highlights

Thumbs up for The Magpie Lord; A Case of Possession; Flight of Magpies; and Jackdaw by KJ Charles. Historical fantasy romance.

These came to my attention in an article on Tor.com. I sample a lot of books, mind you. A lot. Most of them, I don’t continue to read. I certainly don’t get hooked in the first couple of pages, decide to take a chance with my $1.99 and a few hours of my time, and never–when done with the first book–do I download and binge-read the next three books like an addict, mentally mumbling at the author “Take my money–please” and trawling her website for extra stories.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Young adult historical romance.

It’s 17– and Monty’s in love with his best friend Percy. Joined by Monty’s sister Felicity, they go on the Grand Tour of Europe. Everything that happens after that would be spoilers. I was expecting a sarcastic teen romance with historical trappings which I would put down after ten pages.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for: Family Man, Volume I by Dylan Meconis. Fantasy. Alabaster: Wolves by Caitlin R. Kiernan, illustrated by Steve Lieber. Fantasy. Monstress, Volume I: Awakening by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda. Fantasy. Yes, Roya by C. Spike Trotman, illustrated by Emilee Denich. Erotica.

A batch review here. Family Man is the hardest to describe of the bunch: Um….Half-Jewish Theology student in 1768 Germany makes some bad thesis decisions (Spinoza, atheism) and…academia…and hot librarian…and werewolves, kinda.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Outsider in Amsterdam and The Sergeant’s Cat and Other Stories by Janwillem van de Wetering. Mystery.

I’m not a mystery reader, generally, but there are three or four authors whose books I love. The books of Van de Wetering – globetrotting Dutchman, erstwhile Zen monk, and part-time member of the Amsterdam Police Force – made me exceptionally happy when I read them in my teens, and they continue to make me happy as I’m rereading them now.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Essays on Russian Novelists by William Lyon Phelps. Literary criticism.

After I finish this *grrr* book I’m writing, my reward is going to be delving into Russian literature. (If you’re shocked that I consider this a reward—hi, I’m Emma! We clearly haven’t met.) It seemed like a good idea to do a little preparatory reading around the subject so I could know firstly, what to read, and secondly, what works are supposed to be satire, because it can sometimes be hard to judge that without context.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Benjamin the True by Claudia Paley. Children’s fantasy.

Benjamin discovers a witch, Ellenwan, in a cellar in his otherwise ordinary town. She teaches him witchcraft. There aren’t many books that really make you believe in magic while you’re reading them. This is one of them.

“I am not leaving you behind because I think you are afraid, or because there is nothing for you to do.

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Thumbs up for A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back by Kevin Hazzard. Nonfiction/Memoir.

Obviously, you shouldn’t read this if you are easily grossed out, or are offended by the mundanity of death. Before you think my reading tastes are horrifying, let me tell you: you have no idea. I know people whose reading tastes make even me—a novelist—want to back away slowly.… >> Read more