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Book Review: Alien Abduction for Beginners, by Skye MacKinnon

I had a couple hours worth of mindless, repetitive type tasks ahead of me. So, I sought out a short audiobook to get me through. Which is how I ended up borrowing Alien Abduction for Beginners, by Skye MacKinnon through Hoopla.
alien abduction for beginners

Not all aliens are good at abducting humans.

Havel, Matar and Xil have failed too many times to count. Luckily, there’s help available for failed kidnappers: a diploma offered by the Intergalactic University. To complete their course, these three sexy aliens need to abduct a human female – and they’re graded on it.

The problem is, the human female has no intentions of being abducted, not even to help them get the universe’s most recognised abduction qualification.

my review

I picked this up knowing it was going to be a silly, sexy space romp and I was cool with that idea. I wasn’t looking for anything more.

But it pretty much fails. It has too much plot to be erotica and, frankly, not enough sex. But there isn’t enough plot to be called a romance, even an erotic romance. The comedy aspect is almost entirely of the cultural misunderstanding sort and falls much closer to stupid than endearing. And while I liked the males, I couldn’t really tell them apart most of the time.

Plus, I disliked Jake Bordeaux’s narration. It was stiff and gave me a vague sense that he was making fun of the story even as he narrated it. Bridget Bordeaux did a better job with the female characters. But much less of the book is from a female perspective. All in all, it got me through my chores, but that’s about it.

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Book Review: No Land For Heroes, by Cal Black

I accepted a review copy of No Land for Heroes, by Cal Black, through Reedsy.
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Mildred Berry is down to her last four bullets…

In a wild west where the only things more dangerous than outlaws are dragons, Deputy Berry is struggling to protect her town and keep her family fed. As a last resort, she robs a train for ammunition only to find that the cargo she needs so badly was owned by war hero Frederic Rousseau.

The same Frederic Rousseau whom she served during the Amelior Civil War. The same Frederic Rousseau she’s been hiding from for the last five years.

Millie knows a secret that could ruin Rousseau’s life, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her from telling the truth. With her violent past bearing down on the life she’s built for herself, Millie has to decide how far she’ll be willing to go to keep her town safe.

my review
I realize that it’s only May. So, it’s far too early to be choosing my favorite book of 2022. But, honestly, when the time comes I won’t be surprised if No Land for Heroes is on it. I loved this…and I’m saying that despite being someone who tends to be reserved in their praise. But I adored these characters…all of them.

Ok, yes, I disliked Gilbert in the beginning, before he shed some of his smarmy act. I felt sorry for the poor dragon, who was just following it’s instincts. And I was a little uncomfortable with the way this seemed to re-imagine the aftermath of the American Civil War, without ever acknowledging it as the source material, thereby sidestepping the issue of enslaved peoples. I wasn’t even sure if it the ‘secessionists’ were against freeing the victims of the African slave trade or if such peoples of color were entirely replaced by elves, orcs, and such in this re-imagined scenario. (Or if the war was about something else entirely, though I find this unlikely.) I suppose I could say the same about the way Millie’s heritage was very clearly using some Indigenous American stereotypes.

But I felt like there was a lot of diversity and positive representation in the rest of the book (and it’s outside my lane to truly make a judgement here) that I still greatly enjoyed the story.

I liked the way Black played with gender expectations. I laughed often. The plot rolls along at a good clip. The writing is snappy and fun to read. And the ‘found family’ is strong in this one. I whole-heartedly recommend this book and look forward to more.

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Book Review: Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher

I received a copy of T. Kingfisher‘s Nettle & Bone through Netgalley.

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This isn’t the kind of fairytale where the princess marries a prince.
It’s the one where she kills him.

Marra never wanted to be a hero.

As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate—and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince.

Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks:
—build a dog of bones
—sew a cloak of nettles
—capture moonlight in a jar

But, as is the way in tales of princes and witches, doing the impossible is only the beginning.

Hero or not—now joined by a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic gravewitch and her fowl familiar—Marra might finally have the courage to save her sister, and topple a throne.

my review

I am just going to have to accept that I am a standing T. Kingfisher fan. I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by them. I’ll admit that this isn’t my favorite of their books that I’ve read—I thought it a little slow at times and sometimes I wanted a deeper conversation about things than we were given—but I sure did enjoy the heck out of it.

So much about Marra—who I am convinced is neuron-divergent—is relatable. She’s practical as all get-out and is getting the job done, but she’s an angsty, insecure mess the whole time she’s doing it. Yeah, I felt that in my very bones.

The romance is super subtle and I adored it. All of the side characters are marvelous and there is just enough absurdity that happens. (I laughed often.) I am sad to be finished and look forward to my next T. Kingfisher book.

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Review: Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher + Giveaway

NETTLE & BONE – T. KINGFISHER