Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: marginalia
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-08-04 01:27
Sexy, sweet, and a little sad.
Cowboy Player (Cowboy Cocktail) - Mia Hopkins

{This is the third in the series, but I went in not knowing that and things were fine.}


Melody is a Filipina-American English lit grad who's just moved back to her hometown after a terrible breakup and the loss of her mother. Clark, the titular cowboy, is her closest childhood friend and a real ladies' man -- and of course, he's been in love with Mel for years. There's no surprises in the plot but there is a great deal of pleasure watching it unfold. The California foodie setting is particularly well done, and the secondary characters shine just as bright as our hero and heroine.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-06-01 17:43
Something is rotten in the state of Oregon.
The Steep and Thorny Way - Cat Winters

This 1920s retelling of Hamlet set in rural Oregon with a biracial heroine more than lives up to its premise. I have family there and was thrilled to see how true to the setting this book is -- the woods and creeks, the brambles, the sense of emptiness and isolation paired with small-town "everyone knows my business" paranoia ... It's excellently done, and it's a great background for a Hamlet retelling. Hanalee's voice is engaging and unique without going overboard on the quirkiness, and she felt like a real teenager under way more stress than she deserved. She gets anxious, and makes rash decisions, and I was pulling for her every step of the way.


Would have been five stars except that some of the threat scenes felt a little too voyeuristic -- like we were supposed to enjoy watching our main characters be hurt by the antagonists. That's a particular pet peeve of mine, but your opinion may differ.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-09-14 03:05
Charming, witty, and sweetly sharp.
True Pretenses (Lively St. Lemeston Book 2) - Rose Lerner

Disclaimer: I have the privilege of being friends with Ms. Lerner, which is even more a privilege on account of how much I enjoy her books.


I love Ash and Lydia, how on some level they understand one another and on other levels it takes work to make things, well, work. I love the side characters, and the rare glimpse at aspects of Regency religious life that weren't all vicars and sermons and C of E.


I love our h/h's two brothers, both of whom are struggling with identity in different ways. I love how those struggles impact the main romance. Conflicts feel real and stark, but are plausibly surmountable: they take sacrifice and selflessness, but not magical solutions.


And knowing Rose personally means that I know this charming book -- with a Jewish con artist hero and a marriage of convenience, for those of you who love that sort of historical catnip -- had the working title Secrets and Pies.


Highly recommended.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-04-06 22:42
Darkly satisfying.
Three Parts Dead - Max Gladstone

Combining fantasy with mystery is always a gamble: mysteries rely on an reader's ability to play along with the detective and decode the clues, while fantasy thrives on the creation of strange new worlds and expansive magics that don't necessarily follow conventional physical rules. An author has to set up a system complex enough to sustain a puzzling mystery, but plausible and interesting enough so the reader plays along with the rules she knows are invented.


Max Gladstone's solution here is ingenious: he makes magic out of contracts and bureaucracy, turning souls into currency and building a financial-legal puzzle around the murder of a god. I loved magician-hero Tara Abernathy's wariness and those moments when she took real and slightly scary delight in the sheer power of her Craft -- and I loved chain-smoking priest Abelard, who's out of his depth and lost without his god's guiding light but does his best to find his way in the darkness. Very nearly a perfect book, and well worth the time.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2015-03-30 21:32
Politics, hope, and charm.
The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison

If I told you that this book is one long meditation on the use and abuse of power, it would sound dry and self-important. But this book is neither of those things. Yes, the imperial court of the elves is a bureaucratic mess of politics and paperwork -- but there are also long-standing grudges, secret agendas, simmering resentments, and open rebellions. In the middle of all this comes Maia, half-goblin, outcast and forgotten and unprepared to become emperor. He's smart enough to know he's out of his depth -- and lonely enough to try to trust people even when he probably shouldn't. Oh, my heart broke for him several times. 


This book was a marvelous antidote for every grimdark gorefest fantasy you've avoided reading lately. Sweetness and sadness are perfectly mingled, and it's an absolute pleasure to watch as Maia slowly learns to find his place in this glittering new world. Cannot recommend this strongly enough.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?