works it's not a bad place to start.
Related Reads: Children of the Night and Sacred Ground by Lackey; I'm sure a book featuring the new protagonist of the third novella is in the offing. Many Bloody Returns and the other anthologies in that series.

(Just one more 2010 book to go, woo hoo!)
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: The Way to Glory
Author: David Drake
Series: Lt. Leary, book four
Genre: Space opera
Setting: Cinnabar and other parts of Drake's imaginary space empire.
Reason for Reading: Totally addicted to the series. Couldn't stop if I tried.
Finished In: Days.
Pages: 526
Copyright Date: 2007 (Alas, the publication dates are moving towards the present. I am reading them much faster than he can write them!)
First line: "The pair of footmen at the head of the stairs bowed to Daniel; the older one said 'Senator Kearned will be most pleased that you're able to attend, Lieutenant Leary.'"
Best part: I liked seeing some development with Leary's dysfunctional family; I find it interesting.
Worst part: The characterization in this book of my favorite sociopath (Tovera) seemed a little out of tune.
Imaginary Theme Song: La Marseilles
Grade: C+
Recommended for: Fans of the series (who won't be able to help themselves anyway).
Related Reads: With the Lightnings, first book in the series.
snugglekitty: (Default)
Title: Troubled Waters
Author: Sharon Shinn
Series: If I know my favorite romantic fantasy writer, it's the start of one.
Genre: Romantic fantasy.
Setting: Mostly the city of Chialto, capital of an imaginary land.
Reason for Reading: I pretty much read everything that Shinn writes.
Finished In: Days. That was as much as I could pace myself.
Pages: 391
Copyright Date: 2010
Cover: A woman rising from green waves. Her hair and clothing are mysteriously dry.
First line: "Navarr Ardelay's body was laid to rest in a blazing pyre, as befit a sweela man who owed his allegiance to flame."
Best part: Sharon Shinn wrote gay boys! Oh, Sharon, I'm so proud of you.
Worst part: Some of the plot twists made little sense to me.
Imaginary Theme Song: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" - Elton John and Kiki Dee
Grade: C+
Recommended for: This would make a good introduction to Shinn's work, especially for those who are curious about romantic fantasy.
Related Reads: General Winston's Daughter by the same author. The Blending books by Sharon Green (which I'll admit I didn't like).

Three more titles, and I'll be done logging my 2010 reads!


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