Tag Archives: fantasy

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 The Library, the Witch, and the Warder (Washington Warders #1), by Mindy Klasky

I’m on vacation this week, so my posts might not be regular. But I read a book and a half on the way here and I have internet connection at the moment, so, I’m taking advantage of it and posting a quick review or two.

I won a copy of Mindy Klasky‘s The Library, The Witch, and the Warder (Washington Warders) (Volume 1) through LibraryThing.

Description from Goodreads:
Former warder David Montrose has a problem. Or two. Or three.

He’s been fired from his job protecting the witches of Washington DC. Now, he’s stuck working a dead-end job at Hecate’s Court while he tries to redeem his reputation and put his life back together.

Which would be a decent plan if things weren’t so…complicated. His new boss is a tyrant. His father says he’s disgraced the family name. And instead of sympathizing, his best friend is trying to drag him onto the front lines of an all-out supernatural war.

Just as David gets a glimpse of the elusive work-life-magic balance, he’s summoned back to warder status. His unexpected new charge is a captivating witch who possesses the strongest powers he’s ever seen. David already has enough on his plate. How can he possibly juggle work, warfare, and warding Jane Madison?

He’d better figure things out soon. Jane’s safety—and all of magical Washington—depends on him!

Review:
This was fluff, but enjoyable fluff. Don’t go in expecting anything heavy or substantial, but just float along for the ride. Klasky has a fun writing style and I found myself liking all the characters. Though I did find some of it cheesy and cliche (the black cat familiar named Neko, the pocket protector/smudged glasses/bad fashion sense/pudgy antagonist), though I think some of that might have been purposeful on Klasky’s part, playing with tropes.

This is labeled a cozy mystery, but with it’s magic element I think it’s a sort of urban fantasy, though not gritty enough to actually carry the title. For those looking for urban fantasy bordering on paranormal romance, look elsewhere. A warder and his witch is a platonic relationship, so no romance here (maybe later in the series going by the clues dropped, but not in this book). But I didn’t feel denied. I like the way things turned out.

Lastly, this is apparently the flip perspective of Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft. Meaning it’s the same story from the male lead’s perspective, while GGtW is from the female lead’s perspective. This is normally something I dislike. Who wants to read the same story twice? But in this case I can see how it might work. Jane’s situation is only a small part of what David has going on in this book. Honestly, if a quarter of the plot focuses on her I’d be surprised. So, there is plenty the reader doesn’t see of Jane. I actually have GGtW. I think I picked it up as a freebie. So, if I ever get around to reading it, I’ll update this review. But in the mean time I don’t think the two would feel too redundant and The Library, the Witch, and the Warder doesn’t make me want to avoid it.

Review of The Shape of Water, by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus

I borrowed a copy of Guillermo Del Toro and Daniel KrausThe Shape of Water from the library.

Description from Goodreads:
It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito—mute her whole life, orphaned as a child—is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions…and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Review:
I’m surprised at how much I enjoyed this. While I understand this was developed along-side the movie, not based on it, I usually find book from movies quite shallow. So, I wasn’t expecting much. Which means the depth and shades of grey in this book was a pleasant surprise. I loved the writing style and characters, especially Giles. Plus, how so many characters crossed paths without ever knowing it.

It wasn’t faultless. I found it’s message, while admirable, too bluntly relayed. It was a bit in your face. And Strickland’s mania went too far, much farther than needed anyhow. Having said that, as much as I detested him (of course I did), he was also one of my favorite characters. Favorite in the sense that there was the most to him. He was horrible, just a monster. But he was also profoundly broken and trying desperately to unfuck himself (but too dysfunctional to have any hope of succeeding or recognizing that fact). I’ve not seen the movie. But I wonder if they could have brought this to the screen without his internal monologues. Lastly, I thought the ending, while predictable, wrapped it all up a little too nicely. (Unless of course you read the whole thing to have been orchestrated by Deus Branquia in order to get from South America to New York to find Elisa, which after the last scenes I kind of do. That brings an element of sacrifice I appreciate. )