Book 2 in the Family Skeleton series. Still fun.
Book 2 in the Family Skeleton series. Still fun.
Really good novella set in the near-enough future about a super-messed up citizenship test. Good and disturbing – the good kind of disturbing.
I’m not sure who recommended this book, but whoever it was, I don’t trust them anymore. It’s not bad – the writing is better than the last one I read – but it’s disturbing and it really hammers you over the head with the “men are horrible and it’s women who bear the brunt and feel shame their entire lives” message. I’m not arguing the point, but goodness some awful things happen, and I wasn’t really prepared for that when I started reading.
First in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, we have Dr. Jeckyll’s daughter teaming up with Holmes and Watson in 1890s London to find the murderous Mr. Hyde and get the monetary reward because poor Miss Jeckyll is dead broke. The book is being written by a character we don’t meet (in the narrative, anyway) until much later in the book, but we know she’s writing it right away because the other characters have conversations with her about the narrative, within the narrative. It’s loads of fun.
Update: NOPE. It started out fun and interesting, but the writing style got really irritating (although not the interruptions from characters – that was still mostly fun). It’s full of exposition, all tell and no show, and it’s all happening in the dialogue, which makes the dialogue really clunky and painful to read. It’s a pity. I really wanted to like this book.
Last in the Lady Helen series, we move the action to Bath and OH the drama and the men fighting over Lady Helen (even though she’s betrothed!) and the SECRETS and the clothes and poor Darby, and oh yes, fighting the big bad nasty demon-types. And I knew it, I KNEW it, and I’m not going to tell you what I knew because spoilers, but it’s nice to be right.
This was fun. I’m bummed there’s no more.
Second in the Lady Helen series, we move the action to Brighton and Lady Helen has to dress like a man (gasp) and keep secrets from the duke who wants to marry her while also trying not to be attracted to the earl who may have murdered his wife (but clearly did not). Also, there’s magic and power and killing nasty demon-types.
This is the first in a trilogy about a Regency period noblewoman with parents who died scandal-ridden, who, as she turns 18 and starts her first season in London, finds out she’s got this supernatural power to fight nasty demon-types, and she might just have to save the world (but not in book 1). And of course, her mentor is a smoldering earl accused of murdering his wife. Such fun!
This is a post-apocalyptic world where nearly all white people died and the people who live die by the time they’re 20 (of what sounds like the plague), so the world is populated by kids. The language is all dialect or pidgin, hard to get used to, but you get there. It’s told in the first person, so that language is all you get. It’s sometimes hard to remember that the main character is only 15. At other times, it’s painfully obvious and terribly sad that they’re all just children. I was having trouble deciding if I liked it, or even if I thought it was good, and since I finished it over a week ago and I can’t let it go, I think that’s a yes on both counts (although I’m not crazy about the VERY end).
A cozy mystery set in present-day England with dragons. It’s cute, it’s lightly humorous, it set up a lot of background stuff so I’m hoping for a full series (there’s one sequel, Christmas-related), and even though the whodunit part wasn’t that hard to figure out, I still very much enjoyed it.
Gave up: 2/22/19
I couldn’t get into this story. It started with so much exposition, and when we finally got into some characters’ heads, I was relieved and then disappointed. It’s slow-moving, and the depiction of an alien race (native to a planet humans settled on) strikes me as vaguely racist, so it’s unpleasant to read. Add to that the abundance of unnecessary commas and I had to walk away.
This short story is about a mercenary company of wizards who encounter the fantasy version of a tank during one of their battles. It’s a funny idea, told in a funny way, and I am looking forward to more tales of the Red Hats.
I liked the opening framing device more than I liked the rest of the story, although it was interesting. I didn’t love it – I feel like there were so many more stories to tell here, and the one tertiary story the author included basically only had an end. It was missing the beginning and the middle, which took all of the emotion (which I was clearly supposed to feel) out of it.
Gave up: 2/7/19
This could have been (and might be, to a different reader) an interesting story about belonging and ownership of self and taking action to control your life, but it felt like several stories all muddled together. It starts in a factory with child labor, but it leaves there quickly (and abruptly), with no sign any of that will be revisited. Then it switches to a school, with great details about tiny things that appear to have nothing to do with the plot (but they’re neat). In both settings so far, there are off-hand crude comments involving sexualizing young girls that I found really disturbing. We’re following one main character, but I have no idea what she’s going to do or even what she wants to do. I gave it up.
Gave up: 2/7/19
This is a horror story set in a store that is identical to Ikea, but isn’t Ikea. The premise is kind of funny, but the novelty wears off quickly. And then the story got actually scary (or scary enough), so I stopped reading it at night, and then I found I didn’t care enough to pick it back up during the day. No ringing endorsement here.
I’m not sure what this book is expecting of me. Sometimes the tone is light and comic, with a gruff old man harrumphing about his companions, and then the plot will get into sex trafficking and the abuse of young girls and it’s serious and disturbing, but in a light, comic tone…? It’s the first in a series about Charles Dodgson and Arthur Conan Doyle teaming up to solve crimes. I wanted to like it more than I did.
Gave up: 1/31/19
I picked this one because the author will be at the convention I’m going to in a couple of weeks, but I gave up on it almost immediately. The writing was stilted, formal, and boring, and the characters are all high-elf types with ridiculous names, and I am SO not in the mood. Hard pass.
Supernatural mysteries! I’m a sucker for those, and this detective has a skeleton friend helping. Light, fun, and better written that I expected. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised by the writing sometimes.
Gave up: 1/30/19
I gave up on this one almost immediately. The writing was bad. Very bad. I couldn’t make myself continue, even for a clone story.
I like fairy tale retellings, and I very much enjoyed this Cinderella retelling with actual fairies (like the fae, the cannot-be-trusted types) in the background.
A series of vignettes following a few families over several generations. It’s SF because of the reproduction processes involved, but it’s mostly about parents and children. Pretty good.