Tag Archives: gottakeepreading

Middle-of-August update (including KITTEH)

So, in good and bad news…Spock has gone to a new home! He’s with a local friend who was thinking of getting a cat anyway, and came over twice for playdates….he’s smitten, and it’s adorable.

We did go over Friday to help Spock settle in – of course the kitten didn’t give a single f***, because THERE WERE WIRES TO CHEW. And a Playstation to hide behind. And a sofa to climb. He was loving the new playground! So he’s settling in happily and I might have to go over occasionally to cat-sit, oh noes. I can’t really complain as I did have every evening and morning with him for a week, so I have had a lot of cute kitten time.

Frankie is exceedingly happy that the small squeaky thing has vacated his territory, and that his sleep can be undisturbed. He’s spent every morning since on my lap, which is adorable but mildly unhelpful. That said, it’s not as unhelpful as a kitten who keeps opening multiple tabs and searching for zzzzzzxcdsfsaa by walking across my keyboard, so I’ll take the larger fluff any day!

In other news, I’m off to Amsterdam for a week on Tuesday, visiting my sister and just generally chilling. I’m hoping to get some writing time as well, and I’ll try to do a couple of blog posts – but if you don’t hear from me, it’s because I’m strolling along a canal and staring at artwork (or more likely, eating pizza and reading).

Have a good and fluffy week, everyone!

 

A Basketful of Reviews

Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found, from feathered serpents in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics. Facing storms, shipwrecks, and warfare, she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.

This is the third in the series, and Isabella’s getting more confident in her role as a dragon-natural-historian, and in her knowledge. That said, she still manages to get into almost endless scrapes, usually involving dragons. This volume is a mix of tropical islands, castaways, family arguments and general chaos, and it’s almost as much fun as the first two! I admit it felt almost too brief, despite being the same length as the first two volumes – I would like to read her dispatches back at the time, as well as the memoirs in this book. But hey ho! A fun, amusing continuation of the series, and I’m definitely picking up the next one!

Children of the Shaman by Jessica Rydill

When their aunt is taken ill, thirteen-year old Annat and her brother are sent from their small coastal town to live with their unknown father. Like Annat, Yuda is a Shaman; a Wanderer with magical powers, able to enter other worlds. As Annat learns more about her powers, the children join their father on a remarkable train journey to the frozen north and find a land of mystery and intrigue, threatened by dark forces and beset by senseless murders that have halted construction of a new tunnel. But Annat’s doll, her only remembrance of her dead mother, may hold a dark secret – and when her brother Malchik is kidnapped, Annat and her father must travel onwards to find him before it is too late.

Between uncertain allies, shadowed enemies and hostile surroundings, it is only in the magical kingdom of La Souterraine that they can find answers – and it may be that only a Shaman can save the family and the Goddess.

A coming-of-age story mixed with fantasy, fairy-tale and adventure with an almost horror tinge; the world feels serious and deep, despite the story itself being a relatively easy read. Rydill’s storytelling is complex and nuanced; Annat is a brilliant narrator, and I love that every character is flawed and human. I admit I found I had to put this down quite frequently, as it’s not really a book I was able to read for long periods of time, but it’s worth reading. The second and third books in the trilogy will be out in 2017/2018.

A Season of Spells by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Sophie and Gray return to London, escorting the heiress of Alba to meet the British prince to whom she is betrothed. Sparks fail to fly between the pair and the marriage alliance is cast into further doubt when the men who tried to poison King Henry are discovered to have escaped from prison. Gray sets off to track the fugitives, while Sophie tries to spark a connection between the bride and groom by enlisting them in her scheme to reopen a long-shuttered women’s college at Oxford. Many may believe that educating women spells ruin, but in the decaying college library lies the key to protecting everything they hold dear-as well as a dark secret that could destroy it all.

I absolutely adore this series, and this third book rounds it off nicely! The only complaint I have about the story is that it does feel quite bitty; it was hard to follow all of the links, and the end does feel a little disconnected. But that’s a minor point – there’s Sophie causing trouble and Gray causing slightly less trouble, and Johanna and the princes being spiky and awkward and human…I love them. If you like Emma Newman or spells-n-sorcery or just awesome people-centred fiction with awesome politics and a wonderful world, read this series! The first one is The Midnight Queen, followed by Lady of Magick.

Discoverability Challenge: Randoms

Welp, I’m officially giving up. I started trying to read The Mists of Avalon, and I’m just failing…

However, I have started reading another stack of books. I’ve been picking up free and 99p books on the Kindle, so I’m going to do some reviews of those! That said, I’m feeling lazy, so these might be short…

The Graces by Laure Eve

YA, high-school plus magic, misfit who gets sucked into the whirl of the popular trio – but they have a secret of their own…I didn’t entirely get on with it, I admit; I got bored a third of the way through. Might be good if you get on with high school drama…

Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross

Magic and high school, but this time it’s a school for magic! This one’s got some bite; curses and drama. I did read this most of the way through…if you’re into Harry Potter it’s worth a try.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Now this one I did read all the way through! I’m not sure I’m going to pick up the next one, but it’s beautifully written. It’s a love story as well as a demon/angel mythos, finding a place in the world…I can see why the series is popular. Worth a read.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Another one that I liked a lot, and read all the way through! YA, mythology, a desert escape, rebellion, djinni and fighters, adventure and romance…I enjoyed the characters and the setting in this, and the writing tugs you along.

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

I think this is my favourite out of the pile. It’s not fantasy and doesn’t even have magic in it, but I loved it. It’s about a bookshop and a broken girl who gets less broken…it’s a romance, really, but it’s a sweet story. And it’s about books. And poetry. I like those.

Chasing Embers by James Bennett

Hmmm. I was warned that the first 70 pages or so are hard to get into, but after that, it grabs you…well, hmm. It hasn’t yet, and I’m struggling to get into it. It’s action-packed and nicely mythological, yes, but…I can’t put my finger on what the problem is. Sounds like I’m not the only one, anyway, and I’m probably going to persevere – possibly by doing my favourite trick of turning to a random page and continuing from there!

And still on my list…Skip by Perrin Briar, Free Wrench by Joseph R Lallo and Show Stopper by Hayley Barker.

Review: The Seven

The Seven by Peter Newman

Warning: spoilers if you haven’t read The Vagrant, The Malice or The Vagrant & The City.

Years have passed since the Vagrant journeyed to the Shining City, Vesper in arm and Gamma’s sword in hand.

Since then the world has changed. Vesper, following the footsteps of her father, journeyed to the breach and closed the tear between worlds, protecting the last of humanity, but also trapping the infernal horde and all those that fell to its corruptions: willing or otherwise.

In this new age it is Vesper who leads the charge towards unity and peace, with seemingly nothing standing between the world and a bright new future.

That is until eyes open.

And The Seven awaken.

So, straight off: it’s not as good as The Vagrant. The Malice wasn’t as good as The Vagrant. But…I think that’s mostly because this is now telling the story from several points of view (well, two usually) and the Vagrant was a very simple and straightforward one. That said, this is still an excellent story, and definitely worth picking up if you read the first two (and do read the first two, and then the short story) and liked them.

We get to see a lot of the faces from The Vagrant and The Malice, more of Vesper, more of Reela, more of the goat (or a goat, a kid in this case), and some new figures…the Seven. And as antagonists go, they’re pretty damn good. They’re not good, not evil, and I loved the splits and weaves of the personalities. They’ve all got their own agendas which sometimes align, and sometimes don’t. I love the part that Reela plays with Delta, and while I felt The Vagrant didn’t entirely get the status he’s had in previous books, it was awesome to see him back in action.

And the ending…I wasn’t hooked until about 2/3 of the way through, and then I didn’t put it down. The ending is fabulous.

So. While The Vagrant is my must must must read, The Malice and The Seven are excellent second and third books, and The Seven certainly rounds off the trilogy nicely. The world’s chaotic, broken, weird, unusual, strange and enthralling, and the characters are equally wonderful. Read all three and marvel.