Category: Books

Book Talk: Good Angel

Posted August 19, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: Good AngelGood Angel by A.M. Blaushild
Series: Good Angel #1
Pages: 325

Iofiel is an ideal candidate to become a guardian angel, and help steer humans away from sin: she's helpful, cheery, and utterly loyal. And, as the 'angel of beauty', it's not like she has anything better to do.

Heaven and Hell long ago ran out of space: there's too many humans these days, so both have come to a shaky truce – one school sheltered in the forests of Canada, hidden from humanity, where their young can study.

All seems well for Iofiel's first days at university – her Archangel roommate is a bit uptight, and dealing with demons feels weird– but when a picked on demon confesses he's too nervous to pursue his true passion of soul stealing... Iofiel promises she'll major in it with him!

So much for being a proper angel. Her helpful impulse has repercussions that shake the school, and may just change the world forever. Or just end it.

Because that's a possibility too.

Disclaimer: I was hired to edit this novel. I’ll do my best to be unbiased.

Good Angel by A M Blaushild is about a newly created angel, Iofiel, who goes to what is, effectively, angel school to become a guardian. Except… Well, she befriends an imp, a creation of demons, more or less on her first day of school and she discovers that most angels? Aren’t perfect. They may not have free will the way humans do, but they all have personalities and very few are the shining sinfree examples that Iofiel pictures.

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Book Talk: The Loveless Princess

Posted August 2, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: The Loveless PrincessThe Loveless Princess by Lilian Bodley
Pages: 56

Princess Anette doesn't love her fiancé, Prince Everett, and despite constant assurances from everyone around her, knows she never will. It's not that he's terrible, it's simply that she doesn't love anyone, or want to be with anyone, the way the rest of the world says she should.

But princesses must marry princes. She's expected to have her proper happily ever after. So Annette tries her best to be happy in her new life—until she catches her husband with the stable boy, and in a moment of anger wishes Prince Everett would just disappear.

And then he does.

I don’t quite recall how The Loveless Princess came to my attention, but I know it came to my attention as an aroace fairytale-inspired novella. I, loving every aspect of that description just blurb unseen, was eager to pick it up and did so at the earliest opportunity. 😀

And… I have a lot of mixed feelings about this novella. Overall, I personally liked it okay, but I also think it has the potential to really, really hurt readers and needed at least one more round of developmental editing. 🙁

Warning: Aromisia, acemisia, homomisia, on-screen sexual assault, and mention of off-screen rape.

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Book Talk: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Posted July 18, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetThe Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Series: Wayfarers #1
Pages: 432

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful - exactly what Rosemary wants.

Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They'll earn enough money to live comfortably for years... if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.

But Rosemary isn't the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is… You know when you’re reading a book that everyone loves and you can see why they love it and yet, somehow, it just never clicked when you were reading? That’s what this book was like for me. T_T

I loved all the individual elements, but they never quite managed to mesh into a love of the whole and… if I’m totally honest with you, I don’t know why.

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Book Talk: But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon)

Posted June 28, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon)But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon) by RoAnna Sylver
Pages: 28

Words about love, loss, grief, PTSD, recovery, and jokes with no punchline.

Steps toward finding yourself and singing down the stars.

Also by this author: Chameleon Moon, Stake Sauce Arc 1

But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon) is RoAnna Sylver’s upcoming poetry collection. It’s a very short collection dealing with grief, PTSD, love and loss. Also jokes.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author and they are a friend. I have done my best to be unbiased in my review.

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Book Talk: Masquerade

Posted May 30, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: MasqueradeMasquerade by Laura Lam
Series: Micah Grey #3
Pages: 400

The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah's Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?

Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy's blessing - and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they've re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.

Also in this series: Pantomime, Shadowplay
Also by this author: Pantomime, Shadowplay

Masquerade is the third and final book in Laura Lam’s Micah Grey series. It picks up pretty much straight where book 2 left off, so I don’t recommend reading it as a stand-alone piece. The books are well-worth it, though, so if you haven’t read them before…

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Book Talk: Seven Years among Dragons

Posted May 28, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: Seven Years among DragonsSeven Years among Dragons by Lyssa Chiavari
Pages: 36

Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a fairytale… until the day she killed her mother.

Biancarosa grew up believing in her mother’s tales about the dragons of the Alpi, much to the chagrin of her practical father, the king of Stalia Nova. But when she learns of a plot to overthrow the neighboring kingdom of Elvezia, the dragons’ magic might be the only thing that can save her.

In this solarpunk fantasy retelling of Snow White, dragons dwell in the heart of the mountain, weaving magic and mining crystals with the power to fuel the world—and a princess leads her people in a war against a power-hungry technocracy. Originally published in the anthology WINGS OF RENEWAL.

Seven Years among Dragons is a short story retelling of Snow White. It’s very inventive and quite a lot of fun.

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Book Talk: Stake Sauce Arc 1

Posted May 26, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: Stake Sauce Arc 1Stake Sauce Arc 1 by RoAnna Sylver
Pages: 46

ACT 1, IN WHICH: A cute punk-rock vampire and a disabled firefighter-turned-mall-cop with a dark past join forces to battle the forces of evil.

* * *

Part 1 of 6. Future parts (2-6) will be released monthly to Patreon subscribers. Collected six-part arc releases October 2017.

* * *

Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.

But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.

It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.

His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.

Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.

Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)

Also by this author: Chameleon Moon, But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon)

Stake Sauce is an amazing story that’s currently being serialised on Patreon and will be available in full on October 31rd, 2017. As of this writing, arc 1 is available on Amazon and 2 is already available via Patreon as well as a plethora of other Patreon-exclusive goodies. So, first off, if you’re not into serialisations, you’ll want to hold off on this story for now and wait until October.

As I’m writing this, the first arc of the story has been made available via regular retailers. I think it’s a novella-length piece in its own right, though if you value plot happenings over personal interactions and personal stakes (er, no pun intended) then you’ll probably find the first arc on its own a little bare.

Further, in the interest of honestly: the description of the arc covers the whole story. The first arc does introduce Pixie and he does get a cameo, but this first arc is all about getting to know the world and getting to know Jude.

Which, you know, is my jam so it works great for me, but I realise it won’t work for everyone and some will find the description a little misleading. So just to address that first of all.

Let’s just go talk about the story! I’ve only got access to that first arc (T_T), so this will focus solely on that first arc of the story.

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Book Talk: The Traitor’s Tunnel

Posted May 25, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 10 Comments


ETA #2: After consideration, I’m leaving the below review as-is because it covers an issue that hurts me, but I want to add that Spivey has changed the genderneutral pronouns because the multilingual issue bothered him too and I can now squee and squeal about this book WITHOUT ANY RESERVATIONS WHATSOEVER. So expect me to rereview this later in 2017 to do so.

Book Talk: The Traitor’s TunnelThe Traitor's Tunnel by C.M. Spivey

Witch-blooded robber Bridget has made a reputation for herself in the capital city, but she's not interested in the attention of the Thieves' Guild--and she's not bothered by the rumors of urchin kidnappings, either. With winter coming, she's looking out for herself and no one else.

Until she picks the wrong pocket, and recognizes her estranged brother Teddy.

Young craftsman Theodor arrives in the capital ready to take the final step toward his dream career as Lord Engineer of Arido. His apprenticeship with a renowned city engineer comes with new rules and challenges, but it's worth it for the exposure to the Imperial Council.

While spying on her brother, Bridget overhears a secret meeting that reveals a cruel plot. After more than a decade apart, Theodor and Bridget must reunite to stop a traitor whose plan threatens not only their city, but the whole empire.

I received The Traitor’s Tunnel from the author who very generously made it available as an ARC. I did not receive this book in exchange for a review, but I wanted to give one anyway to thank Spivey for his generosity.

It is… I have an extremely mixed reaction to this story because of reasons relating to intersectionality between Germanic languages and gender and I find the author’s choice of pronouns harmful enough to diminish any personal enjoyment I had from the story as a whole and leave me feeling nothing but hurt. (Which is a shame because the story itself is really good.) ETA#1: The author’s said he’s considering changing the pronouns. :O <3 Which… I did not expect (and have slightly mixed feelings about because intersectionality), but then I can squee and squeal about this and related works freely. I’m going to leave this review as-is and do a new one when the story is going to be a bit fresher in my mind again to reflect that. ^_^

CN: detailed descriptions of anxiety and genderneutral use of gendered pronouns, also descriptions of kidnapping and violence.

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Book Talk: An Accident of Stars

Posted May 23, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: An Accident of StarsAn Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
Series: Manifold Worlds #1
Pages: 496

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.

There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex'Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.

Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.

Can one girl - an accidental worldwalker - really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

Oh, wow, this book. This… The best way to describe is “queer feminist portal fantasy”, which doesn’t really do justice to the way it takes tropes from older fantasy narratives and then queers them and turns them upside down. Its cast contains predominantly women and focuses strongly on female relationships of all kinds. If you’re looking for a book that centres female friendships or (positive!) female mentorship, this has that in spades.

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Book Talk: Chameleon Moon

Posted May 19, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments


Book Talk: Chameleon MoonChameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver
Series: Chameleon Moon #1
Pages: 438

The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire.

The entire population inside has been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to die - directly over the open flame. Eye in the Sky, a deadly and merciless police force ensures no one escapes. Ever. All that's keeping Parole alive is faith in the midst of horrors and death, trust in the face of desperation... and their fantastic, terrifying, and beautiful superhuman abilities.

Regan, silent, scaly stealth expert, is haunted by ten years of anxiety, trauma and terror, and he's finally reached his limit. His ability to disappear into thin air isn't enough: he needs an escape, and he'll do anything for a chance. Unluckily for him, Hans, a ghostly boy with a chilling smile, knows just the thing to get one. It starts with a little murder.

But instead of ending a man's life, Regan starts a new one of his own. He turns away from that twisted path, and runs into Evelyn, fearless force on stage and sonic-superheroic revolutionary on the streets. Now Regan has a choice - and a chance to not only escape from Parole, but unravel the mystery deep in its burning heart. And most of all, discover the truth about their own entwining pasts.

They join forces with Evelyn's family: the virtuosic but volatile Danae, who breathes life into machines, and her wife Rose, whose compassionate nature and power over healing vines and defensive thorns will both be vital to survive this nightmare. Then there's Zilch, a cool and level-headed person made of other dead people, and Finn, one of Parole's few remaining taxi drivers, who causes explosions whenever he feels anything but happy.

Separately they'd never survive, much less uncover the secret of Parole's eternally-burning fire. Together, they have a chance. Unfortunately, Hans isn't above playing dirty, lying, cheating, manipulating... and holding Regan's memories hostage until he gets his way.

Parole's a rough place to live. But they're not dead yet. If they can survive the imminent cataclysmic disaster, they might just stay that way...

Also by this author: Stake Sauce Arc 1, But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon)

It took me a very long time to get around to Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver, which is ridiculous, but there we are. I did finally get to reading it. WHOOHOO! And then partway through I started a livetweet of it because of course I did.

Anyway, this is not a livetweet. This is a book talk ramble. So… Let’s get to it!

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