Tuesday 31 December 2019

On this last day of 2019 I wanted to look back on my reading and my bookish adventures.

2019 was the year my owner and I traveled to Dublin to attend Worldcon, and to meet Jeffe Kennedy. The first picture in this post is of me and my owner enjoying our first evening in Dublin, the second picture is me posing for a picture together with Jeffe Kennedy and Kelly Robson.

We had such a great time in Dublin, sightseeing with Jeffe and David, meeting other authors, and attending panels. A complete recap can be found on my other blog. You can bet that I want to go to other cons in the future, even though I retired from all my other traveling this year.

On to my reading.

I set myself two challenges this year: try to finish the Charley Davidson series by DArynda Jones and to read at least one book each month that had been lingering on my shelves for a more than a few months.

I didn't succeed in finishing the Charley Davidson series, but I did read 5 books in this series this year, and have 4 more to go. I'll definitely will finish this series in 2020.

As for Orphaned books, I didn't read one every month, but I had months were I read more than one, bringing my total of Orphans Read at 17 for 2019 (two of those were on my shelves for 6 years). I'll continue to try to get more older books read next year.

My favorite reads of 2019

I have read so many amazing books in 2019, that I made a list of my favorite book for each month (in two cases I really couldn't decide and have more than one)

How to Save an Undead Life - Hailey Edwards

Phoenix Falling – Laura Bickle

The Queen's Resistance – Rebecca Ross

Vicious - V.E. Schwab

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire
The Orchid Throne – Jeffe Kennedy
The Only Harmless Great Thing – Brooke Bolander

Chaos Choreography – Seanan McGuire

American Hippo – Sarah Gailey

Empire of Sand – Tasha Suri

Magic for Liars – Sarah Gailey
Middlegame – Seanan McGuire
Gamechanger – L.X. Beckett

Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir

The Alchemist and an Amaretto – Annette Marie

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones – Micah Dean Hicks

All in all my reading year was great and I will continue to read and review in 2020.

That leaves me with wishing you all "Many good books for 2020, and a very happy New Year!"

Friday 27 December 2019

Nightflyers - Book Review

by George R.R. Martin

What is it about:
When a scientific expedition is launched to study a mysterious alien race, the only ship available is the Nightflyer, a fully autonomous vessel manned by a single human. But Captain Royd Eris remains locked away, interacting with his passengers only as a disembodied voice--or a projected hologram no more substantial than a ghost.

Yet that's not the only reason the ship seems haunted. The team's telepath, Thale Lasamer, senses another presence aboard the Nightflyer--something dangerous, volatile, and alien. Captain Eris claims to know nothing about the elusive intruder, and when someone, or something, begins killing off the expedition's members, he's unable--or unwilling--to stem the bloody tide.

Only Melantha Jhirl, a genetically enhanced outcast with greater strength, stamina, and intelligence than other humans, has a chance of solving the mystery--and stopping the malevolent being that's wiping out her shipmates.

But first she has to keep herself alive.

What did I think of it:
I have very much enjoyed the HBO series A Game of Thrones, but I didn't feel compelled to read Martin's books. They're huge, and there are so many other books I want to read. But then I ran into this SF novella and I could not resist!

And this is such a cool story!

The plot isn't all that exciting, but it's Martin's writing, and the way he sets mood and atmosphere that made me totally invested and kept me reading. I raced through this story , enjoying the drama and mystery, curious to see who would survive and who'd die and how.

Next to this murder mystery in space I also enjoyed the storyline of the mysterious alien race the scientists are seeking. What are these aliens, are they related to the trouble, and will they appear?

All in all a very enjoyable SF novella. I might have to investigate the Netflix series that was based on this novella.

Why should you read it:

It's a cool SF novella.

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Thursday 26 December 2019

The Migration - Book Review

The Migration
by Helen Marshall

What is it about:
When I was younger I didn't know a thing about death. I thought it meant stillness, a body gone limp. A marionette with its strings cut. Death was like a long vacation--a going away.

Storms and flooding are worsening around the world, and a mysterious immune disorder has begun to afflict the young. Sophie Perella is about to begin her senior year of high school in Toronto when her little sister, Kira, is diagnosed. Their parents' marriage falters under the strain, and Sophie's mother takes the girls to Oxford, England, to live with their Aunt Irene.

An Oxford University professor and historical epidemiologist obsessed with relics of the Black Death, Irene works with a centre that specializes in treating people with the illness. She is a friend to Sophie, and offers a window into a strange and ancient history of human plague and recovery. Sophie just wants to understand what's happening now; but as mortality rates climb, and reports emerge of bodily tremors in the deceased, it becomes clear there is nothing normal about this condition--and that the dead aren't staying dead.

When Kira succumbs, Sophie faces an unimaginable choice: let go of the sister she knows, or take action to embrace something terrifying and new.

Tender and chilling, unsettling and hopeful, The Migration is a story of a young woman's dawning awareness of mortality and the power of the human heart to thrive in cataclysmic circumstances.

What did I think of it:
You know me: If I think there might be zombies in a story I want to give it a try.

It turns out that this isn't the zombie book I expected, but I was not disappointed. This story is set in the near future and is partly about family and dealing with grief and the unknown, partly about our fear for that which is different, and partly about the threat of climate change.

I know that sounds like a lot to tackle in one story, but Marshall makes it work without this book turning into a morality lesson. Instead it's a gripping and emotional story about a teen who is trying to deal with change and loss. I was hooked from the start and eager to find out what was going on and what choices Sophie would make.

Near the end it got a bit over the top, but again Marshall made it work. All in all a very satisfying read.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful Near Future read.

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Tuesday 24 December 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones

"He said he's going to call you," Jane squeezed his shoulder. "I think you did something really bad this time. Worse than the robot."

(page 26, Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 23 December 2019

All I Want For Christmas Is A Werewolf - Book Review

All I Want For Christmas Is A Werewolf
by Liana Brooks

What is it about:
Del hates Christmas. As a child, she spent too many Decembers on the streets after her parents abandoned her. As an adult, the enforced family focus, the clients who see the holidays as an excuse to get gropey, and the mistletoe her well-meaning colleague Maureen hung over her work desk just seals the deal: December sucks.

If only it could stay Halloween for a couple of months instead. Del loves the excuse to slay monsters, the spooky atmosphere—and of course, the werewolves. Because everyone knows werewolves make the best lovers... Pity they’re not real.

When Maureen conjures up a list of eligible bachelors for the holidays and insists Del take her pick, Del does the only reasonable thing: she lies. And when nosy office Grinch Rafael Kane asks who the lucky fellow is, Del announces it to the whole office: she's getting a dog.

So now, the first item on Del’s holiday to-do list? Find a dog. Fast. Because if she doesn’t, nothing will protect her from Maureen’s list of Miami bachelor rejects.

A charming, sensual romance for everyone who believes in found families, happily ever after—and werewolves.

What did I think of it:
Looking for a last minute Christmas Romance? Look no further!

This Paranormal Christmas Romance is cute, fluffy, and fun!

I fell in love with Del from the start (and not just because she loves zombies and Zombies, Run!) and rooted for her to get on top of things and to get her Happy Christmas Ever After.

I also really liked Maureen, even with her meddling and gossiping, and let's not forget Rafael of course. He's totally awesome.

At about 180 pages this is a quick and very enjoyable read that will get you in the mood for Christmas. You bet I'll reread and that I'll read more by Brooks.

Why should you read it:
It's a cute and fun Paranormal Christmas Romance.

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Thursday 19 December 2019

Transcendent 4 - Book Review

Transcendent 4: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction
assembled by Bogi Takács

What is it about:
A non-binary teenager may be from a small town but they remember at least a dozen past lives; a young trans woman auditions as an anime voice actor while the world is ending; in a future of constant change and transformation, one person is hesitant to undergo the next metamorphosis; a trans man comes back home to discover his parents have added to the household an android that has his deadface installed. Award-winning editor Bogi Takács has assembled a stellar line-up of stories that explore the frontiers of gender - using the imaginative tools of speculative fiction.

What did I think of it:
This is a very cool anthology with a myriad of stories to capture your imagination and to make you think.

In front of the book there are trigger warnings with each story, so people can skip the stories that would be too confronting or emotional.

The stories themselves range from magical realism to straight out SF. There are those that explore possible futures, family relationships, love, friendship, etc. Some of the stories made me cry, others made me angry, others offered hope.

All in all this is an anthology that will stay with you long after you've finished it. I can recommend it to everyone who loves speculative fiction and anyone looking for a diverse read.

Why should you read it:
It's a really cool SF anthology.

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Wednesday 18 December 2019

Spirits That Walk in Shadow - Book Review

Spirits That Walk in Shadow (Chapel Hollow #3)
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

What is it about:
Roommates Jaimie Locke and Kim Calloway are each looking to find a new life at college. It’s Jaimie’s first time Outside—away from her large, complicated family and their magical traditions—and she wants to learn what nonmagical life is like. Kim is anxious to escape the depression that’s been dragging her down since last year so she can make new friends and create the art she loves.

But almost as soon as they unpack, Jaimie realizes that Kim’s depression is different from normal sadness. Something outside of Kim is literally forcing her to be depressed, pursuing and draining her. Just like that, the two girls—along with Jaime’s cousins and a Presence named Rugee—try to capture and rout the creature that is following Kim.

No one said that college would be easy....

What did I think of it:
Did I buy this book because of that gorgeous cover by Daniel Dos Santos? You bet!
(And apparently I was very lucky amazon.de still had a copy for a normal price)

And I'm so glad my shallow cover love let me buy this book, because it is such a cool story!

The main story is simple enough and not that difficult to figure out. I was way ahead of Kim and Jaimie. It's the characters, the worldbuilding, and writing that totally drew me in and kept me reading. I loved both Kim and Jaimie and how both of them looked at the world. Then more characters got introduced and I loved most of those as well.

This book is third in a series, but I can't say I felt like missing out. The other two books seem to be about other characters, who are related to Jaimie, and after reading this book I will try to get hold of the other two books as well. And I will absolutely investigate what other books Nina Kiriki Hoffman has written.

Why should you read it:
It's a well written and cool UF read.

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Tuesday 17 December 2019

The Dirt on Ninth Grave - Book Review

The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9)
by Darynda Jones

What is it about:
Charley Davidson is living in New York City as Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she begins to realize she can see dead people, she’s more than a bit taken aback. Strangers who enter the diner where she works seem to know things about her…

Then she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. An enemy that will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. And the diner’s devastatingly handsome fry cook, who vows to protect her even though he seems to be lying with every breath he takes. But in the face of such grave danger, who can Jane/Charley/whoever she is trust? She will find the truth even if it kills her… or the fry cook. Either way…

What did I think of it:
The above description of this book isn't very accurate I must say. There are lots of things going on, of which sthe things mentioned are only a small part.

Anyway: I had fun with this book.

I must say I didn't totally understand why those who know Charley keep up the pretense and Charley in the dark, but apart from that this is yet another fun and action filled adventure, full of Charley snark, Cookie goofiness, and Reyes scorchingness (yeah, I know it's not an actual word). I was hooked from the start and enjoying the ride.

There were some obvious things, some surprises, and lots of the silly goodness I've come to expect of this series. All in all a satisfying read, and I'll pick up the next book soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and snarky UF read.

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Monday 16 December 2019

Teasing on a Monday - Nightflyers

I started on this yesterday and I am very much enjoying it so far.

And we follow, we follow. Through the dark gulfs where no one goes, through the emptiness, through the silence that goes on and on, my Nightflyer and I give chase.

(page 4, Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Friday 13 December 2019

Catching Moonlight - Book Review

Catching Moonlight (The Sunrise Prophecy #2)
by Emily Mah

What is it about:
Corban Alexander has a dark side, and ever since a chance encounter with Liana Linacre, a girl he was supposed to protect, it's darker and more addictive than ever. Every minute of every hour of every day he fights to resist succumbing to his worst instincts. If he doesn't, he will fall, and gain the power to scourge and wreak havoc upon humanity, feeding off their pain. It would take a legion of angels to stop him.

So when he learns that Liana needs help once again, he knows he is the last person to provide it. The problem is, no one else is willing.

Corban must return to the side of the girl he loves, and pray that he is strong enough to save both her and himself.

What did I think of it:
This is a cool and suspenseful read.

The book starts about four years after the events in book one, taking this series in NA territory. The first book in this series was told from Liana's viewpoint. In this book we get to see things from Corban's point of view.

No sooner have Liana and Corban met up again or things get dicey. Someone wants Liana dead and isn't very subtle about it. Corban should bring Liana to safety, but Liana has different plans.

I loved seeing that my wishes came true: Liana's best friends were back and more involved in what is going on. I rooted for all of them to survive. The relationship between Liana and Corban is a complex one. Corban does have feelings for her, which as an angel he shouldn't have, and it looks like Liana might have moved on. On top of that Corban is drawn to negative emotions. If Liana's enemy doesn't kill them, Corban just might do it by accident.

I was invested from the start and kept reading to find out where things would lead. The ending is satisfying, but also left me eager for the next book. So you bet I'll read it soon.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool Paranormal read.

Buy from amazon

Wednesday 11 December 2019

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter - Book Review

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
by Erika L. Sánchez

What is it about:
Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

What did I think of it:
Did I enjoy this book?


Did I think this is a good book?


This is a difficult read. Going by the blurb I had expected this story to focus on finding out who Olga was, instead it is a story about loss, grief, and trying to find your place in life even when the odds are against you. It was emotional, heartbreaking, confrontational, and with a quiet beauty, hinting that there might be hope.

All in all not a book I'll easily reread, but it is a beautiful read.

Why should you read it:
It's a beautiful and emotional YA read.

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Tuesday 10 December 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - Transcendent 4

After the scandal and the election some people said it's the memories that are gone, cauterized by the pulse of this evil, wild device. But ze wonders if maybe just the pathways are gone, and it can rebuild them, like a new bridge, or a portal.

(28% into Transcendent 4: The Year's Best Transgender Speculative Fiction - from Therapeutic Memory Reversal by Everett Maroon)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 9 December 2019

Salvaged - Book Review

by Madeleine Roux

What is it about:
In this dark science fiction thriller, a young woman must confront her past so the human race will have a future.

Rosalyn Devar is on the run from her famous family, the bioengineering job she's come to hate, and her messed-up life. She's run all the way to outer space, where she's taken a position as a "space janitor," cleaning up ill-fated research expeditions. But no matter how far she goes, Rosalyn can't escape herself. After too many mistakes on the job, she's given one last chance: take care of salvaging the Brigantine, a research vessel that has gone dark, with all crew aboard thought dead.

But the Brigantine's crew are very much alive--if not entirely human. Now Rosalyn is trapped on board, alone with a crew infected by a mysterious parasitic alien. The captain, Edison Aries, seems to still maintain some control over himself and the crew, but he won't be able to keep fighting much longer. Rosalyn and Edison must find a way to stop the parasite's onslaught...or it may take over the entire human race.

What did I think of it:
This is a very entertaining read.

I had heard it's scary and creepy, and although there was indeed a nice creep factor at times, it wasn't all that scary to me. But I have to warn you: It seems I'm not easily scared by books.

The viewpoint switches between several characters, and at times this is a strength, but it also reduced the suspense for me. I think this book could have been stronger with less viewpoints. Still I was interested from the start and flew through the book to see where the story would lead to.

I must say my favorite character wasn't Rosalyn or Edison, but rather one of the other crew members aboard the Brigantine. I felt myself rooting for that character and it made me more invested in Rosalyn finding a solution. The ending is not a cliffhanger, but does leave room for Roux to create a sequel.

All in all this is a fun and entertaining read. I'll most definitely keep an eye out for more by Roux.

Why should you read it:
It's a very entertaining SF thriller.

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Tuesday 3 December 2019

Teaser Tuesdays - I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Part of me is intrigued by the party, but the other part of me doesn't want to spend a night hanging out with Juanga. He hasn't reached arch-nemesis status, but I certainly don't want to be friends.

(page 160, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday 2 December 2019

Chasing Sunrise - Book Review

Chasing Sunrise (The Sunrise Prophecy #1)
by Emily Mah

What is it about:
Liana Linacre always thought of herself as the boring good girl, because that's what she was before an alluring vampire named Evan came to her window. What begins as her fantasy romance ends with a curse that threatens her life and that of everyone she loves. No longer the pampered prep school student, she becomes an orphan on the run from dark forces that want her soul.

This lands her in Taos, New Mexico, a quirky artist colony and the home of her even quirkier Aunt Cassie, who is willing to give her a place to stay, but refuses to be an adult role model. Left on her own in a public high school serving a low income area, Liana captures the attention of the mysterious Corban Alexander. He makes it clear right away, he wants her gone, but that isn't an option for her.

The only way for Liana to survive is to outsmart the ancient evil that wants her dead.

Corban must decide if he can forgive a girl who made the one mistake he believes is unforgivable.

Only if they fight together together can they prevail in an age-old fight that evil has always won.

What did I think of it:
This is a really fun Paranormal read.

Mah gives a really original spin to the vampire mythology and I was intrigued from the start. Liana is both strong and vulnerable. Things are happening with her she can't totally understand, and on top of that she is thrown in a new life at a public school after only attending private boarding schools. It was interesting to see her adapt and realize how privileged she has been.

Her brush with a vampire lands her in hot water with Corban, a vampire hunter with secrets of his own. I really liked their interaction and was eager to find out more about him.

I loved seeing Liana make friends and even though her two new friends have a minor role in this book I am looking forward to see this friendship develop and hope her friends will have a bigger role in the next books in this series. I also enjoyed getting to know Taos and the people who live there.

All in all this is a really cool read and you bet I'll be reading the other two books in this trilogy as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool Paranormal YA/NA

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