melita66: (raven)
Another big gap between posts!

I read a few more Elizabeth Peters books from the Amelia Peabody-Emerson series, all later ones. There are rumors of a final book but only a large print edition listing has shown up.

Based on a recommendation by Sherwood Smith, I read Melissa McShane's The Smoke-Scented Girl. Set in an alternative 19th century world complete with magic, Evon is a wunderkind, one of the strongest magicians for a generation. He's currently employed by a magic firm and provides custom solutions. His friend, Piercy, works for the government and manages to hire Evon. The goal is to locate a rogue magician that is immolating people scattered across the country. One purpose is just to stop the murders but the government (and Evon's regular employer) want the secret to the fire spell so that it can be used against an invading army. As Evon and Piercy investigate the murders, Evon realizes that it's a woman and that the spell may not be under her control. The "murders" are mostly of people who some might say deserve it--child molesters, murders, etc. Evon and Piercy finally do catch up with Kerensa who is under the control of a great spell. They now have to stay out of the hands of another magician's group, the government (to free Kerensa is not the govt's goal), and figure out the spell's connection to the invading army.

I enjoyed the book. The characters are well-drawn. I liked the fact that Evon kept thinking that he was close to a solution then finding out he'd been wrong and having to completely change his approach.

Joanna Glenn is a pseudonym of Jo Graham and Passion's Dance is an early book finally released. Because it's a historical romance, she's released it under the Glenn name. It's set in Paris in mid-19th century and is the story of a Paris Opera chorus dancer (Mirande) who gets involved with a destitute lord (Bernard) and treason! It's written early in her career and doesn't have the depth of Graham's later works (which are all recommended btw).

I then tore through the latest C.J. Cherryh novel, Tracker, set in her Atevi universe. It's about two years after Bren, Cajeiri, and Ilisidi returned to the atevi homeworld and helped Tabini (Cajeiri's father and Ilisidi's grandson) back into power. The refugees from Reunion station are mostly on hold in the orbital station and tensions are high. Bren finally agrees to help figure out a solution when the kyo, the aliens they met earlier, show up for a visit. So the original contact team--Bren, Cajeiri, and Ilisidi--have to head to the station. Meanwhile, both the station's chief and the "head" of the Reunion refugees are causing problems and must be taken care of...

Let me tell you--cliffhanger!! While the obstructing leaders are dealt with, and some other issues are handled, the kyo haven't even reached the station yet! Argh!!

Martha Wells then had a short story collection, Between Worlds published as part of a kickstarter campaign. There were two Ile-Rien stories, one about Kade and another with Reynard and Nicholas just before Nicholas meets Madeline. The latter story is new (yea!!). The other stories in the collection are about Ilias and Giliead in Cineth. Loads of fun revisting Ile-Rien and Cineth.

I then read a contemporary story by Moira J. Moore ("Resenting the Hero" series) called The CEO Can Drop Dead which she calls a "That's Not Romance Novel." A writer who takes temp jobs to help pay the bills ends up at a start-up organizing past emails to see whether a lawsuit against another company is possible. The founder/CEO, Lance, immediately starts targeting her first as a bully, then continuing to try to get her into bed. Catherine wants nothing to do with him and spends several weeks trying to avoid, mitigate, and just get out with her job done. A nice display of how a predator makes use of "oh, he's such a great guy" and getting aid from colleagues and underlings who think actions like his are "no big deal." Moore has promised a portion of her royalties to organizations that deals with survivors of abuse.
melita66: (ship)
I didn't get much reading done over the last month or so. Nothing really tickled my fancy. I finally decided to make a concentrated effort to finish Heroes' Reward by Moira J. Moore. This is the final book in her Heroes series which started with Resenting the Hero. I really enjoyed the first book in series and eagerly awaited the sequels. The series didn't perform that well, and the publisher went back and forth on publishing the latter entries. Ace did finally publish 6 novels in the series between 2006 and 2011.

Moore released the final book in 2012. The series is set on a lost colony world (the resident know that they were colonists). The world itself is tectonically and meteorologically active. People were born (possibly genegineered?) to be Sources or Shields. Sources can affect the disturbances while Shields can guard the minds of Sources while they're 'channeling' the forces.

Source Shintaro Karish and Shield Dunleavy Mallorough are paired up when they graduate from their respective Academies. Both are talented and not happy to find their matched up. Over time, they fall in love and discover that both have extraordinary talents.

Lee finds that she can 'cast' or perform spells. These abilities are outlawed, sort of, and casters keep well-hidden. Taro can heal and cause 'incidents' as well as stop them. Because Taro is also a member of the aristocracy, they get involved with the current Empress, political machinations among the landed gentry, uprisings, etc.

I was not that thrilled with the addition of the casting a few books ago, but I was still happy to see the threads tied up and everything ending as well as could be. Perhaps we'll see more of them in the future, but Moore has other books that she's been working on (one should be out soon).

I then read a trilogy by L. Shelby aka Michelle Bottorff, Across the Jade Sea. The three books are Serendipity's Tide, Treachery's Harbor, and Fealty's Shore. They're set in a modified Earth (geography is different, but there are "Tartars" northwest of a China/Japan analog). The technology level is late 19th/early 20th century. There are some undersea cables, telephones are just getting installed into private residences in the more technologically advanced countries, and guns and cars are available.

The first book is narrated by Batiya Latikov, an apprentice engineer on an ocean-going diesel ship. The ship rescues several Shanali (Changali) men from a shipwreck. It turns out that they were attacked by what appear to be pirates. After another attack that kills all but one of the Changali, Batiya and the survivor, Chunru, end up in one of the ship's boats.

Chunru is actually an imperial prince sent to re-open diplomatic and other ties with another country. Someone doesn't want that to happen. Because Batiya has been drawn into this mess, the two end up saving each other multiple times while trying to find somewhere safe.

It is a love story, but it's also a rip-roaring adventure, and Ms. Shelby and really move the story along. I really enjoyed these books and wish there were more set in this world. I'll definitely be getting Shelby's other books.

Note: They're available as ebooks only and self-published. Another round of copy-editing would have been useful as there are some it's rather than its, missing words, wrong words, etc. Not tons, but more than I usually see in a professionally published book. Normally, errors like these bug me, but the characters and story were too interesting.
melita66: (icebert)
I'm sorry that I have not been able to post at least once a week. Under external pressures, my reading went way down. I then traveled to Reno, Nevada to attend Renovation, this years' SF worldcon. To enable bringing lots of books to get signed, I drove--a total of 16.5 hours round-trip. Here's a list of the authors that I ended up getting signatures (to ME!) from:

Steven Gould
M.J. Locke (Laura Mixon)
Sharon Lee
Steve Miller
Martha Wells
Carrie Vaughn
John Scalzi
Jo Walton
Sharon Shinn
N.K. Jemisin
Lois McMaster Bujold

I'd taken some other books too, but scheduling and simply hauling books from the not-next-door hotel to the convention center got to be too much. I didn't buy anything in the dealer's room, but did support the 2013 San Antonio bid, which won. I also bought a supporting membership in the 2014 bid (to be voted upon next year) for London. I decided to go to Renovation relatively late so the next-door hotel was booked and I ended up in the Peppermill. It had rather overwrought ornamentation and tons of faux-Greco-Roman paintings on every wall.

Some friends drove in from the Bay area and took me to a buffet at the Silver Legacy downtown on Saturday. That was very nice and calming as I'd had a rather fraught day. I decided to bug out the following day (one day early). As it was, I missed a fire that closed part of my route on Monday.

I listened to audiobooks while driving. I don't otherwise and always listen to ones where I've already read the books. On the way up I listened to most of Laurie R. King's The God of the Hive in preparation for the release of Pirate King next month. On the way back, I listed to about half of Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold. Upon return, I finished Memory and am now about two-thirds through Civil Campaign. These are such fun and sometimes heart-stopping books. Memory is one of my favorite LMB books.

I did manage to finish Moira J. Moore's Heroes at Odds, the sixth book in the Lee and Taro series. This series is set on a colony world. The people know they came from elsewhere and that the early settlers had much more technology than they have currently. A bit like McCaffrey's Pern, hidden dangers made the colony backslide. In this case, the world has a great number of disasters--earthquakes, tsunamis, great storms, and so on. Somehow, it was discovered that certain people could channel or mitigate the disasters (sources) and that other people could protect the minds and bodies of the sources while they're channeling (shields). Lee is a shield who is bonded to Taro, a source. In this book, they are still stationed at his ancestral home which is now being run by a cousin. Taro's mother is causing problems, a neighbor is causing the cousin problems, there are manmade disasters (fires), and then Lee's mother and brothers arrive. It turns out that Lee's parents had signed a contract with another family for Lee to marry their son when both came of age. Technically, the contract should be void because Lee then became a shield, but the other family has fallen on hard times and wants the connection to Lee's family.

Meanwhile Lee is still investigating 'casting'--spells that take weird ingredients, chants, etc. although she's trying to investigate their use rationally.

I'm not sure that I like the addition of casting to the series. I thought there was enough going on with shield/source issues and political crises of the earlier books. Hopefully, Moore does have a goal in mind. Definitely not a good book to start with and most of the books have built upon the earlier ones. Definitely start with Resenting the Hero.

I also managed to read book 10 of Phil and Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius, Agatha H and the Guardian Muse. Good, funny steampunk although I felt that there was not much forward movement in this book. The Foglios won the Hugo award for best graphic novel again this year and immediately announced that they would not accept a nomination next year. Good for them!

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November 2016

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