Recent Reads

Hey! Yes, it’s been awhile. Life kind of got hectic there for a bit. I’ve still been reading, though, never fear. Here’s what I’ve gotten into lately:

Within the Sanctuary of WingsWithin the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5) by Marie Brennan.
This is the final book in the wonderful Lady Trent series, and it did not disappoint. She visits another remote locale chasing after a legend, and makes another discovery regarding dragons – the biggest one yet by far. It had just the right blend of adventure, honestly human moments, and Lady Trent’s signature acerbic commentary. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and found it a satisfying end to the series. I am a little sad it’s over now, but it went out with a bang. If you’ve loved the other books in this series, have no fears with this final chapter. If you haven’t read the other books, pick up the first one now!
4/5 stars.

station elevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Disaster strikes. The human population is decimated. Governments and infrastructure collapse. Chaos and survivalism rule. But some find that survival alone is not enough. Enter The Travelling Symphony, a group of itinerant actors and musicians who make their way in this post-apocalyptic world by playing classical music and performing Shakespeare. The story jumps around between different time frames and characters, but they all weave together. I loved this book. The writing is so good, and the story draws you in. You have moments of humanity at its worst (violence and cults and bullshit), juxtaposed against humanity at its finest. You get the before and after of civilization, and the joy as a reader of picking up on the little pieces that tie the parts together. It’s so good. And it’s a standalone novel, so you have no excuse not to try it.
4.5/5 stars.

A Gentleman in MoscowA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.
This was a book club read that I probably wouldn’t have picked up otherwise, and that would’ve been a shame, as this was a really entertaining read. Count Alexander Rostov, for crimes of his lineage balanced against action for the revolution, is sentenced to a lifetime of house arrest at Moscow’s eminent Metropol hotel. There begins a decades-long adventure within its walls. The cast of characters is brilliant, Rostov’s narrative wit is perfect, and the backdrop of those tumultuous years of Russian history was an interesting change from my normal sci-fi/fantasy fare. It’s not a quick-paced story by any means. But it is a humorous, and heartbreaking, and satisfying one. Highly recommend.
4/5 stars.

Cousins O'Dwyer TrilogyThe Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy by Nora Roberts.
Yes, that Nora Roberts. This series is her attempt at marrying modern day fantasy with Celtic/Irish tradition and her usual romance. With mixed results. I think the idea at the core of this series is good. An evil sorcerer, a good witch, a bloodline tasked with finishing the job centuries later. The cast of characters was fine, if predictable in how they would pair up. There were some good moments that were particularly funny or touching. But overall these books suffered from a slow pace, and a surfeit of telling not showing. There is way more talking about what the characters are going to do then there is the characters actually doing it. Notice that didn’t stop me from reading all 3 books, though, so take from that what you will. If you want an easy, mindless read with a touch o’ the Irish, maybe give book 1 a try.
3/5 stars.

Yeah, I’ve been all over the place with books lately! Next up on my list is a Civil War romance, some Norse mythology, and a modern-day YA.

What have you been reading lately?

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Book Review: Dark Matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. After being attacked and abducted, physics professor Jason Dessen wakes up in a life that is not his. Or at least, not his life as he remembers it. It’s a version of what his life could’ve been if, say, 15 years ago different decisions had been made. Trying to navigate this new life while figuring our how he got there, if the life he remembers is real, and whether he can get back to it and the family he loves soon lands him in worlds of trouble. Literally and figuratively. What follows is a tense […]

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Book Review: Fledgling

Fledgling by Octavia Butler. This could be your typical girl-wakes-up-hurt-with amnesia story, except for one significant difference: this girl is a vampire. Imagine waking up alone, injured, with strange cravings, and not only having no recollection of who you are or how you got there, but no idea what you are either. To have to have the concept of a vampire explained to you by a human. This is how Fledgling starts off. Shori, the girl, looks like a kid of about 12, but is actually a 53-year-old vampire. After waking up alone in the forest, she has to find […]

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Book Review: Nevernight

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff. Girl’s family is killed. Girl narrowly escapes with her life. Girl ends up on the streets. Girl wants revenge, and is taken in by an old assassin and trained as his new protege in preparation for going to assassin school. Naturally. Then she has to find the school/temple of assassins, be admitted, learn all the things, and compete with her fellow trainees for a limited number of spots in the ranks of assassin proper. What could go wrong when you have a bunch of hormonal teenage assassins-in-training cooped up and pitted against […]

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Series Review: The Star-Touched Queen

The Star-Touched Queen The Star-Touched Queen (#1) A Crown of Wishes (#2) By Roshani Chokshi.   Book 1 follows the story of Maya, who has been cursed since birth with a horoscope that predicts a marriage of death and destruction. Shunned by the entire kingdom, she lives only for her books and her little sister Gauri. Then, against all expectations, her father announces she will be wed- a political arrangement to quell unrest. One particular suitor catches her eye, and she finds herself queen of a land called Akaran, and wed to a man who gives her respect, power and […]

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Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Bear and the Nightingale #1) by Katherine Arden. Vasilisa, the youngest of 5 siblings, grows up in the Russian hinterlands with a special connection to the wild. She loves her nurse’s stories of the different spirits of house and forest, but most of all she loves tales of Morozko, the fearful king of winter. When her father remarries to a devout citywoman, who comes with a new priest, it triggers a change in Vasilisa’s comfortable existence. And, as she soon comes to realize, a change in the natural balance. As the new priest’s influence […]

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Book Review: All Our Wrong Todays

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. Tom lives a aimless, drifting life in 2016. Except it’s not our 2016, it’s the 2016 that would exist if humans had discovered unlimited clean energy decades ago. In other words: the sci-fi future we’ve dreamed of since the 1950’s, complete with flying cars and moon bases. This power source has even led to a breakthrough in a new field: time travel. Tom’s father heads up that project, and got Tom a nominal job on the team in an attempt to give his life some structure. When a seemingly minor event dominoes into […]

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