What I read on my June vacation

I’ve just come home from a week and a half road trip to visit my family. My husband, children and I spent a week in Florida and then three days in Tennessee. This enabled me to see my mom and her husband, my sister and her family and my aunt and uncle, which 100% of my immediate family. (My in-laws visit us in just under two weeks. So by the end of the summer I’ll have seen everyone.)

As you can imagine, it was was a busy ten days. But there was quite a bit of driving involved, so my Kindle got a good workout and I accomplished a decent bit of reading. I managed internet access once and went ahead and wrote several reviews. They were for the books I’d read on the fourteen hour drive from Missouri to Florida and then in the first half of the week there. They were: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, The Library, the Witch and The Warder, Uncommon Grounds, and Revenge of the BloodslingerFeel free to check them out.

After that one crack at a computer, I didn’t get to update the blog at all. Rural Tennessee is beautiful, but it’s not great for speedy internet service. In the time away from modern technology I read Marine Biology, Thornfruit, Knight of Ocean Avenue and The Moonling Prince. Plus one that I didn’t finish (no one should ever write in first person present tense).

Rather than go through and write another four review posts, I thought I’d go ahead and review the four I haven’t yet done all in one go. Though I don’t plan to make them particularly detailed.

My husband jokes that I have ‘waitress brain,’ meaning I can remember a million details about something for a short amount of time. For example, when I waited tables during university, I could take the order of an eight-top (including substitutions) and never write anything down. But if you asked me two seconds after I put the order in what they wanted, I couldn’t tell you. I only remembered for as long as I needed to.

I’m a bit the same for books. I remember all the details until I write the review and then poof, they’re gone. And if I don’t write a review right away, they fade. We’re in the fading now. Sorry, but that’s just the reality of reading books back to back and THEN trying to review them.

Be that as it may, I do want to review them. So, here we go.


Marine Biology, by G. L. Carriger

This was cute and fluffy. Very much in line with the rest of the series. I just love Carriger’s sense of humor. Being a novella, it’s short of depth though.

 

 

 

 


Thornfruit, by Felicia Davin

I recall really liking the characters, the world and the storyline. But also feeling like a lot of things happened too conveniently and not enough really wrapped up by the end. Having said that, I really wanted to know more. I’ll be looking for the next book. Plus, I love the cover. So pretty.

 

 


Knight of Ocean Avenue, by Tara Lain

This one was another one designed to be cute and fluffy, and it was. But I  had a lot of problems with the presentation. One of the characters is effeminate and he’s called girly several times. Which might be alright if girly wasn’t synonymous with bad in the context used. Similarly, Billy, who is just discovering he’s gay, keeps saying how much better men are (in sex). As a woman, I have no problem with him preferring men, but I don’t know why it has to be phrased as men being better all around. Lastly, problems were repeatedly presented and then miraculously solved, such that the happily ever after felt too easy. So, it was just so-so for me.


The Moonling Prince, by Wendy Rathbone

Meh. Not bad all around, but not much to it either. I liked both of the characters, though I thought Arulu’s character inconsistent. Not to mention he spent 20 years in debilitating pain and seemed to have no resulting mental trauma. Additionally, I really would have liked to see the relationship develop more. The writing was pretty though.

 

 


So, there you go, four more books read and off my kindle. I’m halfway through another one that I started on the drive home, this afternoon. But I’ll give it it’s own post when the time comes.

Review of Revenge of the Bloodslinger (Jubal Van Zandt #1), by Eden Hudson

I won an e- copy of Eden Hudson‘s Revenge of the Bloodslinger.

Description from Goodreads:
Narcissist, sociopath, and shameless backstabber Jubal Van Zandt is the best damn thief in the history of the Revived Earth…and he won’t shut up about it.

But not everybody in the swampy, soggy, feudal future approves of Jubal’s vocation. The Guild—the religious fanatics who helped rebuild civilization after the collapse—in particular are waiting for their opportunity to slip the noose around his neck.

Which is why when the renowned Guild knight Carina Xiao—a.k.a. the Bloodslinger—contacts Jubal about an off-the-books job that violates Guild Law, he’s too intrigued to say no. He is the best damn thief in the history of the Revived Earth, after all.

Half bizarro ecopunk, half outworld thriller, half odd-couple roadtrip, Jubal Van Zandt & the Revenge of the Bloodslinger is a 150% futurepunk quest for blood and betrayal across the Revived Earth.

Review:
I enjoyed this a lot more than the cover suggested I would. Both the main character and his client, Carina, are serious anti-heroes. And while she has her faith, they are otherwise both sarcastic, irreverent and capable in their own fields. There is a lot to enjoy here. Not least of which is the interesting histories of both characters.

Plus, it’s never even suggested that Jubal might be neuro-atypical (by which I mean autistic in some manner) and maybe the author never meant him to be, just a narcissistic sociopath. But there were just so many small example of his behavior that made me think he must be—racing thoughts, occasional overwhelming need for movement, minor self-harm when confronted with emotions, a general lack of empathy or normal emotions, insomnia, germ phobia, food issues, inexactitude in measuring the passage of time, strict categorization of people, etc. I appreciated finding this in a character.

My main complaints are that it went overboard on occasion, ends very abruptly and I didn’t at all like the ending. I see what the author is doing with it, but it soured the book for me a bit. Be that as it may, I’d still read another one.

Review of Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1), by Kelly Jensen

I bought a copy of Uncommon Ground, by Kelly Jensen.

Description from Goodreads:

Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.

Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.

But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?

Review:

This was first and foremost cute, I mean really cute. Lang and Dillon were adorable. It’s worth a read just for that. And it is very readable. Kelly Jensen can sling a phrase.

Uncommon Ground is part of the Memories With the Breakfast Club series, which is the first Kindle World about gay men. And, though I’ve not read any of the other books, twice gay couples showed up that I suspect were characters from other books. So, for those following the series, I imagine that’ll be a treat.

For all it’s cute and part of a first, it’s also a little too rushed for me. The two meet and end up in bed immediately. Which would be fine if it was just sex, but it’s insta-love, insta-trust and insta-life partner. Similarly, an important plot point hinges on an unexpected arrival who is never developed into a real character and someone essentially throwing a tantrum. This allows for skipping any more complicated solution and deeper exploration of the themes of space exploration, loneliness, loyalties, loss, love, alienation, and identity, all of which the book touches on.

All in all, the book takes what could be a deep, meaningful read and instead presents a light, fluffy romance, which is well worth the time it takes to read. One isn’t necessarily worth more than the other, but it helps to know what you’re in for.