Category: Books

Book Talk: Open Mic Night at the End of the World

Posted October 20, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Open Mic Night at the End of the WorldOpen Mic Night at the End of the World by Jessica Meyers
Pages: 120

The end of the world was supposed to come with zombies attached, or maybe a flying meteor, but Dell finds that the reality is much less exciting—and infinitely lonelier.

In the wake of a virus that decimated the population, the place she calls home has turned into a ghost town. She hasn’t talked to anyone but her cat in weeks and finding an unopened bag of chips while looting the local grocery store is the only thrill she’s feeling.

There must be other survivors out there. But finding them means leaving behind her carefully organized stock of canned goods and burgeoning gnome collection.

Open Mic Night at the End of the World by Jessica Meyers is a post-apocalyptic novella that’s… unlike any post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve read. I think On the Edge of Gone comes closest in terms of feel and atmosphere and even then it’s actually nothing like that.

Disclaimer: I know the author from Twitter and was provided with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

CWs: mentions of death, mentions of suicidal ideation, brief scene of animal related violence: character interrupts fighting dogs and is bitten, runs away. Also descriptions of anxiety.

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Book Talk: A Courtship of Dragons

Posted October 17, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: A Courtship of DragonsA Courtship of Dragons by Becca Lusher
Series: Dragonlands #1.5
Pages: 193

Friends and lovers have always come easily to Estenarven kin Boulderforce, until Mastekh. For the first time in over three hundred years, Estenarven has found a dragon that matters. Now all he has to do is convince him.

Mastekh kin Rainstorm doesn’t expect much from life; he mostly wants to be left alone. Until Estenarven leaves a gift on his pillow. For the first time someone is paying attention to Mastekh, but can this shy, downtrodden dragon ever learn to trust another – and himself – enough to give in to life, joy... and maybe even love?

Warning! This M/M romantic side-adventure contains a watery dragon with no confidence and a stone-stubborn Boulderforce with confidence enough for two. May also contain an interfering Starshine, a slightly perplexed Blazeborn and kissing. Enjoy!

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

A Courtship of Dragons was, once upon a time, intended to be a short romance novelette set between Becca Lusher’s Blazing Dawn and Storm Rising. It follows the courtship of Khennik’s two aides: Estenarven and Mastekh.

Standard Frienship Bias disclaimer applies: Becca is a very good friend and I may be biased.

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Book Talk: Not Even Close

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

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Not Even Close by Lisa Oliver

Dear Author,
I turned thirty this year and I have yet to have my first kiss, much less a relationship with someone. I have yet to find someone that I connect with enough to be that open. I hear terms like gray-sexual and demi-sexual thrown around and figure I’ll just be alone. No one wants to take the time to get to know me; they just want to hop right in bed.

Photo Description:
A black and white photograph just showing two men, who look very similar, their mouths almost joined as they come in for a kiss.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love is an Open Road" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

Not Even Close by Lisa Oliver was brought to my attention… ages ago as being an m/m romance with a demisexual protagonist. Obviously that had my interest immediately. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend it to anyone.

TW: amisia, homomisia, slutshaming, implications that abuse is part of a health relationship, sexual coercion

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Book Talk: Fourth World

Posted October 10, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Fourth WorldFourth World by Lyssa Chiavari
Series: Iamos #1
Pages: 336

Life on Mars isn't all it's cracked up to be when you're Isaak Contreras. Ever since his dad disappeared two years ago, Isaak's been struggling to keep up in school, and he never seems to be able to live up to his mom's high expectations. But everything changes when he finds an ancient coin among his missing father's possessions. The coin makes him a target of both the Martian colonial government and a crazed scientist with a vendetta—and it leads him to a girl from another time named Nadin, who believes that Isaak might just hold the key to saving both their worlds. That is, if they can survive long enough to use it...

Also by this author: Seven Years among Dragons, Cheerleaders from Planet X

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally gotten around to reading Fourth World by Lyssa Chiavari. Fourth World has been on my radar for, gosh, I don’t know how long as featuring not one but TWO asexual spectrum protagonists in a YA scifi novel, and one of them is demisexual.

Yeah, I don’t know how it took me ages to pick it up either. But pick it up I did and now I am here to natter about it! Let’s get to it! After some content warnings.

CW: Ablist language, aromisic language, acemisic language (called out), racism (called out), non-consensual kissing.

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Book Talk: The Trouble

Posted September 15, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The TroubleThe Trouble by Daria Defore
Pages: 186

Danny Kim is the frontman of a Seattle indie rock band. He's also struggling to graduate from college. After rudely hitting on a cute guy at one of his concerts, he gets in even deeper trouble when the guy proves to be the TA of his accounting class.

Though Jiyoon clearly would prefer never to see Danny again, a rough breakup brings them unexpectedly together and a tentative friendship forms. But Danny can barely keep his band afloat and pass all his classes, nevermind learn how to make time for what is rapidly becoming the most important person in his life.

The Trouble is a contemporary m/m aromantic comedy and erotica. I picked it up because Claudie read it and liked it a lot. I’d never heard of it before, but Danny is aromantic and mentions this several times explicitly and I’m so here for that. Not only that but all the main characters are queer and the three most important characters are Korean-American.

It was a really fun read. Danny is just the right balance between a jerk and a sweetheart and his relationship with Jiyoon is delightful.

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Book Talk: Cheerleaders from Planet X

Posted September 8, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Cheerleaders from Planet XCheerleaders from Planet X by Lyssa Chiavari
Pages: 272

Aliens are among us. And humanity’s only hope just happens to carry pom-poms.

Laura Clark thought she was just your average college freshman—until the day she saw a cheerleader on a skateboard get into a superhuman brawl with a lightning-wielding stranger in a trenchcoat. And the weirdest thing of all? Nobody else saw it happen. Nobody, that is, except the beautiful but standoffish Shailene, one of the mysterious (and possibly super-powered) cheerleaders from Laura’s rival school, Bayview University.

When girls start disappearing all over the City, Laura suddenly realizes that she may have seen more than she should. And if she wants to keep from disappearing herself, she needs to find some answers. But though Laura can’t shake the feeling that they’re somehow connected, Shailene is more than a little reluctant to share her secrets. With strange, bug-like creatures and a sinister man in a dark coat stalking her every step, Laura will have to uncover the truth fast if she wants to survive.

The fate of the planet just might hang in the balance.

Also by this author: Seven Years among Dragons, Fourth World

Disclaimer: I received an eARC for review by the author and I’m acquainted with the author, seeing as how we’re both members of The Kraken Collective. I have done my best to present an honest and unbiased review.

CN: Homophobia.

After reading Seven Years among Dragons by Lyssa Chiavari, I was looking forward to reading more of her work and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed in the least. I picked up Cheerleaders from Planet X, Lyssa’s upcoming novel, expecting to just get a start and to read it over the course of a few days as time allowed. I may have read through the whole book in pretty much one sitting because that’s how much of a blast I had reading the story.

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Book Talk: Keeper of the Dawn

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

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Book Talk: Keeper of the DawnKeeper of the Dawn by Dianna Gunn
Pages: 208

Sometimes failure is just the beginning

All Lai has ever wanted is to become a priestess, like her mother and grandmother before her, in service to their beloved goddess. That’s before the unthinkable happens, and Lai fails the trials she has trained for her entire life. She makes the only choice she believes she can: she runs away.

From her isolated desert homeland, Lai rides north to the colder, stranger kingdom of Alanum—a land where magic, and female warriors, are not commonplace. Here, she hears tales about a mountain city of women guardians and steel forgers, worshiping goddesses who sound very similar to Lai's own.

Determined to learn more about these women, these Keepers of the Dawn, Lai travels onward to find their temple. She is determined to make up for her past failure, and will do whatever it takes to join their sacred order. Falling in love with another initiate was not part of the plan.

Keeper of the Dawn is a tale of new beginnings, second chances, and the endurance of hope.

I… am afraid I can’t really remember how Dianna Gunn’s Keeper of the Dawn came onto my radar first. I do remember seeing that a bunch of my friends weren’t that impressed with it when they read it, so I chose to let the details sink away from memory so I could more fairly assess the novella when I read it.

This will contain spoilers!

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Book Talk: Dreamhearth

Posted August 29, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: DreamhearthDreamhearth by M.C.A. Hogarth
Series: The Dreamhealers #3
Pages: 325

Jahir and Vasiht’h have earned their licenses as xenotherapists at last, and they have their hearts set on starting their practice in one of the Alliance’s most exciting and cosmopolitan destinations: a sector starbase. But dream therapy is a revolutionary treatment modality, and as esper practictioners they will have to work hard to win the trust of their community. Not only that, but they have a deadline: if they can’t prove themselves an asset to the starbase within six months, they’ll have to leave! It’ll take hard work, compassion, and a dollop of luck to navigate the pitfalls of this challenge… but surely two such extraordinary friends can find a way to claim their dream hearth.

Also in this series: Mindtouch, Mindline
Also by this author: The Aphorisms of Kherishdar, The Worth of a Shell, Pearl in the Void

Dreamhearth is the third book in the Dreamhealers series by M.C.A. Hogarth. You can, conceivably, read it without having read Mindtouch or Mindline, but I wouldn’t recommend it as you’d be missing out on delightful worldbuilding and character-building for the main characters: Vasiht’h and Jahir.

This book picks up some time after Mindline and follows Jahir and Vasiht’h as they start to establish their practice on Starbase Veta. It’s an even quieter novel than the first two books, so if you’re looking for low-key domestic science fiction, there’s a very good chance you’ll absolutely adore this.

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Book Talk: The Cybernetic Tea Shop

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

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Book Talk: The Cybernetic Tea ShopThe Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz
Pages: 65

Clara Gutierrez is a highly-skilled technician specializing in the popular 'Raise' AI companions. Her childhood in a migrant worker family has left her uncomfortable with lingering in any one place, so she sticks around just long enough to replenish her funds before she moves on, her only constant companion Joanie, a fierce, energetic Raise hummingbird.

Sal is a fully autonomous robot, the creation of which was declared illegal ages earlier due to ethical concerns. She is older than the law, however, at best out of place in society and at worst hated. Her old master is long dead, but she continues to run the tea shop her master had owned, lost in memories of the past, slowly breaking down, and aiming to fulfill her master's dream for the shop.

When Clara stops by Sal's shop for lunch, she doesn't expect to find a real robot there, let alone one who might need her help. But as they begin to spend time together and learn more about each other, they both start to wrestle with the concept of moving on...

I admit that, despite a friend really liking this story, I still approached it with trepidation. I trust my friend’s opinions, but this story does use the “ace = robot” trope and it’s how I approach the trope in general. I’m very glad to say that I really liked it. ^_^ Just, be aware, that depending on how strongly you feel about the trope, you might not like the story.

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Book Talk: Lambs Can Always Become Lions

Posted August 27, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Lambs Can Always Become LionsLambs Can Always Become Lions by Charlotte Anne Hamilton
Series: Until Lambs Become Lions #1
Pages: 142

Robin Hood, along with her group of friends, has been aiding the poor of Nottingham for four years. They have become an hindrance to the Sheriff of Nottingham, terrorising the rich lords and ladies and robbing gold right from under the Sheriff's nose.

Helping Robin from inside, and proving her most useful ally, is Lady Marian Fitzwalter.

After hearing about a special shipment coming through Sherwood - filled with gold, jewels and weapons - Marian agrees to help Robin gather information so she can ambush it. It is risky and dangerous on both sides but Marian would do anything for Robin. And Robin would do anything to feed her people.

But as the shipment draws closer and tensions rise, Robin finds herself having to decide which is more important: love or duty.

Lambs Can Always Become Lions by Charlotte Anne Hamilton is an f/f retelling of Robin Hood packed full of diversity and I wish, more than anything, that it had been a full-length novel.

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