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wandapedersen39

Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Once & Future (Once & Future #1)
Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy
Birds of Stone : Chinese Avian Fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs
Luis M. Chiappe
Progress: 77/304 pages
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Laini Taylor
Lord of Chaos
Robert Jordan
Progress: 288/1011 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 137 out of 342 pages.

Vurt - Jeff Noon

"Doorman at the Slithy Tove was a fat white rabbit.  He had a blood-flecked head protruding from beer-stained neck fur and a large pocket watch in his big white mittens."

 

OK, now I know that there's Lewis Carroll involved.  A reference to Jabberwocky plus a white rabbit like in Alice.

 

I'm not usually so entertained by cyberpunk lit, but I'm liking this one quite a lot.

TBR Thursday

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver Merrow - Ananda Braxton-Smith The Oyster Thief - Sonia Faruqi The Gap Into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises - Stephen R. Donaldson

 

Time is running out on me before my adventure in Southern France.  I've paused all of my holds and I'm working on finishing up what's already on my plate.

 

I'm currently working on Troubles by Farrell, Vurt by Jeff Noon, Honor Bound by Rachel Caine and Anne Aguirre, and The Dame Was Trouble, a collection of short stories.

 

So, I hope to read the books above, 2 as part of my MerMay project, one for my RL book club, and the Donaldson title (which is in interlibrary loan) for my Science Fiction & Fantasy project.

 

Now the big decision is which books to pack in the suitcase.  Plus I need to take a box back to the second hand bookstore, as well as selecting at least a box full to go to the Big Book Sale.  I plan to drop them off on Saturday and to shop the sale the following weekend.  I best update my current search list too.

 

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Reading progress update: I've read 60 out of 397 pages.

The Dame was Trouble - Gail Bowen, Sandra Ruttan, Susan MacGregor, Melodie Campbell, S.G. Wong, Darusha Wehm, Pat Flewwelling, Kelley Armstrong, M.H. Callway, R. M. Greenaway, Elle Wild, Hermine Robinson, Natalie Vacha, Alice Bienia, Meghan Victoria, Jayne Barnard

 

I've enjoyed the first two short stories in this volume.

 

I was at the book launch last August at the When Words Collide conference here in Calgary.  I wish I had purchased a copy then--I've borrowed the book from a coworker (who got it at a crime writers' conference) and I have to finish before I'm done work.

 

Shouldn't be too hard an assignment.

Reading progress update: I've read 87 out of 342 pages.

Vurt - Jeff Noon

 

 

This is totally Jeff Noon channelling both Lewis Carroll and Philip K. Dick.

 

It goes quickly....

For those who are also Ilona Andrews fans

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) -  Ilona Andrews

  You can read the first two chapters of this book online, on the authors' webpage.

 

Find Chapter 1 here:

 

Chapter 1 of Sapphire Flames

 

Find Chapter 2 here:

 

Chapter 2 of Sapphire Flames

 

 

I am dreadfully impatient for this to come out.  How the hell am I supposed to wait until late August, I ask you?

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 125 out of 459 pages.

Troubles - J.G. Farrell, John Banville

 

 

So, thankfully, this is better than I anticipated.  I have just over a week to get it read in time for book club.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 342 pages.

Vurt - Jeff Noon

 

Kind of like reading Jabberwocky!  If Philip K Dick had written it.

Vacation Wanderings

Weekday birding is the best!  Far fewer people out on the roads.  We had a gorgeous day last Wednesday.

 

American Avocets

 

American Avocet

 

Muskrat

 

Northern Shoveler drake

 

Pair of Cinnamon Teal

 

Yellow Headed Blackbird

 

Gray Partridge

 

Great Horned Owl on nest

 

Trumpeter Swans

 

American Coot

 

Handsome Ruddy Duck drake

 

Even a handsome guy gets itchy sometimes

 

Part of a herd of 15 White Tailed Deer

 

A lovely day in the fresh air and sunshine.  My companions and I have already made plans for regular outings after my retirement.  :)

 

Life is good.

Menu Monday

Better late than never, a picture of my Easter Cake:

 

 

A chocolate layer cake, stuck together with coffee flavoured whip cream and topped with Easter egg candies.

 

None of it came home with me.

 

 

The Mortal Word / Genevieve Cogman

The Mortal Word - Genevieve Cogman

Peace talks are always tricky, especially when a key diplomat gets stabbed. This rudely interrupts a top-secret summit between the warring dragons and Fae. As a neutral party, Librarian-spy Irene is summoned to investigate. She must head to a version of 1890s Paris, with her assistant Kai and her detective friend Vale, where these talks are fracturing. Here, she must get to the bottom of the attack – before either the peace negotiations or the city go up in flames.

Suspicions fly thick and fast and Irene soon finds herself in the seedy depths of the Parisian underworld. She’s on the trail of a notoriously warlike Fae, the Blood Countess. However, the evidence against the Countess is circumstantial. Could the killer be a member of the Library itself?

 

2019 Re-read

When life gets complicated, my reading needs simplify. Ms. Cogman’s Invisible Library series had seen me through a challenging week of no running water and cat care duties.

Ah, the dragon intrigue volume! This is where the rubber meets the road for Irene and Kai. Not to mention whether the Invisible Library will be able to maintain it’s neutrality. Plenty of mysterious happenings, complete with gangsters and over-head dragon duels. 

This is the “diplomacy is hard” volume too. As Irene notes at one point, “And there was another elephant in the room. There were so many elephants in the room that it was getting positively crowded.” 

Ms. Cogman, I will read as many of these adventures as you choose to write. I hope there are plans for several more, as this is too good a fantasy world for me to abandon it happily. 

The Lost Plot / Genevieve Cogman

The Lost Plot - Genevieve Cogman

In a 1930s-esque New York, Prohibition is in force, fedoras, flapper dresses and tommy guns are in fashion, and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon vs dragon contest. It seems a young librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him there could be serious political repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai find themselves trapped in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail and fiendish security systems. And if this doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences for Irene's job. And, incidentally, for her life . . .
 

 

2019 Re-read

When life gets complicated, my reading needs simplify. Ms. Cogman’sInvisible Library series had seen me through a challenging week of no running water and cat care duties.

Ah, the dragon intrigue volume! This is where the rubber meets the road for Irene and Kai. Not to mention whether the Invisible Library will be able to maintain it’s neutrality. Plenty of mysterious happenings, complete with gangsters and over-head dragon duels. 

This is the “diplomacy is hard” volume too. As Irene notes at one point, “And there was another elephant in the room. There were so many elephants in the room that it was getting positively crowded.” 

Ms. Cogman, I will read as many of these adventures as you choose to write. I hope there are plans for several more, as this is too good a fantasy world for me to abandon it happily. 

The Burning Page / Genevieve Cogman

The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman

Librarian spy Irene has professional standards to maintain. Standards that absolutely do not include making hasty, unplanned escapes through a burning besieged building. But when the gateway back to your headquarters dramatically malfunctions, one must improvise. And after fleeing a version of Revolutionary France astride a dragon (also known as her assistant, Kai), Irene soon discovers she's not the only one affected. Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across a multitude of worlds, creating general havoc. She and Kai are tasked with a mission to St Petersburg's Winter Palace, to retrieve a book which will help restore order.

However, such plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy - particularly when the enemy is the traitor Alberich. A nightmare figure bent on the Library's destruction, Alberich gives Irene a tainted 'join me or die' job offer. Meanwhile, Irene's old friend Vale has been damaged by exposure to Chaotic forces and she has no idea how to save him. When another figure from her past appears, begging for help, Irene has to take a good hard look at her priorities. And of course try to save the Library from absolute annihilation. Saving herself would be a bonus.

 

2019 Re-read

When life gets complicated, my reading needs simplify. Ms. Cogman’sInvisible Library series had seen me through a challenging week of no running water and cat care duties.

This is the book where Irene earns her Librarian stripes, confronting the traitor, Alberich, and emerging to tell the tale. I think Irene also voices the opinion of many book worms when she says the following:

“I have spent most of my life preferring books to people,’ Irene said sharply. ‘Just because I like a few specific people doesn’t change anything.”



Irene has found “her people” and is tremendously loyal to them. That’s how I’ve run my life, so I really identified with her.

Ms. Cogman, I will read as many of these adventures as you choose to write. I hope there are plans for several more, as this is too good a fantasy world for me to abandon it happily. 

The Masked City / Genevieve Cogman

The Masked City - Genevieve Cogman

Librarian-spy Irene is working undercover in an alternative London when her assistant Kai goes missing. She discovers he's been kidnapped by the fae faction and the repercussions could be fatal. Not just for Kai, but for whole worlds.

Kai's dragon heritage means he has powerful allies, but also powerful enemies in the form of the fae. With this act of aggression, the fae are determined to trigger a war between their people - and the forces of order and chaos themselves.

Irene's mission to save Kai and avert Armageddon will take her to a dark, alternate Venice where it's always Carnival. Here Irene will be forced to blackmail, fast talk, and fight. Or face death.

 

2019 Re-read

When life gets complicated, my reading needs simplify. Ms. Cogman’sInvisible Library series had seen me through a challenging week of no running water and cat care duties.

TMC is an excellent follow-up to TIL, where we get to know much more about the Fae in general and Lord Silver in particular. Needless to say, Irene is up to the challenge, teaming up with Vale to rescue Kai from a high-chaos world. We also learn about the awesome power of the royal Dragons and about Kai’s background. 

Cogman’s inventions of the Library tattoo and the Language are both stellar. It would be hard to overstate how much I loved these details as a library worker myself.

Ms. Cogman, I will read as many of these adventures as you choose to write. I hope there are plans for several more, as this is too good a fantasy world for me to abandon it happily. 

The Invisible Library / Genevieve Cogman

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.

 

2019 Re-read

When life gets complicated, my reading needs simplify. Ms. Cogman’sInvisible Library series had seen me through a challenging week. Our February here in Alberta was a bitterly cold one, and it has seen a lot of frozen water pipes as the frost went deeper than usual. Just before the Easter weekend, there was a water main break as the result of frozen, split pipes on the road just outside my building. Hauling water from a tank on the street to my apartment became a several-times-a-day requirement. However, my cousin was on vacation and I also had responsibility for her cat--what a relief to be able to decamp to her house, with hot and cold running water and a cuddly kitty.

Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the series all over again, maybe more this second time through. I love Irene, the librarian spy, and all of her friends and allies. Having read all the available books, I didn’t find this one quite so “busy” this time around. It helps to know where things are headed to see why all the complexity is required.

Ms. Cogman, I will read as many of these adventures as you choose to write. I hope there are plans for several more, as this is too good a fantasy world for me to abandon it happily. 

Monstrous Beauty / Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty - Elizabeth Fama

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

 

Once again, a good grounding in Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is an excellent idea for getting the most out of this tale. But I’m sure you can enjoy it even if you’ve never encountered the fairy tale.

In this one, the mermaid gets both her legs and her man, but her life becomes entwined with the Plymouth Colony population in ways that she would never have dreamed. It falls to Hester Goodwin, a young woman working as a Plymouth reenactor at a historic site, to figure out the various aspects of the story and set things straight. Hopefully, she will straighten out her own life during the process.

I love a story that involves genealogical research, so that predisposed me to like this one. I also enjoyed the switching between time periods, with Ezra and Sarah/Syrenka alternating with Hester. Sometimes that kind of alternation is confusing, but I felt this was well done. May I also say that I hope it is not nearly as easy to steal a Special Collections book as it is depicted in this tale.

Once again, I will say that if you are looking for a traditional HEA ending, this may not be the book for you. Quite in keeping with Andersen, really. The ending is definitely hopeful, so you can add your own imaginary HEA should you choose to--it is strongly hinted at. 

Part of my 2019 MerMay project.

Fear the Drowning Deep / Sarah Glenn Marsh

Fear the Drowning Deep - Sarah Glenn Marsh

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

 

Lots of details in this YA novel are just my thing--a young woman apprenticed to a “witch,” mysterious goings-on, an unusual young man washed up from the sea, plus a wonderful setting, the Isle of Man.

Of course, the witch is an odd elderly woman, despised by the town, but in reality a good friend for young Bridey. And Bridey is different from her neighbours too, so its a lesson about being different successfully.

It’s also about choosing for the future--at the book’s beginning, Bridey wants nothing more than to get as far away from the sea as she possibly can. It is a major act of bravery that takes her to the shore to rescue the young man whom she christens Finn. Will she choose her village or the world? Will she choose Finn over the young man who has been her friend since childhood? Can she figure out what is luring away & killing the people of the village?

This is not a traditional HEA ending, so if you require that, put this book back on the shelf. As it happens, I love an ambiguous ending, so this novel suited me down to the ground. Since I can’t swim and dread deep water, I also had that link with Bridey--I could really identify with her fears.

No merpeople in this one, but since Finn is a mysterious man from the sea, I am still including it as part of my 2019 MerMay project.