Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, #1)The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a lot of ways, this is a near-perfect arrow shot going through the hearts of all the very best penny dreadfuls, from Frankenstein to Doctor Moreau. Add all the delightful references to Dracula, Van Helsing, Hyde, (and even Lamarck!), and we've got ourselves a great mish-mash of fantasy, SF, and horror classics in one delightfully female-heavy tale that invites the heavyweight services of Sherlock in for the ride.

It really is charming. For the first half, I was entirely on board like I was watching Penny Dreadful or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or reading A Night in the Lonesome October. :) That kind of thing.

But while I still enjoyed the meta-writing banter between some of the main female characters, the over-plot got kinda ...tedious... near the end. Not bad, mind you, and in fact, the whole novel was a real charmer for how it drew in so many well-beloved classics, but I've never had a soft spot for the whole Moreau line.

Maybe it's because I know too much about science to really be able to love quite that much handwavium. Most of the time I can move on just fine. If I started quibbling about science in SF I might never get beyond a handful of books. :)

BUT that doesn't detract all that much from the story. It's solid, creative, and a real nostalgia-fest.

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and EssaysPeter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays by Peter Watts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Strangely enough, this angry sentient tumor has a big thing about using Peer-Reviewed articles in his essays. That's great! I think it is really funny when he uses lesser-known articles to debunk the whole methodology of psychology. Or when it's set against right-wing-religious nutters.

I read this mainly because it's Peter Watts. Period. He's smart, isn't afraid to burn bridges, and he has the whole Curmudgeon thing DOWN. Get off my lawn! But he also has a point. Many of them. And when it comes right down to it, I agree with most. Like keeping literature smart, not so dummied. Or keeping information free enough to counteract the really crazy things that can, even now, happen to say, the bird flu.

The rest of the essays were either homages to old pets, having a flesh-eater on his leg, or pretty cool summaries of stories we can't find but we should have read. :)

Other than that, and let's be honest, it reads like a series of spruced up blog posts with proper annotation and bibliographies. :) Fun, at least for me, but aside from the ideas within, it's nothing too serious.

The ideas are, of course. I think I need a drink after being reminded about how we've reaped the whirlwind. Humans really are the worst. :)

View all my reviews
The Prisoner of Limnos (Penric and Desdemona, #6)The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am kinda surprised by this novella. Penric's in love! LOOOVEEE. And he goes to great, adventuresome lengths to help his love.

You know, scaling the highest religious order castle, perform death-defying stunts, rust door locks, blow up seagulls, and dress up as a woman.

You know, the normal stuff that women ask of us men.

:) I had fun! So is this a romance? I do believe it is. The fantasy bits are cool, but they only serve the romance. :)

View all my reviews

Friday, September 13, 2019

Jade War (The Green Bone Saga, #2)Jade War by Fonda Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book continues the modern equivalent of an Italian (mafia, old world, new world) and Japanese (isolated island with strategic resources) Urban Fantasy. It does it in wonderful style.

Where the first one felt very Godfather with magical Jade stones that can only be used by certain bloodlines except when a special drug is involved, this one picks up the pieces of the clan warfare and scatters them into the new world. Modern warfare takes on a particularly economic cast. Gaining contacts and building relationships off the island is much more important now. But that doesn't stop the hell from breaking out at home, of course. And this book is a bit more unpredictable than the first.

That's a good thing! I loved the characters and truly enjoyed every aspect of this tale. I feel quite invested. I feel Green. The tragedies and the injustices and the loneliness, the isolation, the joys... these are all brilliantly displayed. I'm not only invested in the clans and these characters, but I'm totally on board with the worldbuilding. The familiarities have grown into something much stronger. More enduring.

I can easily recommend this for any of you mafia junkies, you UF fans, and anyone who dies for great characters. :)

View all my reviews

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy, #4)Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm probably gonna piss off a few folks out there when I say I like this new storyline with new characters BETTER than the previous books in the series.

*gasp* *shock* *smoldering hate* :)

But it's true! Maybe I like (ahem) playboy (ahem) Alessandro better than Rogan and I enjoy the basic concept of Catalina, not to mention her self-discovery and growth as a character, MORE than Nevada. I just like having a theoretically more powerful Catalina offsetting the relationship. She's pretty bright. Careful. And while she does have a few weaknesses when it comes to this pretty boy, she's damn devoted to House Baylor.

I had a lot of fun and the magic spices it just right. :) The cooking scenes smoldered very nicely. As a romance, it's very formula, but I didn't care. A book rises on its character appeal. Some things really peeled. :)

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)Jade City by Fonda Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm reviewing this purely from enjoyment. I had fun.

Every character was strong and very familiar to me since I've been a life-long fan of The Godfather. Yep. SO MUCH of the story seems to be a slight twist on the classic tale, but never far from that grand feel. I loved seeing the story twisted with SilkPunk, the addition of magic-granting Jade that enhances particular families' inherent abilities, be it strength, hardiness, speed, etc, and having the plot twisted further with an addictive drug that lets normal people do the same with the magical Jade as the ones who were born to it.

Simple setup, but a pure mafia-story mixed with superhero abilities... and pure fun for all that.

I was never once bored. :)

View all my reviews
Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins, #1)Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank goodness. A classic children's tale that doesn't suck. :)

Please, please be cross!

Well, in with the wind and out with the change, I say, and there's nothing more delightful than a rather hard-hitting charm-blaster like this. Mary herself is such an insufferable vanity, but she has such heart, and kids will always know the good ones from the bad. They always do. And it has NOTHING at all to do with a spoonful of sugar.

Stuff and nonsense. That stuff is all for the birds.


The best part is... my girl loved it. :)

View all my reviews