Posts that have been categorized as: "Books We Like"

Review

By Fire Above

Posted: June 13, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Robyn Bennis, Steampunk
By Fire Above

Josette is the captain of the airship Mistral, and after the events of THE GUNS ABOVE (EBR review), she’s made enough of a name for herself that she doesn’t have to worry about the powers-that-be of taking her ship away from her. But the war with the Vins continues to rage, and making a name for oneself means that her and her crew are thrown once again into the fray to fight for Garnia.

But the scariest thing Josette will do is navigate the Garnian royal court.Read the rest of this review »

Review

A Secret History of Witches

Posted: June 7, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Fantasy, Louisa Morgan
A Secret History of Witches

The book begins in 1821, when a small group of Romani (gypsies) are escaping immanent death by leaving France for England. And the only reason they escape is through the efforts of the group’s matriarch and the magic she’s inherited from her witch ancestresses. The Orchiére women have used their magic for hundreds of years, the magic following their daughters from generation to generation. A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES follows their genealogy from 1821 to World War II, showcasing a line of vibrant women connected tightly to their family’s past and future. Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Tombs

The Tombs

Teenage Avery’s life changed the day her mother was committed to the Tombs, a ‘hospital’ for the insane. In an effort to hide their disgrace–and out of necessity as their middle-class standing is ruined–Avery and her father change their names and move to a less desirable part of town, where her father opens a clockwork shop and she begins working as a welder at a local factory. It’s not the life she lived before, where she went to school, wore nice clothes, and was friends with girls her age–and when her father didn’t drink himself into a stupor every night. But not everything is bleak. She has her peregrine “Seraphine”, best friend Khan, and welding work that she realizes she has a knack for.

Everything changes again when new abilities begin to manifest and she realizes that her mother was hospitalized for being crazy when in reality she has empathic powers.Read the rest of this review »

Review

Provenance

Posted: May 10, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: Ann Leckie, Science Fiction
Provenance

Ann Leckie’s PROVENANCE is not a space opera. While the scope is broad, covering an uneasy interstellar treaty and the implications of a society obsessed with origins and authenticity, the real focus is on Ingray Aughskold, a foster child from a public crèche, acutely aware that in her mother’s eyes, she has always lacked “a certain something” (423). PROVENANCE plays out on an intimate scale, the coming-of-age story of a woman who should have come into her own years ago. Read the rest of this review »

Review

Weave a Circle Round

Posted: May 8, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: Fantasy, Young Adult
Weave a Circle Round

I hate to start a review by saying that a book was good because of what it did NOT contain, but when a YA novel does NOT contain handsome supernatural beings, sorting, life-or-death romantic longing, cancer, or shockingly young children being pressed into military service, I feel like that bears mentioning. In fact, I’m not sure I can remember the last time I read a YA novel in which not a single character was sorted into a color-coded societal group. ‘Sorting’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing; like any trope, the success depends on the author’s skill. Still, reading WEAVE A CIRCLE ROUND and not having to remember which ‘team’ anyone was on was… genuinely refreshing. Read the rest of this review »

Review

Good Guys

Posted: April 20, 2018 by Allan Bishop in Books We Like Tags: Steven Brust, Supernatural Thriller
Good Guys

Sometimes I wonder if Urban Fantasy is stuck in the year 2005. Vampires. Werewolves. Angels. The Fae. And then once in a while, lo and behold, I find a novel that fulfills a certain niche: mages versus mages. Except this isn’t Hogwarts, or Harry Dresden walking into yet another CSI murder scene that turns into the Fae having a turf war. No. It’s Steven Brust, author of the acclaimed Vlad Taltos series, returning with his first standalone in twenty plus years. And it has all the trademarks of Brust’s usual style: dry wit, working-class grit, and a whole lot of talking. GOOD GUYS asks a simple question: Is it good to be working for a shady organization who pays you peanuts for a wage? Maybe.
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Review

Sorcery for Beginners

Posted: April 18, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Tags: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Sorcery for Beginners

Owen is your average Middle Schooler: he’s ok at sports, he passes his classes, and he has a couple friends. But when his mom leaves to work in Sumatra and dad takes him to live in Las Vegas, Owen is sure life will never be the same.

Even then, he didn’t account for finding the Codex Arcanum bookstore and buying SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS. Now his life is *really* going to change.

SORCERY FOR BEGINNERS claims it’s what the title says: that this book will teach you, via story and real-life examples, how to become a sorcerer. You’ll follow Owen’s story as he buys the book after being promised the “Spell to Rewrite History” which Owen plans to use to revert to the time before his mom left.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Genius Plague

Posted: April 3, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: David Walton, Techno Thriller
The Genius Plague

I was telling a friend about this book and the first thing that came out of my mouth was “I learned a lot about fungus.” Don’t worry! There are plenty of other fun things to recommend this book, such as NSA code breaking and creepy assassinations, but Walton has found an interesting hook and then amplified it until you will willingly read an entire book about fungus taking over people’s brains. Really.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Elantris

Posted: March 27, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy
Elantris

I love a good series. From J.R.R. to George R.R., there’s a plethora of ways to enjoy the intricate plot and character development that occurs when you start counting pages not in the hundreds, but in the thousands. But sometimes I just… want to read a book? Singular?

Brandon Sanderson’s ELANTRIS is one of these rare standalone novels; rare in the sense that the genre, and Sanderson in particular, tends towards producing series. Not that I would complain if ELANTRIS became a series–I had a great time reading it and I would say that thirteen years after its initial publication the story is as fun and compelling as ever.

ELANTRIS begins with Princess Sarene of Teod sailing into the kingdom of Arelon only to discover that she is a widow. The man she was supposed to marry, Prince Raoden, has died, but her marriage contract stipulates that she is still his wife, whether or not she had the chance to meet him. Disappointed but not distraught, Sarene immediately begins puzzling out the political situation in Arelon.
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Review

Children of the Fleet

Posted: March 21, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Tags: Orson Scott Card, Science Fiction
Children of the Fleet

I first learned the term “bottle episode” while watching “Community” (thank you, Abed). One episode of Season 2 takes place entirely in a locked room as the characters search for a missing pen. While the premise is absurd, trapping everyone in the same room allows for hilarity, as well as serious revelations about their relationships, to ensue. Not only are ‘bottle episodes’ cheap to shoot, relying on one set instead of several, they are also light on plot, allowing writers to spend more time focusing on character development. In his newest addition to the Enderverse, CHILDREN OF THE FLEET, Card immerses his readers once again in a world of precocious children, absent but watchful adults, and a life or death mission. While it’s not exactly a bottle episode, Card’s narrative shares a similar intense focus on depth, not breadth. By limiting himself to a relatively simple plot and using the already familiar setting of Battle Fleet School, Card can fully explore the emotional journey of Dabeet Ochoa.

Set in the aftermath of Ender’s victory in the Third Formic war, CHILDREN OF THE FLEET begins after Battle School has been converted to Fleet School, a place to train future leaders for humanity’s colonization efforts. Dabeet Ochoa is a preternaturally intelligent child who is convinced that he belongs in Fleet School, not stuck on Earth.
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