Reviews by Vanessa

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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Review

Bloodwitch

Bloodwitch

After WINDWITCH’s exciting ending, you had to know the story continued, right? Now we’re at BLOODWITCH and the continuation of the stories of Safi, Iseult, Aeduan, Vivia, and Merik and their role in protecting the world against the machinations of The Raider King.

Who also happens to be Aeduan’s father. Poor kid.
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Review

The Red-Stained Wings

Posted: May 21, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Elizabeth Bear, Epic Fantasy
The Red-Stained Wings

Once upon a time, the Alchemical Emperor created an empire among the ruins of former kingdoms. With his own magic he created a palace like no other. Now his posterity fight over the fractured lands inherited by his children. Two ranji queens rule the sister Sarathi palaces, but their two male cousins (each cursed with the inability to procreate their own heirs), attempt to take power for themselves via subterfuge or outright war.
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Review

Storm Cursed

Posted: April 30, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Patricia Briggs, Urban Fantasy
Storm Cursed

Ever since those years ago when Mercy moved to a trailer house near the home of the Columbia Basin Pack’s alpha, her life has been drastically different. She sometimes wonders if it’s because she became involved with Adam and his werewolves, but she understands that her relationship with Coyote, the god of chaos more likely has something to do with it. If you read book #10, SILENCE FALLEN (EBR Review), when Mercy was kidnapped by the vampire king of Europe, we learned that Coyote does have his hand in influencing events, and uses his children to clean up the messes that disrupt the world. I suspect that is the reason why Mercy’s life has grown more dangerous over the years.

That’s what she gets for being Coyote’s daughter.
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Review

Scythe

Posted: April 16, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Neal Shusterman, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Scythe

In a world where immortality means death is no longer natural, scythes are employed to keep the population under control. Rowan is a typical middle child in a big family whose life flies under the radar. Until the Honorable Scythe Faraday notices him and asks him to become his apprentice. Citra excels at school and when a scythe comes to their house just to have a meal with them, she can’t help but question his behavior. They both — reluctantly — end up as apprentices to the same scythe and are dropped into a world of death, pain, grief. They must learn how to kill, but also be compassionate. Scythe Faraday believes that a scythe shouldn’t enjoy killing.

But Scythe Faraday is old school, and there are newer scythes who think that there are too many restrictions, that there are better interpretations of the scythe 10 Commandments. When conclave arrives and Citra and Rowan must take their first tests of their apprenticeship, events go poorly and they learn the hard way that death has become a political battlefield.
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Review

Windwitch

Posted: April 11, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Susan Dennard, Fantasy, Young Adult
Windwitch

It’s been a while since I read the first book of The Witchlands, TRUTHWITCH, so I was a little bit lost when starting WINDWITCH; fortunately I already have book three, BLOODWITCH, ready to read soon, so I won’t suffer quite so much. This might be the kind of series that would be easier to read in quick succession so you aren’t lost. So much happens over the series that if you do go a while between books, a refresher would be in order, since Dennard starts the story back up where she left off, without much reminders.

WINDWITCH easily improves on TRUTHWITCH, despite our heroines being separated at the end of TRUTHWITCH. Dennard builds on everything that went before, on the characterization, on the story, on the magic, on the world–all toward creating a world with more depth, which I rather like seeing in a YA series.
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Review

No Country for Old Gnomes

Posted: April 2, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Fantasy, Humor
No Country for Old Gnomes

In KILL THE FARM BOY (EBR Review) we are introduced to the demesne of Pell (hah! see what I did there?…ok if you haven’t read it then you’re lost already, sorry), with Worstly, his talking goat Gustave, Dark Lord Toby, and the gang as they trek across the land in search of their quest. Or something. It’s much more complicated than that, but basically if you haven’t read it and want a good laugh, go read it and then come back for details about book two.
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Review

The Dream Peddler

Posted: March 28, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Martine Fournier Watson, Fantasy
The Dream Peddler

One cold winter morning in the early hours, a young boy leaves his home to follow the moon — but then disappears.

Not many hours later a peddler walks into town pulling his cart of wares and finds himself in the midst of a search for the boy and volunteers to help — until the boy’s body is found in the river and he instead finds himself in a grieving town.

The traveling salesman turns out not to be your average peddler: this one sells dreams, made to order, satisfaction guaranteed.Read the rest of this review »