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Search tags: january-2017
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review 2017-03-23 10:29
Science-Fiction at its best.
The Word Endangered (The Face of the Deep, Book 3) - Steve Rzasa

This was a fantastic read. I love classic science-fiction adventure (opera?) novels done well and this is a perfect example. Steve Rzasa's novels keep getting better and this is the best one yet in the series. I did not read Broken Sight which takes place prior to this story but I look forward to doing so.

 

Overall, the writing is excellent an awesome story and indepth plot-line that expands the created universe. I really hope this is not the end of this series. Such a unique concept for a series.

 

A must read!

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review 2017-02-17 21:38
Sheepfarmer's Daughter / Elizabeth Moon
Sheepfarmer's Daughter - Elizabeth Moon

Paksenarrion — Paks for short — is somebody special. She knows it, even if nobody else does yet. No way will she follow her father's orders to marry the pig farmer down the road. She's off to join the army, even if it means she can never see her family again.

And so her adventure begins... the adventure that transforms her into a hero remembered in songs, chosen by the gods to restore a lost ruler to his throne.

Here is her tale as she lived it.

 

I really wanted to like this tale more than I actually did. It had moments of greatness—as when Paksenarrion fights off her father and leaves home to join the army. (Although, as the daughter of a pig farmer, I will tell you that there are worse men that you could end up married to).

I read this book while on holiday and it always seemed that I was interrupted right in mid-battle, left wondering for many hours how things would turn out! That said, the battles were certainly not gritty like those described by Glen Cook in his Dark Company series. These were battlefield-lite. And although Paks is injured several times and has bad things happen to her, she leads the charmed life of the fantasy heroine.

What was refreshing was having a female main character who was competent with a weapon and interested in tactics. Now, how much is her own doing and how much is she being assisted by somewhat magical influences? This supernatural stirring in her life puts me in mind of Joan of Arc….

Book 241 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

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review 2017-02-17 21:35
The Dragonbone Chair / Tad Williams
The Dragonbone Chair - Tad Williams

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.

Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.

 

Oh, the orphan boy with unknown talents, who under-performs until the pressure is applied—how many fantasy stories have you read with this structure? Let’s see--Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey, The Riftwar Saga by Raymond Feist, The Belgariad by David Eddings, The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, even to some extent The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien (substitute “hobbit” for “boy”). Maybe even the King Arthur story to some extent—until young Arthur pulls the sword from the stone. It’s a well-used idea.

At the book’s beginning, I found Simon particularly annoying. As lives go in Midieval-like settings, his lot in life isn’t so bad, although the housekeeper Rachel does make his existence somewhat miserable. However, we all have to earn our keep, so pull up your socks, laddie, and make an effort! Even when offered opportunities to learn to read and to study, he complains! Typical 14-year-old, I guess, something I wouldn’t know about, having had the reading bug ever since I learned to read. Simon doesn’t appreciate his warm bed, three square meals a day, and secure surroundings until he has to flee the castle.

Once he starts running for his life, Simon begins growing up. He becomes a much more likeable character at that point and I began to get invested in his tale. He loses some of the ADHD qualities that made him a “mooncalf” in the beginning and becomes a much more focused young man.
I also appreciated a brand new take on trolls—making them smaller, wiser, and wilier. I liked Binobik and his wolf companion a lot. The Sithi are interesting in their ambiguity—are they enlightened, ethereal beings like the elves in Tolkien? Or are they the dark enemies of mankind? The world of Osten Ard is very detailed and easy to picture in the mind’s eye.

The writing isn’t the best ever, but the story is engaging and I am waiting impatiently for volume 2 at my public library, where it is ‘on order.’ No telling how long I will have to pause before I know what happens to Simon, the kingdom, and the Storm King!

Book number 239 in my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.

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text 2017-02-04 18:55
January 2017 Reviews

 

Most of my January reviews never ended up on Booklikes because I skipped out on the site for a while out of frustration. Thankfully, BL seems to be back to normal (and will continue to work well, I hope).

 

The most enjoyable stuff I read was probably:

 

- Mayday by Chris Strange - I loved the Maydays (aka kaiju) and ended up enjoying this despite the overly violent and misogynistic main character.

 

- Azumanga Daioh Omnibus - A reread. The final volume in the omnibus adds emotional depth to the series' general ridiculousness and still has the power to give me warm fuzzies.

 

- The Ancient Magus' Bride, vol. 1 - This shows a lot of promise so far.

 

TV watching went even better:

 

- Big Windup! - A rewatch. Although I don't like sports, I am often drawn to sports anime. Go figure. This is one of my top favorite sports anime of all time, and it boggles my mind that it didn't earn Funimation great gobs of money.

 

- Big Windup! 2 - I'm so glad Nozomi Entertainment licensed the rest of this series. I didn't think it was as good as the first season, but it was still fun, and it addressed one of the weaknesses of the first season in a way that had me wishing there were a third season or that the manga was available in English.

 

My favorite covers of the month:

 

The Second Mango - Shira Glassman 

 

Although I'm happy for the author that she got her rights back from Torquere and was able to self-publish this, I have to admit that I prefer Torquere's cover (pictured here) to the cover the author used in her rerelease. That said, I think the new covers for the rest of the series are way better than Torquere's.

 

Mayday: A Kaiju Thriller - Chris Strange 

 

This cover is one of the things that prompted me to give Mayday a closer look.

 

Rocket Raccoon Volume 1: A Chasing Tale - Skottie Young 

 

I love how gleeful Rocket looks.

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text 2017-02-04 15:13
January Roundup
The Keeper's Price - Marion Zimmer Bradley,Jacqueline Lichtenberg,Jean Lorrah,Diana L. Paxson,Kathleen Williams,Elisabeth Waters,Linda Frankel,Susan M. Schwartz,Linda MacKendrick,Patricia Shaw Mathews,Cynthia McQuillin,Penny Ziegler,Paula Crunk,Eileen Ledbetter
Affaire Royale - Nora Roberts
Bay of Sighs (Guardians Trilogy) - Nora Roberts
Silver Phoenix - Cindy Pon
One Week in the Library - W Maxwell Prince,John Amor
Murder in Montparnasse - Kerry Greenwood
Mistletoe and Murder - Carola Dunn
The Witch's Daughter - Paula Brackston
The Witches of New York - Ami McKay
An Expert in Murder - Nicola Upson

So January's books... 33 in all

 

Fiction: 

The Keeper's Price by Marion Zimmer Bradley et al. Reminded me of a lot of what I enjoyed about Darkover, I kinda want to revisit...

 

Nora Roberts featured a few times, Affaire Royale, Command Performance and Playboy Prince were actually a 3-in-one copy; Bay of Sighs is a newer book and I found it interesting. 

 

Small Gods the Graphic Novel made me want to revisit the book.

 

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon was a good read, interesting to read a story set in China.

 

The Discerning Gentleman's Guide by Virginia Heath was a good historical romance, though the title did make me snigger a little.

 

 

One Week in the library was somewhat underwhelming, I wanted more.

 

Murder in Montparnasse by Kerry Greenwood was not the best Phryne Fisher story but not bad either, you learn more about Phryne's past.

 

Mistletoe and Murder by Carola Dunn, the framing story was a bit strained but an interesting murder mystery.

 

Paula Brackston's The Witch's Daughter is an interesting twist on the long-lived supernatural, for a change set in England.

 

Awakening the Shy Miss by Bronwyn Scott was an okay historical romance.

 

House of Shadows by Jen Christie was a time-travelling paranormal romance.

 

Captivating the Witch by Michele Hauf was a paranormal romance between a demon and a witch.

 

Witches of New York by Ami McKay took a long time for me to get into and then left me a little underwhelmed.

 

The Lie by C.L. Taylor was a story of learning about real friendship, and how things can go terribly wrong.

 

An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson was an interesting murder mystery featuring Josephine Tey and her friends.

 

Scarlet Widow by Graham Masterton featured some problematic sex.

 

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents: Terry Pratchett does the Pied Piper.

 

Bound by Duty by Diane Gaston was a good historical romance.

 

A-Force Presents volume 1 - the first new introductions to female superheroes. Very mixed but interesting.

 

Lucifer - Mike Carey Volume 1 - I prefer the TV series

 

Lady Emma's Revenge - Fenella J Miller - a murder mystery wrapped in a historical romance.

 

A Match for Marcus Cynster - Stephanie Laurens A man discovers that he doesn't need to belittle a woman to be strong, enjoyed this one a lot.

 

Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke - interesting world with a cleric discovering a dagger has a mind of it's own.

 

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart - based on fact it's an interesting read.

 

Non-Fiction:

Sink Reflections by Marla "Flylady" Cilley I found underwhelming.

 

Not my shame by T.O. Walker almost broke my heart, a woman facing up to her abuse.

 

The Awakening by Colm O'Connor was a very reflective piece and I found it made me think a lot about living.

 

Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak was charming, illustrated unusual words from around the world.

 

Healing Fatty Liver Disease - exactly what it says.

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