Category: Books

Book Talk: Masquerade

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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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: 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

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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

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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

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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Book Talk: Code Talker

Posted May 16, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Code TalkerCode Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines in World War Two by Joseph Bruchac
Pages: 231

Throughout World War II, in the conflict fought against Japan, Navajo code talkers were a crucial part of the U.S. effort, sending messages back and forth in an unbreakable code that used their native language. They braved some of the heaviest fighting of the war, and with their code, they saved countless American lives. Yet their story remained classified for more than twenty years.
But now Joseph Bruchac brings their stories to life for young adults through the riveting fictional tale of Ned Begay, a sixteen-year-old Navajo boy who becomes a code talker. His grueling journey is eye-opening and inspiring. This deeply affecting novel honors all of those young men, like Ned, who dared to serve, and it honors the culture and language of the Navajo Indians.

Also by this author: Rose Eagle

Code Talker is almost more of a creative nonfiction book than it is a YA novel, which might help you going into it because it means you can adjust your expectations to what the book delivers on. Personally, I love learning about history this way, so the book and I were a terrific fit. It’s part of why I picked it up, actually, and I wasn’t disappointed.

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Book Talk: Island of Exiles

Posted May 12, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Island of ExilesIsland of Exiles by Erica Cameron
Series: Ryogan Chronicles #1
Pages: 400

In Khya’s world, every breath is a battle.

On the isolated desert island of Shiara, dying young is inevitable. The clan comes before self, and protecting her home means Khya is a warrior above all else.

But when following the clan and obeying their leaders could cost her brother his life, Khya's home becomes a deadly trap. The only person who can help is Tessen, her lifelong rival and the boy who challenges her at every turn. The council she hoped to join has betrayed her, and their secrets, hundreds of years deep, reach around a world she's never seen.

To save her brother’s life and her island home, her only choice is to trust Tessen, turn against her clan, and go on the run―a betrayal and a death sentence.

Island of Exiles marks the first time I was able to join in with the #AceBookClub, yay! It was a lot of fun to read, and if you’re looking for a fantasy story that’s immersive and different, this is a great place to start looking. ^_^

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Book Talk: The Hate U Give

Posted May 9, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Pages: 464

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Hate U Give has been one of the most anticipated YA novels of 2017. It’s taken me a little longer than I wanted to get to read it, but I have now and it’s glorious.

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Book Talk: Rift Riders

Posted May 5, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Rift RidersRift Riders by Becca Lusher
Series: Wingborn #2
Pages: 396

On a world cursed to be covered in clouds, protected by the elite Rift Riders who fly on the backs of giant eagle miryhls, Lady Mhysra Kilpapan and her friends are making history. Women are now firmly back within the Rider fold and the future looks bright.

But even though Mhysra and her Wingborn Cumulo have survived their first year as students, there’s more to becoming a Rift Rider than lessons and training. Especially when trouble is brewing in the Wrathlen and the kaz-naghkt are looking for revenge.

Return to the Overworld for the next exciting Wingborn adventure, where strength, loyalty, honour and friendship are about to tested to their limits – and beyond.

Also by this author: Orion's Kiss, Sing to Me, Unbound & Free

Rift Riders is the second book in Becca Lusher’s Wingborn series. She’s currently serialising book 3 on her blog, if you’re interested. It’s also very different from the first book. Whereas the first book was part faux!Regency fantasy of manners and part school fantasy, this book is straight up military fantasy.

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