Reviews by Vanessa

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 »

Review

Scourged

Posted: January 4, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Kevin Hearne,
Scourged

SCOURGED is the final book in The Iron Druid Chronicles and we get it all: war (Ragnarok!), character growth, teamwork, comeuppance (multiple instances), and even a little romance. But how does Hearne deliver?Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

Posted: December 11, 2018 by Vanessa in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Alyssa Palombo, , Books for Chicks
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

If you’ve never read the original Washington Irving short “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” you should (it’s easy to find a free version online…but be sure to have a dictionary on hand, it’s not necessarily an easy read). You’ve probably seen the silly Disney cartoon, but the original story has an ambiance and mystery about it that is enhanced by its brevity and style. Alyssa Palombo attempts to re-tell this American classic in her recent THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL, while retaining the setting details and characters, but giving it a modern twist.Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Empty Grave

Posted: November 22, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Johnathan Stroud, Horror, Middle Grade
The Empty Grave

Arriving at the final book of the Lockwood & Co series, THE EMPTY GRAVE, leaves me with mixed emotions: so happy to see our gang of heroes find the answers they’re looking for, but also sad to see this fantastic series come to an end. Over this series we’ve watched as Lockwood, Lucy, and George have navigated the dangerous and mystifying world of ghosts and ghost hunting. They may only be kids, but this small and independent company has uncovered secrets small and large, fought dangerous ghosts, and dealt with the frustrating politics of being the little guy in a big industry.

Now we get to see the fruition of all their hard work. THE EMPTY GRAVE ends the series in a way that won’t let you down.Read the rest of this review »

Review

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Posted: November 13, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Stephen Leeds is not your average hero. He’d consider himself an normal enough guy, nothing really special to look at or know. At least until he starts talking to people no one else can see.
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Review

Empire of Sand

Posted: November 6, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Tasha Suri, Fantasy
Empire of Sand

Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of the local provincial governor, her father the official representative of the Emperor and the Emperor’s spiritual equal the Maha. While her father is powerful, her mother’s heritage, the Amrithi, are not only outcasts, but are hunted down by the Maha and his mystics. The best thing for Mehr to do is lay low and be the obedient daughter. But she isn’t yet ready to give up the dances and rites that worship the faith of her mother’s people.

Mehr and her family, including a beloved younger sister and a hostile stepmother, live near the desert where her mother’s people originate. The desert is also where the gods of this world sleep and dream, their dreams heralded by the sandstorms that blow through the city where she lives.

There is magic in those storms, and Mehr can hear it calling in her blood. When she inadvertently uses that magic for the first time, she attracts the attention of the Maha, who sends a delegation of mystics–among them a new husband.Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Fated Sky

Posted: October 16, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Mary Robinette Kowal, Science Fiction
The Fated Sky

In THE CALCULATING STARS you got to know Elma York, the brilliant mathematician who becomes one of the first lady astronauts on an Earth that must take to the stars to survive.

Now it looks like she’ll be one of the first women to Mars.Read the rest of this review »