Reviews by Vanessa

Review

Driftwood

Posted: August 7, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Marie Brennan, Fantasy
Driftwood

“Last” is the name of a man you can hire to lead you through the confusing realm of Driftwood. But that’s not the name he was born with. If he can remember back that far.

First you need to understand Driftwood, a realm where dying civilizations get caught up into its black hole (not really any way to explain it, even though that’s not what it is). At first their neighbors disappear. Then their boundaries. Then they find themselves with new neighbors of different worlds, races, and languages. And all of them are moving toward the inexorable deterioration of their society until it disappears completely. It may take a few generations (depending on the life-expectancy of the natives), but their apocalypse is inevitable.
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Review

Blood Countess

Posted: April 28, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Lana Popovic, Horror, Young Adult
Blood Countess

If you haven’t heard of Countess Elizabeth Bathory (Wikipedia) you’ve missed out on a fascinating true story from history. Because she was born in 1560, our understanding of the events that surrounded her life are a little sketchy, but we do know she was beautiful, well-educated, rich, and well-connected. And she was accused of killing 600 girls.

Lana Popovic decided it was a story worthy of trying to tell in BLOOD COUNTESS.
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Review

Wool

Wool

Living on the surface has become life-threatening, and as a result humanity has retreated to underground. We open WOOL with Sheriff Holston, the law for the silo and the underground city that lives there.

But the silo’s population is strictly controlled. Couples aren’t allowed to even try to have a child without permission unless they win a lottery placement that gives them a chance at a year of trying. They only have a chance at this lottery when another inhabitant dies of old age, accident–or by cleaning.
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Review

The Immortal Conquistador

Posted: April 9, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Carrie Vaughn, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Short Fiction
The Immortal Conquistador

Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series (EBR Archive) is popular for good reason. Excellent heroine. Fun storytelling. Interesting worldbuilding. And engaging characters.
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Review

Empress of Forever

Posted: March 31, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Max Gladstone, Fantasy
Empress of Forever

Viv is a powerhouse of a woman. Entrepreneur. Uber computer programmer. Rich. Powerful. But lonely. In the opening pages of EMPRESS OF FOREVER, Viv finds herself being pursued by people who would stop her from using her genius and influence to change their hold over the world economy. And in the process of using her hacking skills to stop said evil ones she is plucked away from the earth by a green goddess and transferred to another galaxy.

Not exactly the results she was expecting.
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Review

Spinning Silver

Posted: January 21, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Naomi Novik, Fantasy
Spinning Silver

I loved Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series (even during the trudging years), but when she departed from the dragons and wrote UPROOTED (EBR Review) I admit I didn’t jump on board as quickly as I ought to have. When I did finally read it, I loved it and recommend it to anyone who would listen. I went into SPINNING SILVER with the hope it was just as good, bought it, and carved out holiday me time so I could focus on the anticipated deliciousness–even though it’s been released for over a year (my bad).

It was everything I hoped it would be and more.
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Review

Stars Beyond

Posted: January 10, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: S.K. Dunstall, Science Fiction
Stars Beyond

We were introduced to Nika and Josune (our PoV characters) and the eclectic crew of the Road to the Goberling in STARS UNCHARTED (EBR Review), an exciting book full of interesting characters, imaginative science, and some moral dilemmas. Their story continues (and wraps up) in STARS BEYOND (Amazon) as they attempt to shake off their pursuers for good.
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Review

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Posted: October 15, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Urban Fantasy
Gods of Jade and Shadow

From the cover: “The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she find a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it–and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.”
I spent some time thinking about this book since I finished it, not really sure how to write this review. The book was simultaneously straightforward storytelling but also unexpected. The characters were recognizable but foreign. And the ending was surprising yet also what it should have been. GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW is the kind […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Princess Beard

Posted: September 24, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Fantasy, Humor
The Princess Beard

If you read the first two books — KILL THE FARM BOY and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD GNOMES — you will discover that THE PRINCESS BEARD has much the same tone, a silly storyline, and genre twisting galore. Yep, it’s as fun as the first two. Let’s dig in, shall we?
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Review

Electric Forest

Posted: June 13, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Tanith Lee, Science Fiction
Electric Forest

At first glance you’d think ELECTRIC FOREST by Tanith Lee would be a fluffy YA Sci Fi short novel. You would be wrong. Tanith Lee doesn’t know how to do fluffy, that’s your first clue. Instead we get a dark, cyberpunkish, Science Fiction story with seriously flawed characters, a world that is beautiful on the surface but has a dark undercurrent, and a question about the ethics of life-extending science.
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