melita66: (ghibli house)
Lois McMaster Bujold released a novella, a sequel of "Penric and the Demon", called "Penric and the Shaman". Penric is now past his training and has settled down into an interesting life with Desdemona (the demon). They are assigned to chase a Welce man accused of murder. The man is trying to find someone to help him while dealing with some magic gone bad and emotional trauma. I thought it was a little slow in the middle, and picked up near the end. Recommended if you liked "Penric and the Demon" (although I'd like to see more of Penric's training!)

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller also released the new e-chapbook, Sleeping with the Enemy, which contains two stories: "Chimera" and "Friend of a Friend". Both are set of Surebleak and fill in some side stories within the main sequence. Both are good, solid work--recommended.

I then went on a re-read spree of Kristine Smith's Jani Kilian series: Code of Conduct, Rules of Conflict, Law of Survival, Contact Imminent, and Endgame. Jani is a colony girl in a time when being of a Family is vastly important. Jani becomes one of the first enrollees at the idomeni Academy. One of the idomeni high religious leaders believes the only way forward for idomeni and humans is to blend via hybridization. After graduating, she's joins the military and is stationed there. A civil war breaks out among the idomeni. After the war, Jani ends up on the run from...everyone. The first book begins when she is tracked down after 20 years by a former lover--who's now in trouble and wants her tenacity and smarts. Of course, it's helpful that she's a fugitive and will have to depend on him to keep her safe.

Probably the only series where the main character is a forensic accountant.
melita66: (ship)
Have not read a bunch since the last post. I checked a sample of the novelization of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny but the writing style did NOT prompt me to buy the book. I also sampled C.E. Murphy's Magic & Manners but it's SO close to Pride and Prejudice (even the names, I mean really?) that I was bored, bored I tell you. I've seen comments that it diverges and picks up, but I'm just not that interested right now. I also sampled and bought Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys, but have bogged down about 1/3 to 1/5 in. I'll probably try to finish it, but there's several books coming out next week that'll likely delay me picking it back up again.

I did manage to finish Agent of the Crown by Melissa McShane. It was enjoyable but I didn't like it as much as the first book in the series. I also found that the pace slowed down for me between 1/3 and 3/4. Then everything fell apart and I found myself compulsively reading to finish it. I wouldn't read it without having read at least the first book, Servant of the Crown. A young princess was recruited to act as a spy. Her public persona is flittery, social darling, but she's actually a deviser (magic/inventor). Her current job sends her undercover as a deviser to a small town on the edge of the kingdom and right into several mysteries. All the books have significant romances in them.

I then read the electronic advance reader copy of Alliance of Equals, the latest Liaden novel from Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. This book focuses on Padi yos'Galan (Shan's daughter), Shan yos'Galan, Priscilla Mendoza y Delacroix, Hazenthull, with some visits to Daav yos'Phelium and Aelliana Caylon.

I also read The Marriage of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King. It's a short story (maybe longer) about her and Holmes actual marriage. It ends up taking place in his ancestral home's chapel--the problem is that the property is currently in the hands of estranged relatives. There's a sample from the new novel (out in early April) at the end.

I'm now sampling Simon Morden's The Petrovich Trilogy based on a review of book 4. Writing style seems a bit simplistic, but that may cure itself. Discussion of book 4 made me think of Samuil Petrovich as a Miles-gone-bad, so I'll likely buy it ($9.99 for the 3 books) and give it a serious go.

Next week, the new C.J. Cherryh book is out (Visitor), Martha Wells (already read in ARC form, Edge of Worlds) and The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King. Yea!!!
melita66: (ship)
Whew, it's been a while since I posted. I had a few dry periods, particularly over the holidays, but have been cracking along (relatively) since mid-January.

I was waiting for a few books to come out, and none of the new books sitting around were enticing so I ended up (re)reading a few Elizabeth Peters books in the Amelia Peabody-Emerson series. Both were later books, set after Ramses is an adult: Children of the Storm and The Golden One. I enjoyed the later books, after Ramses (Amelia's son) became an adult and had more control over his own destiny. These are set in and around WWI. This series can be an acquired taste. I liked the first book when I read it, somewhat of a pastiche on the old Haggard / romance novels, but Amelia, Emerson, et al. really grown on you, and I've wildly enjoyed almost all the books. I'll shall likely continue to acquire the ebooks and re-read the rest of the series this year. Oh, the Peabody-Emerson clan are British archaeologists in Egypt who end up tangling with a Master Criminal, tomb robbers, spies, and other nefarious characters.

It was definitely a short novel, but I managed somehow to finish Jo Walton's My Real Children over a weekend. It's the story of a woman relegated to an Alzheimer's unit who has confused days, and really confused days. So confusing that sometimes she remembers having 4 children and sometimes remembers having 3 children. The book tells both stories which led out of her having to answer 'yes' or 'no' to her boyfriend about whether she would marry him. Both stories had good and bad parts, so there's no answer as to which answer was correct. I found it very haunting and sad, and very difficult because I'd had a hard week, and it made for a hard weekend too. The ending though, wow. Also hard because my father lost his facilities before he died (as his mother did but hers was gradual and his more abrupt), and my maternal grandfather had also had problems before he died.

I definitely needed an upper after that, and settled on A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold. Miles Vorkosigan has fallen in love...he has a plan! I'm still not sure about the very visceral fight near the end (a bit too slapstick for my liking), but the Council of Counts scene, and of course, the dinner party earlier--priceless! Although someone could read this as their introduction to the Vorkosiverse, reading the rest of the series adds quite a bit to understanding the undercurrents and comments that occur in the book.

The eARC (electronic advanced reader's copy) of Dragon in Exile by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller was released either late in January or early in February. It continues from I Dare, Dragon Ship, and Necessity's Child. It opens a new five book series. Set mostly on Surebleak, it reveals that DoI is definitely still after Korval, and that there are likely other enemies of the clan heading to Surebleak to have their revenge, or to revel in Korval's downfall (as they think). Not a good place to start in the Korval Universe.

I then happened to see a reference that the Cormac and Amelia book was out, Low Midnight. This is a side book to the main Kitty Norville series, featuring Cormac, her husband's cousin, and his resident magician/wizard, Amelia. Cormac was convicted of manslaughter (I think) and has to spend several years in prison. While there, he's taken over by a ghost or spirit of a woman who had been convicted of murder and witchcraft a hundred years earlier. They combine forces to kill a supernatural creature, and Cormac agrees to Amelia's continued presence in his life. In this book, they take on a few mysteries trying to help Kitty and her battle against an ancient vampire who plans to take over the world. I like Cormac and Amelia a lot so was quite happy to read this book.

Meanwhile, the latest Order of the Air book, Wind Raker, by Melissa Scott and Jo Graham was released. Yeaaaa!!! These books deal with a set of aviators in Colorado, Gilchrist Aviation, a medium (she can see and talk to ghosts), and an archaeologist. They're also part of a lodge (magical). In this book, the archaeologist has been given a job on Oahu to prove that he can handle a dig. If it works, he'll be able to work on a dig in Alexandria, where they may have a lead to Alexander the Great's mausoleum. Why is it a problem? Jerry lost part of a leg in WWI, and it's the 1920s so getting around can be difficult. Meanwhile, Gilchrist Aviation is asked to test the new Catalina sea plane, also in Hawaii. At the same time, one of the aviators, Mitch and his wife (the medium), Stasi have custody of the three kids of a laborer/mechanic who left the kids and hasn't returned. Everyone ends up in Hawai'i, where they encounter Pelley again, a woman under a curse, and some early German shenanigans. Lots of fun.
melita66: (ship)
Mostly re-reads. After cheering about Kate Elliott's post on Martha Wells's The Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy (um, back in February), I finally decided to reread books 2 and 3, The Ships of Air and The Gate of Gods. Oh, I do love the Ile-Rien setting. If only the first book had sold better so we could have MORE!

Ile-Rien is set in a secondary world, where magic and Fae exist. The main capital is Vienne (like Paris or Vienna). In this trilogy, Ile-Rien's world has been under attack by the Gardier who have overrun a few neighboring countries and are now about to conquer Ile-Rien. Tremaine Valiarde, a young playwright and novelist, is caught up in an investigation and research started by her father and foster-uncle, Nicholas Valiarde and Arisilde Damal. Nicholas was a master criminal, and morphed into a government agent (sort of) as a young man. Arisilde Damal was an extremely talented sorcerer who had frittered a lot of it away as a drug user, but had recovered when Tremaine was young. They had been investing early incursions by the Gardier but had disappeared. Anyway, this is about trying to fight the Gardier and to discover what is driving them to war.

I think Wells is great at well-put together worlds--there's always a lot of scope for more stories--and great characters. I end up caring about the secondary and tertiary ones, not just the primary ones and can remember them easily. A commenter on the Elliott post called it competence porn, which I've seen before in relation to Wells's works. It is so nice to have characters who may make mistakes, but are rarely stupid, and really pull through (usually by their wits) when put to it. I would love to see Miles Vorkosigan and Nicholas Valiarde paired up, except Nicholas would probably murder Miles!

A new story, "Rites of Passage", was released a week or so ago. Wheeee!!!

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller also released a new short story on their Splintered Universe site, "Roving Gambler", about Pat Rin yos'Phelium's son, Quin.
melita66: (AK blue)
I had another trip, so I managed to read most of Fearsome Journeys, a collection of short stories edited by Jonathan Strahan on the plane. I don't read much short fiction, but wanted a book that could get thrashed and I wouldn't care. It also had several stories by authors that I really like (Kate Elliott, Ellen Kushner, Ysabeau Wilce). I then managed to score a great copy of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Mouse and Dragon and decided to reread it. The copy got mangled. Argh. M&D is the direct sequel to Scout's Progress. Aelliana Caylon has escaped her clan and is taking up with Daav yos'Phelium, as her co-pilot (he's a ex-Scout, pilot, and delm/head of his clan). Her clan exiles her half-brother who was torturing her, but now realizes that they want her and her spaceship back.

I also finished Razor's Edge, a Star Wars novel, by Martha Wells. The second half really picked up steam and I charged through it.

Currently reading Neil Peart's Ghost Rider. He's the drummer of the band, Rush, and begins when he starts off on an epic motorcycle journey. The journey is a reaction to the death of his daughter, then his wife within a year or so. He decides that he can't do anything else but to keep moving. The first several chapters detail his trip from near Quebec to upper Alaska, then down to Vancouver and over to Glacier National Park in Montana. It will continue with him traveling down into Central America.

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November 2016

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