The Whisper Man by Alex North ☆☆☆

wmThe Whisper Man by Alex North ☆☆☆

I’m not entirely sure how to talk about this book without giving too much away of the plot. I’m going to do my best, though.

Twenty years ago, a man was arrested for killing 5 boys. He lured them out of their homes by whispering to them outside their bedroom windows at night. They called him the Whisper Man.

Tom Kennedy and his son Jake have just moved into their new house (a super freaking creepy house, why would you choose to live in a super freaking scary house???), ready to start their new, safe life. Ha ha, not really. Jake starts hearing someone whispering outside his window.

That’s basically all I knew going into this book. I knew about them moving to town, and I knew about the man whispering outside the window. There was a LOT more to this story than that, though. I was expecting a lot more of a creepy atmosphere than I got, which I why I have rated it only 3 stars. Don’t get me wrong – 3 stars is still a good book. Very solid, a worthy read. It just didn’t blow my socks off.

The story edged on being creepy, but never quite fell over that line for me. There were a few choice lines that stood out to me as being more on the unnerving side, especially that last section. But I was looking for more spooky elements, and while this book tried to be that it just did not connect with me like I wanted.

This whole review is super vague and I’m sorry for that. I would love to be more specific about just how the book tried to be spooky and how it failed, but that would ruin a majority of the reveals in the book. This book is all about the reveals – North wove a ton of misdirecting information and little “gotcha” moments into the plot. None of the reveals are particularly groundbreaking – they were just enough to make me go “huh, okay, didn’t see that coming.”

Overall, I enjoyed the story but was kinda underwhelmed by the “thriller” aspect of the book. It was a solid story but didn’t make me feel things.

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We Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister ☆☆☆

wmidWe Met in Dreams by Rowan McAllister ☆☆☆

We’re continuing on with the spooky books! This time it is a spooky romance, which is something I did not know existed until recently.

Arthur has been kept isolated from everyone, locked in his bedroom since he was a child. He suffered a fever after his parents died when he was 10 that left him seeing horrors and terrifying visions. One night, a man climbs into his room to burgle him, but Arthur is convinced that this is just another hallucination. Fox feels sorry for Arthur once he realizes how distressed he is, and spends the night talking to him about his life. Fox continues to come back every couple days just to spend time talking to Arthur, but what kind of friendship (or…more) could they have if Arthur is caged in his bedroom day in and day out, drugged to the gills with laudanum?

The atmosphere of this story is super creepy, and the visions that Arthur experiences are pretty gruesome. I loved how it keeps you guessing – are these torments real or just a figment of Arthur’s tortured mind?

The relationship between Arthur and Fox is very sweet, and based on a pretty strong friendship that they cultivate over several long nights. The only qualm I have is that the ending is more of a “happy for now” rather than a “happily ever after.” Some pretty convoluted stuff happens toward the end that made the ending less believable and it wasn’t tied up in as nice of a bow as most romances are.

I really enjoyed this one – it was a quick read and kept me guessing most of the way through. I’m really interested to know if there are any more psychological suspense/horror romances out there.

 

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir ☆☆☆☆

gnGideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir ☆☆☆☆

I literally just finished this book, so I apologize if this is a little all over the place. (Who am I kidding, my reviews are always all over the place – it’s practically my brand at this point.)

I’m going to make an effort not to just vomit my fresh feelings all over this post, and inject some coherence into my thoughts.

To give you an idea of what this book is about, here is the Goodreads summary:

Gideon the Ninth is the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton.

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

Right off the bat, you know this book is going to be bananas. I pre-ordered this book back in February because the blurb + the cover just sucked me right on in. I’m very glad I did – the first edition hardcover has black sprayed edges that just completes that goth Esthetique™.

Some pros:

  • The worldbuilding is phenomenal. The dark, dank, creepy world that Muir built in this book just drags you in and kicks you around. She did not shy away from the gruesome here. It is made clear from the get-go that this world is brutal and unfair, and it just keeps rolling into darker and darker territory as it goes.
  • Despite its dreariness, there is a dry humor (and a lot of bad puns) that keep it from bogging the story down. Without that lightness, the story would have been far too stodgy and lifeless. I mightily enjoyed the bad jokes, and a couple of them got an actual, out-loud snort from me.
  • This book was also very emotional. It is told in close third person, focused on Gideon herself. She has very mixed feelings about her life in the Ninth House and later as Harrow’s cavalier. I thought Muir did an excellent job in conveying a deep well of emotion but not making it overpowering.
  • To complement the emotional aspect, the characters spend the novel growing as people. Many times with these wacky, zany type novels there is a lack of development that undermines the story. In Gideon, the characters grow together and develop into better and stronger people as they go through these trials. I very much enjoyed seeing Gideon and Harrow’s relationship evolve.
  • The ending was something that I did not see coming. At all. I spent most of the book confused and trying to untangle exactly what was going on. It wasn’t until the last 30 pages or so that the whole picture was revealed and I could clearly see what was happening. The ending was devastating but also the perfect way to end the story. I love when an author can break my heart but make it worth the heartache at the same time.
  • Finally, the storyline itself wraps up, but the ending is left open for a sequel. So, there is a “cliffhanger” in this book, but not one that makes me want to tear my hair out waiting for book 2 in June 2020. I much prefer it this way – there might be nothing worse than a dangling cliffhanger and then a long wait between books.

Now for a couple cons. There weren’t many, and they were kind of borderline pros on their own, but there were a couple things that irked me.

  • The names. All of them except Gideon’s were so complicated. It’s that fantasy thing where it takes so much longer to read it because your brain just keeps tripping over how to pronounce them throughout the whole book. My brain hates trying to pronounce Nonagesimus and Noniusvianus. The way the names are constructed is amazing and unique, but jaysus it slowed me down.
  • I spent a lot of the book very confused, as I mentioned before, and it took a lot more brain power than I was expecting to get through it. From the blurb, I was expecting something a bit lighter and breezier, but the worldbuilding bogged me down quite a bit. The first half took me a week to get into, but once I had gotten through to the second half I finished it almost all in one go. I loved the worldbuilding here, but it did take me longer than I expected to get into this book the way I wanted to.

That’s basically all of my feelings about Gideon the Ninth. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am super excited for Harrow the Ninth next June. If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think down below!

September Wrap Up + Space Opera September Readathon Wrap Up

monthly wrapup

I read a lot in September, lord help us all. *deep breath*

September was a very scifi-heavy month for me, with Space Opera September taking up a lot of my focus. Here’s a quick rundown of what I read this month, starting with the books I read for Space Opera September.

swsThe Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey: this was my choice for a book that was written before I was born. I kind of enjoyed it, but the writing made it feel very dated and McCaffrey skipped a lot of the relationship elements between Helva and both of her brawns that would have made me more invested in their story. So much of the story hinges on her grief after her first brawn dies, but a lot of their connection happens off the page so it just doesn’t feel genuine. rsd

On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard: this was my choice for space opera novella. I found the worldbuilding very interesting and I really want to read more about the Xuya universe, but I was not very invested in the characters themselves. I did find the concept of an omnipresent AI controlling the environment of the space station very intriguing and the consequences of the breakdown of that AI were fascinating to watch and think about.

mdMirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold: this was one of my picks for a space opera written by a woman (the challenge was to read 2). I’m reading all of the Vorkosigan saga in order, and the first 5 or 6 were 4 and 5 stars for me, then I got into a streak of 3 star books, which was a little disheartening. But then I got to Mirror Dance and I loved it so much. Mark was an interesting character when he was introduced in Komarr, but Mirror Dance really made him shine. I loved watching him figure out who he wanted to be, and I loved watching him come into himself. The things that happen to him in this book — it was very hard to read. Even though most of his torture happens mostly off-screen, the glimpses we get are chilling. This book made me excited to continue on in this series.

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik: this was my second pick for a space opera by a woman. prAfter I finished On a Red Station, Drifting, I wanted to continue reading for Space Opera September but I was craving a romance. Then I remembered that I owned a space opera romance and I was off to the races. I got super excited, and this book was exactly what I wanted. It had the space opera tropes that I love mixed with the romance tropes that I love (THERE WAS ONLY ONE BED). I got very invested in the characters, which is one of my favorite things about a good romance – make me feel emotions! I want to feel emotions! I am so psyched for the sequel, which came out on the first of October. GIVE IT TO ME.

ardArdulum: First Don by J S Fields: I chose this one for the challenge to read a space opera written by a diverse author and featuring diverse characters. The author is nonbinary and in this book they have created a nonbinary alien race, as well as included 2 societies that have 3 genders. (I’m also pretty sure the sequels will have a wlw romance but I might be wrong – that’s just the vibe I got from book one.) This book follows a character named Neek who is from the planet Neek, where everyone is named Neek (this just tickled me to death, I don’t know why), and they have a religion based around a travelling planet called Ardulum that visited their planet 200 years ago and taught the Neek how better agricultural practices and kind of propelled them into a more modern society. The Ardulans are basically their gods, but then they left and never came back. Neek has been outcast because she does not believe the Ardulans were real and she hates that the whole of Neek society has been arrested and refuses to progress because they are waiting for the Ardulans to come back. Anyway, Neek is on a crew that accidentally acquires an Ardulan child and hoo boy it does not go well for anyone. I got very wrapped up in the worldbuilding in this book, and I really want to know where the story is going.

That was a lot – maybe I just should have written a full review post on this book. Whoops.

gc

Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair: this is the last book I read for Space Opera September. It fulfilled the 500+ page challenge, and it was another space opera romance (my new obsession – if you have any recs for me LET ME KNOW). Hahahaaaaaa I’ve bought all of the Linnea Sinclair books I could find so far. This story follows Sass and Branden, who have been rivals of sorts for the last 12 years, and Sass is brought to work under Branden because he has been secretly in love with her the entire time and he wants to keep her close (a little creepy, dude). He is a biocybe, which is a kind of human-android hybrid, and he is not supposed to have emotions and if his creators find out he will – at best – be reprogrammed (at worst – destroyed). That’s the romance aspect of this. There is also a huge space opera-y plot with evil aliens that feed off negative emotions and secret government factions that want to take over using those evil aliens. It was a Ride, y’all.

Other books I read this month include:

wwartWe Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ: I thought this might fit in with Space Opera September, but it all takes place on a planet even though it starts with a group of people who are stranded on a deserted planet after they were somehow ejected from. This book starts out weird and then gets weirder, but it does wrestle with a lot of feminist issues and toxic masculinity. It made me think, which was nice, but then it devolved into a starvation-induced fever dream and it lost me.

ltbl

Let There Be Light by R. Cooper: this was a short mlm romance set in 1872. The hero is like a Victorian head black ops agent that is assigned to protect an eccentric scientist that he has secretly loved for years. It’s a forced proximity second chance romance, which was a fun read but the ending dangled a little too much. Like, the danger was not wrapped up at all, but the relationship was wrapped up okay? It was just a strange place to end the book, but the introduction from R. Cooper at the beginning does make it clear that this was a rerelease of an early story.

memMemory by Lois McMaster Bujold: if Mirror Dance made me love Mark, Memory made me love Simon Illyan and Lady Alice Vorpatril, and it renewed my love for Miles and Gregor (and IVAN, how could I forget IVAN). In this book, Miles has to face the consequences of hiding his seizures from everyone, and when he causes a major accident he is discharged from ImpSec. We see a Miles who is cut off from his persona as Admiral Naismith and who has been shoved back into the underdeveloped life of Lord Vorkosigan. On top of that, something is wrong with Illyan and there is a mystery afoot to find out who done the thing. It’s a mystery – can’t give too much away. But the main thrust of the book for me was watching Miles and Illyan cope with their changed circumstances and how they dealt with being forced into the unknown.

gn

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: I’m not going to talk too much about this one here, mainly because I want to write a full review on this book for October – spoiler alert, October is all about the ~spooky~ books on this blog! So look out for that. I will say that I love Gideon and how stubborn she is. Harrow got on my nerves quite a bit, but that might be because she got on Gideon’s nerves and this book is close 3rd person following Gideon. The spooky atmosphere is strong in this book, and the cover matched with the sprayed black edges just add to that.

ccThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling): I read this for the mystery/thriller book club, and it was a pretty decent mystery novel. We’ve got a PI who has seen some shit in his life who recently broke up with his on-again-off-again fiance, and he is hired to investigate the apparent suicide of his childhood best friend’s adopted sister, who was a famous model. I enjoyed following Cormoran Strike as he pieced everything together, and I super enjoyed his assistant Robin as a character – hopefully she gets more involved as the series goes on (there are 3, right?). I was not expecting the killer to be who it was, and I love that I can think back through the book and catch the little hints that led us there. unex

Unexpected by Kelly Rimmer: I already wrote a review on this one that came out last week, but I thought this was a very solid, dependable romance. It involves 2 people who have been best friends for 30 years as they stumble into being more. I found the heroine to be a bit annoying the first half, but only because she was so freaking stubborn I wanted to shake her.

komarrKomarr by Lois McMaster Bujold: In this installment, we follow Miles to the planet Komarr as he and another imperial auditor investigate the destruction of a solar mirror that is crucial to the continuing terraforming project on that planet. This is Miles at his finest – he is given a complicated, politically-charged mystery to solve. We are also introduced to Ekaterin Vorsoisson, who Miles becomes very taken with and (in true Miles fashion) falls in love with over the course of, like, 2 weeks. She’s tall, she’s smart, and she doesn’t let him bulldoze over her, which is exactly the kind of woman he has been attracted to in the past (Elena, Ellie, Taura, Rowan…literally all the women he’s liked). And just look at that awful cover – Baen really lived up (or down) to its reputation on this one.

Just a quick P.S. on this – I fully plan to do a series wrap up once I am done with all of the Vorkosigan novels. I hope y’all aren’t tired of hearing me talk about this series, because I fully plan to squee out a post or two about them all in the future!

That’s basically everything I finished in September. I started a couple other books, but didn’t get to finish – I’m currently reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch for my SFF book club. I have to finish that one by Sunday, so I better hop to it.

What did you all read this month?

 

5 ~Spooky~ Reads for October

Tomorrow begins the (official) spooky season, even though we ALL KNOW all the spooky stuff starts getting put out in stores in, like, July now. It’s time to pull out all your pumpkin spice-scented candles, your overlarge throw blankets, and your fluffy socks. It’s time to settle in with a creepy book and scare the pants of ourselves!desc

The first book I want to recommend to you is The Descent by Jeff Long. I read this book when I was in high school and remains one of my favorite horror novels even now. I reread it a couple years ago when I bought the sequel, Deeper (where’s the third one, Jeff Long??). In The Descent, some cave divers discover that there are some tunnels that run under the mountains that are all connected, and hell is a real place under the surface of the earth. The tension that Long manages to build gave me serious chills and I was very invested in the lives of the characters. Highly, highly recommended.

elemAnother great, chilling read would be The Elementals by Michael McDowell. I really related to it because it is one of the few books that takes place where I live, and it lent a realness to it that gave me the creeps more often than not. The story follows a family that is going on vacation to the beach house that has been in their family for generations. It is difficult to get to because when the tide is in, the whole stretch of beach is cut off from the main part. There is another beach house next door to the one they are staying in that also belonged to the family, but it long ago started being swallowed up by the beach and there is something very wrong about the house. I love spooky house stories, and this one is definitely worth it.

Speaking of spooky houses, another book you should read is I Remember You by Yrsa irySigurdardottir. This is an Icelandic murder mystery with a haunted house element that absolutely knocked my socks off. I am not kidding when I tell you that this book spooked me the eff out. The mystery is very nicely done, but the scary elements are what really elevated this book for me. The mystery (actually 2 mysteries) has to do with missing children, who could have taken them and why. It all ties in to this abandoned island off the coast of Iceland, the former inhabitants of one house in particular, and an extremely haunted cellar. No joke, this book was freaking amazing.

bsI personally do not have any children, and after reading The Bad Seed by William March, I’m not particularly bothered to acquire any. This book was written in 1954 and follows the story of a mother who is left alone with her precocious 8-year-old daughter when her husband goes out of town. The longer she spends alone with her daughter, the more she starts to realize something is very wrong with her. The deep dive into the psychology of a child psychopath is super chilling and there is a reason this is a classic in “creepy children” literature. I kinda want to watch the movie version, but I was creeped out enough by the book that I think maybe I shouldn’t if I ever want to sleep again.

The last book I want to recommend to you is The Broken Girls by Simone St. James. It is abg split narrative, covering one murder mystery in modern day and another in the 1950s. Both mysteries revolve around a boarding school for troubled girls, which has a resident ghost named Mary Hand that torments the residents. Have you noticed that I have a fondness for mysteries that just so happen to have a haunted element to it? I really enjoyed how the two mysteries wrapped up and how they complemented each other. I don’t want to give too much away, because a lot of the impact of this book comes from the mysteries unraveling in front of you.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any suggestions of books you think would spook me out? Let me know, and happy October!

Unexpected by Kelly Rimmer ☆☆☆

unexUnexpected by Kelly Rimmer ☆☆☆

Not my favorite contemporary romance of the year, but still a pretty solid one. Abby and Marcus have known each other basically since birth. They grew up next door to one another, went to college together, and now live together in NYC. They have never been interested in each other romantically, at least not until Marcus made some crack at New Year’s about not seeing Abby in “that way” and she kissed the daylights out of him. They’ve both tried to get over the feelings this stirs in them, but Abby gets some bad news – her egg production is going down and she might not be able to have a baby if she waits too much longer to try.

Abby first goes to Marcus’ twin brother Luca, but he declines to donate his sperm to the cause, and when Marcus finds out he offers to be her donor. Uh, that is, her “donor” wink wink nudge nudge. Oh, they almost try it the other way first, but the fertility clinic wants them to go through therapy and tests and mediation and all kinds of things that take time – time Abby is afraid she doesn’t have. So, they decide their friendship is strong enough to try it the old fashioned way. But once they start having sex, they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. Who woulda guessed?

Answer: literally everyone except them.

I spent the majority of the first half of this book trying not to roll my eyes at Abby and I was starting to feel really bad about it. She has a very risk-averse personality and avoids anything and everything that could be awkward. She hates any kind of change and refuses to see that there is something between herself and Marcus for about 80% of this book. Marcus is more in touch with his feelings and comes to believe they can make it work a lot faster than Abby does. I spent the majority of the book wishing I could reach into the pages and just SHAKE some sense into Abby. Finally one of her friends basically does it, and once the romance is acknowledged by both parties, the story becomes very sweet.

I picked this up on a whim because it was the only book on the new books shelf at my local indie that I hadn’t heard of. The cover is very awkward-looking, but the blurb on the back sounded like something I would like.

It definitely didn’t blow my mind, but I would say this is a very solid, dependable romance novel. And sometimes you just need a solid, dependable romance novel.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold ☆☆☆☆

chalionThe Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold ☆☆☆☆

Welcome to my new obsession, thanks for coming. Would you like some snacks, a drink?

This was the book that started my Lois McMaster Bujold marathon. It was the first book we chose for my IRL Scifi/Fantasy book club – we used a random number generator to choose a year, then went to the Hugo winners from that year to pick a book. The second book in this series was the winner of the Best Novel category in 2004, so we chose to read the first in the series. All of this is to say, I cam across Bujold by sheer chance and it has colored the rest of my life since then. I’m 12 books deep into the Vorkosigan saga, and I’ve bought all the books Bujold has released (except the novellas – I’ll get those eventually).

But back to The Curse of Chalion! Bujold is one of the only authors I’ve read who is exceptional at writing both Scifi and Fantasy, complete with intricately-drawn worldbuilding. It took me a minute to figure out how to keep the different royalty straight, and this first book does not have a map, but once I looked up the map and charted out which royal was which, I was sucked into the story.

We are following Lupe dy Cazaril as he is walking back to his former home. He used to be a nobleman, but through some pretty gnarly strategical maneuvering found himself a galley slave. He escaped after being nearly whipped to death, and is making a slow trek home to beg a menial job of his former liege. To his surprise, he is given the job of tutor and personal secretary of the sister of the heir to Chalion, the Royesse (Princess) Iselle.

By the request of the Roya (equivalent to king) of Chalion, Iselle and her household (mainly Cazaril and her BFF Beatriz) travel to the capital along with her brother Teidez. Cazaril comes face-to-face with the man who betrayed him into slavery, and it becomes clear that there is something very wrong with the Roya.

A big part of the worldbuilding in the book revolves around the Five Gods – The Mother (winter), the Father (fall), the Son (summer), the Daughter (spring), and the Bastard (a kind of devil figure but not). Each of the Five Gods have religious orders and acolytes, and they have chosen saints who can identify each other by their bright auras. I found this aspect of the book fascinating and loved how it was woven into the political and social structure.

No joke, Bujold weaves the most engaging plot, full of political maneuvers and dicey social situations that the characters have to carefully navigate. The amount of torment she puts Cazaril though in this book is hard to read at times, but the payoff is worth it in the end. There is also a very sweet and tentative romance between 2 couples, which I won’t spoil for you because it was delightful to watch unfold.

All in all, this is a very strong adult fantasy novel that deals with some pretty deep themes. If you want a book to really dig into, this is definitely a perfect choice.

🚀🚀Space Opera September: Update 🚀🚀

Good morning, I hope your week went well!

We’re 3 weeks into the month, so I want to give you all an update on where I am in my Space Opera September TBR. I deviated from my original TBR a little, but really I’m not surprised. I’m 100% a mood reader and it’s almost guaranteed that I will not read what I say I will.

The first challenge was to read a space opera novella, which I completed by reading On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard. I thought the world she created was really interesting, but the story itself was only good. I would be interested in reading more in the series just to get a bigger glimpse into the wider Xuya universe.

The second challenge was to read 2 space operas written by women, with the optional challenge or reading a space opera by a diverse author featuring a diverse protagonist and/or major characters. I chose to take this as reading 3 separate books, so I read Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik and Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold as the two women, and then I read Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields, who is nonbinary and has created an entire race of nonbinary aliens. As you know from my post this past Monday, I loved Polaris Rising and you can probably guess how I felt about Mirror Dance (I loved it, it’s one of the best Bujold I have read, it made me feel lots of feelings). Ardulum was a very interesting first book in a series, and I can’t believe this series hasn’t been more widely read. I might write a full review later on because I have a lot of thoughts.

For the third challenge, I was supposed to read a space opera written before I was born. So, pre-1988. I read The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey, and it was only okay. I liked the concept of people-as-ships, but the writing style dated the book. It reads like a lot of books written in the early 20th century. I find it hard to quantify exactly what makes the writing to dated. The word choice and phrasing, even the punctuation of books written pre-1970-1980 feel off to me. Maybe one day I will be able to pinpoint exactly what feels so different about these older books, but for right now I just lack the understanding and vocabulary to fully articulate it.

The fourth challenge is the one I have yet to complete. It is to read a space opera 500+ pages long. I mean, technically I already have – Mirror Dance is over 500 pages long, but I want each challenge to have it’s own book. I don’t know why – I just want to do it this way. I have started reading Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command, which is another space opera romance (between a lady captain and a cyborg admiral, aw yiss). I am really enjoying it, but have had to put it aside for other things, mainly because Gideon the Ninth showed up at my door and I was to read it nownownow, but also because I have book club on Sunday and should probably maybe perhaps read that book first.

Once I’ve finished the Sinclair, that will complete all the challenges for Space Opera September! I have really enjoyed participating and have been loving seeing all the books people have been reading in the Goodreads group. I hadn’t realized how many amazing space operas, especially by women, there are out there to discover. I hope to continue finding more and more to read over the next several months.

Let me know in the comments how you’re coming along in this readathon!

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik ☆☆☆☆

prPolaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik ☆☆☆☆

Excuse my brief squee, but this book made me feel things and I loved it so much.

I chose this book as one of my selections for Space Opera September (challenge 2: read 2 space operas by women) and I was so not disappointed. In fact, I might have a new favorite genre (hellooo, space opera romance! Where have you been all my life??)

We are following the Lady Ava von Hasenberg, who has been on the run from her family for the last three years. She left because she was being betrothed to the son of one of the other High families and he is a complete douchecanoe. She’s spent the last couple years bouncing from different mercenary crews, but her father has put a bounty on her head. She’s caught and thrown into a cell with the most infamous outlaw in the galaxy (and he’s very very attractive, natch). She makes a deal with said handsome outlaw and they escape together, but then things go sideways.

I loved the universe that Mihalik has created here. The whole concept of the High families and how they influence the world around them – it had both a fantastical royalty vibe and a mobster family vibe. I became very invested in Ava and Loch’s relationship, and also in the side characters that surrounded them. I’m very interested in the next book. Ava’s sister Bianca is an interesting character, and I need to know Ian’s deal. I need to know.

And I will find out on October 1 when Aurora Blazing comes out, which is still too far away. Polaris Rising was very nearly a perfect novel for me. I highly, highly recommend this book.

 

Weekend Reads 9/13-9/15

weekendreads

Happy Friday! I have to work tomorrow, but I hope all of you have a great weekend. Here’s some of what I will be reading.

gn

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsin Muir finally came out this week and my preorder came in late Wednesday afternoon! I’ve put aside the book I was reading just because I’ve been looking forward to it since early this year.

gc

Once I finish Gideon, I will go back to reading Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair, which is the last book I need to read for Space Opera September (yes, I’m almost done with the prompts for this readathon, I’m very proud of myself). It’s a very interesting space opera romance that follows 2 couples and deals with some pretty gnarly political machinations.

cc

Next Sunday I have Mystery/Thriller book club, so I really need to start reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. I’m not super enthused about the choice this month, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the James Patterson book we read a couple weeks ago.

mem

I’m halfway done listening to Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold – are we surprised I’m reading another Bujold book? I’ve been reading her books in order since like May. I think I might just start back at the beginning when I run out of books that she’s written. I don’t know what I would do without my daily dose of Miles Vorkosigan and his crazy family.

What are y’all looking forward to reading this weekend? Let me know!