Reviews by Vanessa

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 »

Review

Penric’s Demon

Posted: March 19, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Lois McMaster Bujold, Fantasy, Short Fiction
Penric’s Demon

PENRIC’S DEMON is the first story in a 6-novella series (so far? hopefully there will be more?) written by the amazing Lois McMaster Bujold. I just finished listening to all six on Audible and I’m here to tell you that they’re worth your time, and reader Grover Gardner enhances the story the way a reader should.
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Review

All Systems Red

Posted: February 7, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Martha Wells, Science Fiction, Short Fiction
All Systems Red

Last week in my interview with S.K. Dunstall (see it here), they mentioned loving Martha Wells’ Murderbot stories. With such high praise from an author-duo I enjoy, how could I resist?

I’ve been missing out. Murderbot is totally worth reading.
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Review

Stars Uncharted

Posted: January 29, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: S.K. Dunstall, Space Opera
Stars Uncharted

Nika Rik Terri is known as one of the best body modders (as in she modifies human bodies with her machines) in the galaxy. But even those famous for their abilities can make dumb decisions: like, say, hook up with a man who becomes an abusive boyfriend. She makes a business deal with his boss so her ex-boyfriend will leave the planet and harass other people instead. Unfortunately she ends up on the run anyway after her ex’s “co-worker” threatens Nika’s life.

Josune was recently hired as assistant engineer on the spaceship The Road to the Goberling, but she’s there to spy for her boss, the captain of the Hassim, who wants to learn something only Captain Roystan will know. But when the Hassim arrives suddenly out of nullspace with company men on board (think pirate mentality but with corporate backing) and the original crew dead, Josune suddenly finds herself in a predicament.

But neither woman is without resources or smarts, and they must use all their wits to come out of this alive.
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Review

Skyward

Skyward

Spensa has always dreamed of being a pilot. When she was a child her father was a pilot for the DDF, the military force that protects the planet Detritus from alien Krell incursions. But one fateful day during a defining battle against the Krell, her father ran from the battle, died, and was labeled a coward. As a result, Spensa and her mother and grandmother live on the fringes of society. But now that Spensa has come of age, she can test for pilot training and prove to everyone that cowardice doesn’t run in the family.

But the DDF doesn’t make it easy for her.Read the rest of this review »