Monday, September 4, 2017

Get October in September

The Brightest Fell (October Daye, #11)The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Seanan McGuire is on fire. Figuratively, of course. Anyway. The author deserves her accolades, and yes, worth the cost of transitioning to hardcover if you're able. This being the eleventh October Daye novel, it is truly magical—that means tense and bloody in Toby's world. Toby's wedding planning is interrupted by her mom: selfish, casually cruel and arrogant—that's right, she is related to the original Bad Fairy that people would rather not invite to anything. Her mother Amandine will October’s fiancĂ©, the King of Cats, and her fetch’s lover Jazz hostage in their animal forms until Toby finds Amandine's other daughter and brings her back from whatever dimension she's been lost in since 1910. Throw in eternal rivalries and grudges eons old, and Toby must deal with the havoc wreaked. I can't tell you more, except that in Toby's world, though the magic folk are somewhat modern, they are still hidden from the mundane mortals, and McGuire's worldbuilding is superb. Read the whole series, if you haven't. There's a bonus novella, a wonderful surprise.
Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley for the review EARC; the raving is, as always, my own opinion.



View all my reviews

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Curious Minds

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1)Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Curious Minds is a hoot! The first in the Knight and Moon series, this pure escapist thriller makes us imagine: What would Sheldon and Penny (of Big Bang Theory) do?
Sheldon--I mean Emerson Knight, is a handsome, eccentric rich guy. Penny--meaning Riley Moon, is a red-haired, gun-friendly graduate of Harvard Business and Law Schools. She's the one from Texas. Of course they are not complete copies of the characters, but that gives you the flavor of the book.
Credibility has never been Evanovich's goal; it's always been obvious to and appreciated by her readers that she's a genius at escapist fantasy, just like the sitcoms of old. In this book, co-authors Sutton and Evanovich take on global conspiracy theories, from the lizard people to Nazi heirs. There's a Nazi plot to destabilize the world's global gold reserves, and it's up to Knight and Moon to stop it in the nick of time to save the world, indulging in clever dialogue and edging towards romance on the way. Throw in some mystic Hindu powers, flunkies with assault rifles, exotic menageries, a couple more broadly outlined quirky characters, and you have all the escape you could ever want until the story's over. Book two, Dangerous Minds, was just released, and hopefully it's as fun!





View all my reviews

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Green Magic

The Waking LandThe Waking Land by Callie Bates

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


It's worth the hype. I don't know if this one is ya or not, it doesn't need to be. Unlike some other recent reads, every single time I thought she was going for the usual, she turned the cliche around. I'm dazzled. Lady Elanna's grown up a hostage all her life, raised in luxury and favored by the king. What does she do when she's forced to flee her privileged life and face her feelings of betrayal and abandonment in the face of real dangers and responsibilities? Pretty much what any reader of fantasy hopes we would do, with green magic running through our veins: she steps up. The dangers of stepping up are not sugar-coated, either. Beautiful language, stellar character development, and two more books in the pipeline. Hurray, and HIGHLY recommended. I was lucky enough to win an ARC, and thank Del Rey profusely. There's nothing like getting to add someone new to your "favorite authors" list. (Note to publisher: look at those reviews on goodreads, maybe you need to market this as an adult fantasy. Me, Robin Hobb, other adults: 5-4 stars, great reviews; teenagers: 1-2 stars. This is more like Recluce and only mature readers evidently can see it.)



View all my reviews

Recent Reads


Friday, August 4, 2017

The New Voices of FantasyThe New Voices of Fantasy by Peter S. Beagle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Hard times are good for great writing and serious reading. Here are serious practitioners of fantasy and lovers of language, tinged with truth and mudded with blood and myth. Many of the writers have won or been nominated for awards, and they know their stuff. Buy it, read it, and dream larger, possibly darker, definitely deeper dreams. Each story is a portal to a different world. Each is a literary gem, shining like a necklace of stars in the hands of a dragon. Even the ones that you may not like are beautiful. It was edited by Peter Beagle, after all. Delightful, but not light reading, highly recommended. (I received an EARC for review from the publisher and Netgalley.)


View all my reviews

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Moonbeams and Hard Truths Can Go Together

Ginny MoonGinny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Ginny Moon's birth mother has trouble with drugs, men, cops, and her temper. She also has trouble with Ginny Moon, who has a LOT of trouble understanding people in general, due to her position on the autism spectrum. Ginny Moon was removed from her birth mother's custody four years ago when she was nine, and since then she has done nothing but do her best by hook or crook to get back to her birth mother and Ginny's job of taking care of Baby Doll. Lying, stealing, running away: Ginny knows these are wrong, but she doesn't know what else to do, because taking care of Baby Doll is VERY important, and none of the adults around her, even her therapist, seem to understand.
Things come to a head when her adoptive parents are about to have their own birth child. Ginny comes from a violent background; despite her obsession with Baby Doll, can she be trusted around the new baby? Ludwig does an amazing job of showing why it's hard to communicate for the autistic and with the autistic. The book is told in Ginny's voice and yet we can see when she can't how people are caring for her and about her, and feel empathy and frustration for everyone in the story. That's amazingly hard to do when you're taking on autism, social services, adoption and foster care, poverty and high school all at once. Both tender and tough, this is a great read for adults and teens.





View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fantastic Fforde

A French Affair: A perfect feel good summer romanceA French Affair: A perfect feel good summer romance by Katie Fforde
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At last Katie Fforde is reappearing to an American audience! Katie is one of Britain's rom-com queens, for she manages to get just the right touches of setting, character, and story to tug your heartstrings and make you smile. The challenge of writing (and reading!) romance is that it's basically the same story every single time, even if it's our favorite. One of the pleasures of reading Fforde is that she gives us different settings in each book, so we're always exploring something, whether it's barges or wool factories or old country houses.
She takes us backstage to the antiques world in A French Affair. The old country house in this story has been turned into one of those antiques shops where lots of dealers use tiny spaces for storefronts. Gina and Sally have inherited a stall from their eccentric aunt. Tall, handsome and grumpy Matthew owns the building. Trouble and attraction and good humor ensue, along with true love, of course.
A French Affair was originally published in Britain in 2013 and is sitting on my home bookshelf, so it is not due to the free electronic version I received from the publisher and Netgalley that I encourage you to buy and read it and keep it on your bookshelf, too. Katie Fforde's books, all of them, are go-to books for comfort reading anytime--and some are even better than this one. If you want to read and close the pages with a smile on your face, Katie Fforde is your girl!


View all my reviews