Saturday, September 28, 2019

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

3.5 Stars

Book One - The Books of Ambha

This book was getting a lot of chatter in my romance circles and that's pretty much what it is, a fantasy with romantic overtones. 

I enjoyed my read.  It was a slow read.  The author writes beautifully; it's the type of book/writing that you want to linger over.  I didn't really find an urgency to the plot, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I liked the character of Mehr and I liked the character of Amun.  I enjoyed how their relationship grew and how they grew together and on their own.  Amun, the hero, is not your big warrior type, yeah, he's big and fit and strong, but it's his personality that is different.  He's gentle and patient and quietly heroic. 

This isn't a romance novel, but the relationship between Mehr and Amun takes up a large part of the plot because of their special powers.  Talk about a slow burn, though.  I don't mind that at all, but some might find it tedious. 

Anyway, I enjoyed my read and will read the next in the series.  This book pretty much wraps things up for these characters but there's more to tell about this world.  Should be good.  :)

Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O'Keefe

4.5 Stars

The Protectorate - Book One

Wow, wow, wow! 

There's not a lot I can say about this book without giving away all the delicious twists and turns, do you'll just have to believe me when I say what starts off as an interesting interstellar tale turns into a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions just shy of halfway through. 

I loved the characters.  Sanda is an excellent main character as is her brother Biran, I enjoyed getting to know both of them and I'm pretty sure there's more to learn in the future.  I seen this book called twisty, but let me tell you, it's UBER twisty and I was just hanging on for dear life.

One of the subplots seemed incredibly out of place and I had no idea how it fit in to the main story... and to be honest, I don't think I fully get it even now, but I'm ready to find out.  *LOL* 

Look, I enjoyed the hell out of this book and recommend it to anyone who likes space adventure.  There's a cliffhanger at the end, of course, the whole damned book is filled with them!  But that's okay!  And it's killing me that I don't know when the next book is coming out!!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

4 Stars

Maisie Dobbs - Book One

I came across these books one day a couple of years ago and pointed them out to my good friend, Lainey, who loves anything to do with the Great War.  She picked the first one up and went on to read the others and raved about them!  *LOL*  Finally, a few weeks ago, there was a sale and I managed to pick up this book and books 3 & 4. 

I'm glad to say that I quite enjoyed it!

Now there are a lot of words in this book.  The author likes words.  But that's not a problem because it translates the setting and feel of the book perfectly, I thought. The book is set in 1929, ten years after the end of the First World War, but the Great War permeates every nook and cranny of the story.

Maisie is a great character.  VERY competent and quite brilliant, she does have her faults though.  Just not too many of them.  *LOL*   I enjoyed traveling with her as she sought to unravel the mystery of The Retreat and as well, her trips back into her youth and time during the war.  I'd say a good third if not more of the book is taken up with what one would term her 'backstory', but it worked. 

In conclusion, I quite enjoyed my read, despite thinking at the outset that it just might be a very pedantic read - it wasn't at all. I actually fell a little in love with the characters and I'm looking forward to my next read in Maisie's world!

Death by Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold

4 Stars

Lynes & Mathey - Book One

I had been wanting to read this for a very long time and I'm happy to say that it did not disappoint!  It's a murder mystery set in an alternate steampunk magic London, seasoned with enough magic to make things very interesting.  Frankly, I loved the world-building.   

The two main characters, Ned Mathey and Julian Lynes have known each other since they were boys at school.  Their 'romance' is the secondary plot that twines a bit with the main mystery plot seeing as it's the father of one of their schoolboy 'enemies' who is the first murder victim.  I liked Ned and Julian a lot and I also liked the secondary characters that surround them, especially Ned's assistant, Miss Frost.  She is a surprising lady, that's for sure!  So, as I said, I liked them and was quite willing to follow them about as they solved the mystery and put some of their own ghosts of the past to rest.

I have the second book in my TBR and I will be reading it sooner than later and I hope that Melissa and Amy write more in this universe!

Friday, September 6, 2019

A Better Man by Louise Penny

4.5 Stars

Chief Inspector Gamache - Book Fifteen

The latest Louise Penny, one of the very few authors I will buy on day one, not waiting for a sale or anything.  I love these books, I love Armand Gamache and I love all the characters in the books and I haven't read a Gamache book I haven't adored yet.

And this one is no exception. 

As always, Louise manages to weave the questions of real life into the Inspector's search for answers to the latest crime..  I tried to read it slow and savour it, but you know, I couldn't  I started it late Saturday afternoon and finished it Sunday morning.  And I laughed and I cried and I marveled at what some might call the human condition that Louise sees and writes about so well. 

This time, I wasn't so sure about the guilty party up until quite near to the reveal.  That always makes me happy. :) 

All the beloved characters are back, feeling just like old friends.  This time, I felt like we spent a little more time with the gang from le Sureté than the bunch from Three Pines.  And that's not a slam, because I love le Sureté that Louise has created and could only wish that the real one was getting the same much needed cleaning up! 

Now it looks like we're going to love my beloved Jean-Guy and his family to Paris and I'm just heart-broken about it!  Jean-Guy is so much the Quebecois heart of the Gamache books and he's so familiar to me, I am going to miss him horribly!  Unless something happens to bring him home.  Nothing bad! No tragedy!  But he needs to be home and he needs to be at Armand's side somehow.  :)

Anyway, I loved the book just like I knew I would and I'm going to find it so hard to wait patiently until next year and the next Gamache tale!

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

4.5 Stars

GGK is one of my most favourite authors.  I love his writing! It's so beautiful and lyrical and all the while telling a great story with terrific characters.  Under Heaven is no exception.

Inspired by Chinese history, the Tang Dynasty, this is the story of a young man, Shen Tai, who, as the result of a two year sacrifice to honour his late father, is gifted with a most AMAZING gift of 250 Sardian horses.  These horses are like gold!  A gift beyond measure. A quote from the book - "You give a man one of the famed Sardian horses to reward him greatly. You give him four or five to exalt him above his fellows, propel him towards rank, and earn him jealousy, possibly mortal jealousy. Two hundred and fifty is an unthinkable gift, a gift to overwhelm an emperor." Also a gift that will have a tremendous impact on Tai's life.  And the lives of many others.

Under Heaven is the story of the effects of this gift. 

I loved the characters. Kay has a way of bringing the people he writes about to wonderful and often painful life.  They're so real, even when they are bigger than life, if that makes any sense.  We follow mostly Shen Tai and his sister Li-Mei and while they are young, they do possess some wisdom and knowledge - also, they have faults.  I found both of them very likable and enjoyed reading about them.  I also grew very fond of Tai's friend, the world-renowned poet whose name I cannot for the life of me remember.  *LOL*

I wanted to know more about so many things.  I wanted to know more about the events that follow the book's ending.  I wanted to know more about the people on the steppe.  I think I just wanted more period.  But that's okay, the story of Under Heaven was complete in itself and ended very satisfactorily.

Guy Kay, as always writes with a light, deft touch and honest to God, his paragraphs are often like songs.  The man knows words!  And his plotting!  It never fails, all the disparate threads that begin the book always end up intertwining at the end with just the right amount of twisting and turning to delight the reader.  And there's always a little bit of an open-ended bit of 'what if' in conclusion, in Kay's books. 

I loved it.  :)