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Showing posts from December, 2018

Reading journal: Under the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

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Genre: Science Fiction Published: 2013 Series: Heartland Trilogy Date read: October 2018 Awesome! The setting is a future where a lucky few live in floating satellite stations while everyone else toils in miserable conditions on the planet below, battling poverty, disease, oppression, and corn so aggressive it cuts your skin. Cael McAvoy is a young man, a troublemaker, and this is his story. There are hidden currents, a resistance movement, and nasty people, as well as good friends and a beloved girlfriend lost to him. Cael goes on the offensive, and his enemies had better watch their backs. I didn’t enjoy Wendig’s Miriam Black stories, but this one is genius. Pace, suspense, strong characters, brilliantly evoked settings and an overall sense of impending doom; what’s not to like? Highly recommended, as is Book 2 in the series, Blightborn.

Reading journal: The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

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Genre: Science Fiction Published: 2018 Date read: October 2018 A mindship, The Shadow’s Child is hiding from the world after a traumatic event, and ekes out a living blending teas to allow people to travel safely in space. A detective, Long Chau, asks for help. As these things go, the ship must brave space again to save the detective. Lyrically written, a lovely story with layers and complexity and beautiful imagery that leaves the reader wanting much more. Highly recommended.

Reading journal: City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

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Genre: Romance Published: 2014 Date read: November 2018 I picked this up at a public library sale, because I really liked the typography on the cover. I’m not so sure about the imagery. Those people are going to get lots of sand in uncomfortable places. This is a standard Harlequin romance set in Syria between the wars. There’s a plucky English aviatrix, a spy husband back from the dead, some miraculous archeological finds, a Bedouin sheik and assorted villains. Relaxing read, well written.

Reading journal: Welcome to Country: A travel guide to Indigenous Australia by Marcia Langton

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Genre: Non-fiction Published: 2018 Date read: November 2018 There’s the glitzy Australia of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Gold Coast, and then there’s a much more beautiful and meaningful story that comes from connecting with Australia’s Indigenous people and their cultural connection to the land. This book introduces the cultures, languages and places and teaches non-Indigenous visitors the basics of how to behave respectfully. It’s informative, beautifully illustrated, and explains important matters in an accessible way. Valuable for anyone who wants to see the world from outside their own cultural straitjacket.

Reading journal: A Wager for the Widow by Elisabeth Hobbes

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Genre: Historical romance Published: 2015 Date read: November 2018 This Mills and Boon romance is set somewhere in England, sometime in the middle ages, and the wager is for a kiss. Competently written but I would have liked more plot. It seems like a lot of fuss over a kiss. I need to brush up my romance sensitivity!

Reading journal: The Apple-Tree Throne by Premee Mohamed

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Genre: Science Fiction / Romance Published: 2018 Date read: November 2018 A wonderful story, sad but hopeful. Set in an alternate timeline, early Victorian industrial in some ways, young Lieutenant Braddock returns from war. He is injured, but he’s lucky—thousands didn’t make it back, and the man responsible was his commander and greatest friend, Theodore Wickersley. And now Theo’s ghost is haunting him. A beautifully written story that follows Braddock’s efforts to come to terms with what’s happened to him, and to deal with grief, anger and dislocation. Highly recommended.

Reading journal: The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

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Genre: Mystery Published: 2017 Series: Hawthorne Date read: October 2018 A woman arranges her funeral, then, that very night, is murdered. Horowitz, in his own person, is dragged unwillingly into the investigation, under the pretext of writing up the case as it’s investigated by Daniel Hawthorne, a man he hardly knows and doesn’t like. I love the circularity of the story, the idiocy of Horowitz out of his depth in a real investigation, and the wonderful array of red herrings. I would never have guessed or even imagined the identity of the killer. Great story from a master of the art.

Reading journal: Band Sinister by KJ Charles

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Genre: Romance (m/m) Published: 2018 Date read: November 2018 A romantic comedy in the style of Georgette Heyer. A girl falls from her horse and is forced to receive medical treatment in the house of a neighbour with whom there is a history of family enmity. Romantic assignations and misunderstandings follow, but all is resolved happily at the end. Quite fun. Lovely cover.

Reading journal: The Runaway Christmas Elf by Fiona Marsden

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Genre: Romance Published: 2015 Date read: November 2018 Light, fluffy, not very believable premise but definitely a happy ending. Subtitled ‘A Jewellery Store Romance’, earrings come into it. Set in Brisbane, Australia, and explores, lightly, romance across religious boundaries. Nicely written.

Reading journal: The Spotted Dog by Kerry Greenwood

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Genre: Mystery Published: 2018 Series: Corinna Chapman Date read: November 2018 Corinna and her lovely Daniel must solve the mystery of the kidnapped dog, the sad returned soldier, and the girl who has lost the ability to speak. A bit lower on the suspense scale than other books in the series, but there is a satisfying explosion. Nice to see Corinna and Melbourne on the page again.

Reading journal: Weird plants by Chris Thorogood

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Genre: Non-fiction Published: 2018 Date read: November 2018 Awesome book published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The author has a dreadful job. He is forced to travel all over the place photographing and painting plants. Also insects and animals. What a horrendous life! You can see him doing it on Twitter https://twitter.com/thorogoodchris1 I’ve been enjoying Chris’s tweets for ages and couldn’t resist buying the book, and I was not disappointed. Absolutely beautiful images, interesting botanical information, and high quality book production, a glorious treat for myself. Highly recommended.