Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – torn (Rowenna Miller)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

torn (Rowenna Miller)

Title: torn

Author: Rowenna Miller

Publisher: Orbit Books

Publication Date: TODAY!! (Paperback/E-Book)

ISBN: 9780316478628

Source: NetGalley

Upon reading the synopsis, I thought this novel would float me boat. But I just could not finish it and had to abandon ship at 80%.  Why ye ask?  Well for a myriad of reasons:

  • Sophie – She is the main character and at first I really liked her.  She was hard-working, dedicated, driven, intelligent, and fun.  But basically she is a character who waffles forever, makes the wrong choices every time, is extremely selfish, and doesn’t use her brain.  People DIE because of her stupidity and yet even that doesn’t help her decide.  By doing nothing (but lying) she creates a situation that could have been solved in the very beginning just by turning the bad man into the police.  I kept waiting for her to fix her own mistakes and instead (at 80%) she FINALLY  makes a decision and then runs to a man to whine and ask for help.  That was the point where I had to stop reading.  Ugh.
  • The Magic – Sophie is a seamstress who sews magic into clothing with her stiches.  This aspect of the novel was awesome.  It just really didn’t get used to its potential.  I wanted to see more of the magic in action, not just hear about some of the small things it could do as an aside.
  • The Love Story – Sigh.  Insta-lust turned into love in a couple of weeks.  She is a commoner.  He is a noble.  Star-crossed lovers that ye be supposed to cheer for.  But I didn’t really.
  • The Love Interest – Okay so despite disliking the insta-lust, I did like a couple of things about Sophie’s man.  He is a botanist and a violinist.  He has an eye for artistry.  He is strong and intelligent.  But oh so naïve.  The “commoners live like this?” and “well yes we are so rich but we have responsibilities that are given to us by birth and oh it’s so hard” kinda crap.  Sophie of course opens his eyes to the common folk problems while he wines, dines, and seduces her with his charm and riches.
  • The Brother – Sophie’s brother is frankly an ass.  Everything she does is because her brother always gets his way and she loves him.  Is civil war worth saving yer selfish idealistic stupid brother.  Ummm apparently yes.  And then the plot twist happens and Sophie sees the truth!  Well it was apparent to this pirate Captain from the beginning.
  • The Bad Guy – He seemingly wants to bring down society in flames because of revenge.  But his sister was spurned!  Her reputation was ruined!  So isn’t it justice?  No it’s because he doesn’t feel important enough and no one realizes his superiority and intelligent.  Bah!
  • The Hired Help – I actually loved the girls working in the shop with Sophie.  But in her selfishness she really treats them like crap and they deserved better.  I wanted to see more of the good aspects of the friendships that were hinted at the beginning of the novel.
  • The Pacing – It took forever to get into the story and was rather repetitive.  We had to hear about brother’s beautiful writing, the anger of the populace, how nobles are evil, and the taverns meetings a bit too much.  Poor = grumpy.  Nobles = evil.  Sophie needs nobles and money to survive.  Seriously for something that simplistic, the author pointed it out an awful lot.  There was no real build up or action.  Most of that happened off the page.  Instead we get Sophie waffling and visiting the rich people artists’ salon.

I kept reading because I wanted to see how Sophie used her magic to solve the problem.  When she ran to lover-boy for help I got grumpy.  When he agreed to help her without any commentary about her mistakes or stupidity because he loved her so, I had to stop.  With so many books on the horizon, I just gave up.  I want me reading to make time seem to disappear, not to accentuate every second passing.  I am sad, but I couldn’t fight the tide.

I wish this one would have focused on the magic and had Sophie be a strong woman and not an idiot.  I loved the sewing magic!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Orbit!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

TORN is the first book in an enchanting debut fantasy series featuring a seamstress who stitches magic into clothing, and the mounting political uprising that forces her to choose between her family and her ambitions, for fans of The Queen of the Tearling.

Sophie is a dressmaker who has managed to open her own shop and lift herself and her brother, Kristos, out of poverty. Her reputation for beautiful ball gowns and discreetly-embroidered charms for luck, love, and protection secures her a commission from the royal family itself — and the commission earns her the attentions of a dashing but entirely unattainable duke.

Meanwhile, Kristos rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement. Their worlds collide when the revolution’s shadow leader takes him hostage and demands that Sophie place a curse on the queen’s Midwinter costume — or Kristos will die at their hand.

As the proletariat uprising comes to a violent climax, Sophie is torn: between her brother and the community of her birth, and her lover and the life she’s striven to build.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Rowenna Miller – Author

To buy the novel go to:

torn – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

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Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – quietus (Tristan Palmgren)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

quietus (Tristan Palmgren)

Title: quietus

Author: Tristan Palmgren

Publisher: Angry Robot Books

Publication Date: Available Now!! (paperback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0857667434

Source: NetGalley

This book appealed to me because it’s about anthropologists from another plane doing research on the Black Death.  Their plane is also suffering from a plague and they are hoping the research can save lives back home.  Anthropologists are supposed to stay neutral but one member of the team, Habidah, breaks the rules and rescues a Florentine Carthusian monk named Niccolucio.

Now I abandoned this book at 48% but, to be fair, I loved the first half.  I thought the story of Niccolucio was excellent and really enjoyed reading about the research of Habidah and her team.  The imagery was well done and I really cared about both of the characters.  The problem arose once the politics of the other plane got involved.  The entire tone of the book switched, and I began to feel like I was reading a different book.

Because apparently the expedition had another goal besides the one that Habidah was given.  I won’t get into it here but basically it spoiled the premise for me and I didn’t want to read about where the author wanted to take the story.  I wanted a book more along the lines of the Doomsday book rather than a space opera.  I did attempt to keep reading several times because I wanted to know what ends up happening to  Niccolucio  specifically.  But alas I couldn’t stay engaged once the plot switched.  I do have other crew members that loved it though so it might work for ye.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Angry Robot Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

A transdimensional anthropologist can’t keep herself from interfering with Earth’s darkest period of history in this brilliant science fiction debut

Niccolucio, a young Florentine Carthusian monk, leads a devout life until the Black Death kills all of his brothers, leaving him alone and filled with doubt. Habidah, an anthropologist from another universe racked by plague, is overwhelmed by the suffering. Unable to maintain her observer neutrality, she saves Niccolucio from the brink of death.

Habidah discovers that neither her home’s plague nor her assignment on Niccolucio’s world are as she’s been led to believe. Suddenly the pair are drawn into a worlds-spanning conspiracy to topple an empire larger than the human imagination can contain.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Tristan Palmgren – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

quietus – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – zero limit (Jeremy K. Brown)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

zero limit (Jeremy K. Brown)

Title: zero limit

Author: Jeremy K. Brown

Publisher: 47North (47North is the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror imprint of Amazon Publishing, the full-service publishing arm of Amazon)

Publication Date: TODAY!! (paperback and e-book)

ASIN: B01N9I5HSN

Source: NetGalley

 

So this book was described as “Artemis meets Gravity in this gripping, adrenaline-fueled ride.”  Nope, not for me.  I actually tried to read this twice and gave up on it both times.

Now I have not seen the movie gravity so I can’t comment on that but I would consider this to be a bad version of Armageddon the movie where ye replace Bruce Willis with a not-quite-as-badass woman, have even cheesier dialogue, and no real tension.

As for artemis . . . umm no.  Well both take place on the moon.  That’s about all they have in common.  Artemis made me feel like the author had been to the moon and experienced both its wonders and its problems.  This novel’s moon seemed like a cardboard cutout of a Hollywood sound stage with all the cliché glory that entails.  I did like the concept of a miserable moon-dust rampaged living space but this novel did not do it justice.

Add in really bad politics involving the middle east and an immigrant (moon-born) hating politician and it just added to the rip-off feeling.  I wish I could have liked it but alas.

So lastly . . .

Thank you 47 North!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Twelve billion metric tons of asteroid. One woman who can save Earth. Zero margin for error.

For war hero Caitlin Taggart, mining work on the Moon is dirty, low pay, and high risk. But no risk seems too extreme if it helps her return to Earth and the daughter she loves more than life itself. Offered a dangerous, long-shot chance to realize that dream, Caitlin will gamble with more than just her life.

By leading a ragtag crew of miners on a perilous assignment to harvest an asteroid, Caitlin could earn a small fortune. More importantly, it would give her clearance to return to Earth.

But when an unexpected disaster strikes the mission, Caitlin is plunged into a race to save not only herself, but every human being on Earth.

To visit the author’s Amazon webpage visit:

Jeremy K. Brown – Author

To buy the novel visit:

zero limit – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – shadow magic (Patricia C. Wrede)

It’s time to abandon ship, me mateys!  Me first one of the year.  This author has written marvelous things like the enchanted forest chronicles (adored them all!) and sorcery and cecelia (cute and fun!).  I had always wanted to read her Lyra series and finally tracked down an omnibus of the first three books in the series.  To say I was excited is an understatement.  And then the time finally came to immerse meself in this new world.  I was expecting great things.

I got grumpitude.  Basically, I found this book to be immensely cliché and boring.  I find it hard to believe that these books were written by the same author.  To be fair, I thought the beginning had promise.

It starts out with a merchant caravan arriving back home after a long journey.  Maurin is a member of the caravan.  He has been invited by a noble, Har, to visit the family estate.  When he gets there, he meets Alethia, Har’s sister, who is intelligent and good with daggers.  There is a hint that Maurin quickly develops a crush on Har’s sister even though he laughs good-naturedly at himself due to the immense difference in their stations.  Things ensue and Alethia is kidnapped.  Har and Maurin set out to get her back.  Yup.  I was on board with that.  In fact I was good up until page 29 when Alethia escapes her captors.

After page 29, the characters involved expanded exponentially.  Additions to the characters included: a minstrel, dwarfish-creatures, elvish-creatures, magicians, evil shadow people, etc.  Alethia goes from being somewhat awesome to lacking initiative and being led around like a puppet.  Oh, add in that she is the chosen one and a special snowflake at that.  And the reasons for the evil people and the politics and the warfare were just ugh.

But I kept reading hoping for genius to emerge.  I made it to page 111 of 174.  I had put the book down at the preparing for a battle part to get some shut eye.  Then when came time to finish the last bit, I kept picking it back up, rereading the same three paragraphs and putting it back down.

The last attempt to pick it resulting in an actual feeling of dread and so I abandoned ship.  If only it contained the stories of just Maurin and Har trying to rescue Alethia with her contributing to her own escape!  I will not be reading the rest of the series.  I will stick to rereadin’ me favourites by the author instead.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Trouble is brewing in Alkyra. While the kingdom’s noblemen squabble, on their borders an ancient enemy, the Lithmern, raises an army. As the head of the Noble House of Brenn attempts to organize an alliance, the princess Alethia celebrates her twentieth birthday. She is a remarkable woman: quick-witted, beautiful, and handy with a throwing knife. But on the next night, she passes through a dark corridor on her way to the banquet hall, and never emerges from the shadows. The Lithmern have kidnapped the princess.

When Alethia regains consciousness, an evil Lithmern with a face made of shadows is carrying her through the forest. These are magic woods, home to fabled creatures whose existence she has always doubted. To find her way home, Alethia will have to learn to trust in the old tales, whose legends of magic and daring hold the only hope of saving her kingdom.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Patricia C. Wrede – Author

To buy the novel visit:

shadow magic – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – jade city (Fonda Lee)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

jade city (Fonda Lee)

Title: jade city

Author: Fonda Lee

Publisher: Orbit Books

Publication Date: TODAY! (hardcover/e-book)

ISBN: 978-0316440868

Source: NetGalley

 

Ken Lui recommended this book and when I read the description I just knew I had to read it.  His awesome blurb:

“Stylish and action-packed, full of ambitious families and guilt-ridden loves, Jade City is an epic drama reminiscent of the best classic Hong Kong gangster films but takes place in a fantasy metropolis so gritty and well-imagined that you’ll forget you’re reading a book.”

Me thoughts: awesome ideas.  awesome characters. made it to 50%.  bored.  never forgot I was reading a book.  sigh.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Orbit Books!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.
Magical jade—mined, traded, stolen, and killed for—is the lifeblood of the island of Kekon. For centuries, honorable Green Bone warriors like the Kaul family have used it to enhance their abilities and defend the island from foreign invasion.

Now the war is over and a new generation of Kauls vies for control of Kekon’s bustling capital city. They care about nothing but protecting their own, cornering the jade market, and defending the districts under their protection. Ancient tradition has little place in this rapidly changing nation.

When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone—even foreigners—wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones—from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets—and of Kekon itself.

Jade City begins an epic tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Fonda Lee – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

jade city – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandon Ship – the hundredth queen (Emily R. King)

Sadly me mateys, it is time to abandon ship!  I am so grumpy at this particular title.  Ye see in me head, this was supposed to be like the historical novel the twentieth wife with the added element of magic.  It wasn’t.  I only made it to 217 out of 287.  So close.  I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I should have been warned by the insta-lust or the treatment of women like property or the odd-seeming mixture of Indian and Chinese and other Asian cultures.  Or the non-explicit but present rape scenes involving concubines.  But well there was an author’s note claiming that though the religion was based on Sumerian deities, the book is not claiming to be based on any real place or time frame.  And I kept remembering good reviews for this one.

I wanted a good explanation for Kali’s magic skills and to watch her accomplish something with them.  I didn’t get any of that by page 217 and was so sick of the Emperor’s blatant evil and with the stupid to-the-death fighting tournament of the wives and concubines.  The rules didn’t really make sense.  I wish I had read some of the negative reviews of me crew and not wasted the time.  The only good thing is that I got this one from a local library and so didn’t waste money.  Sigh.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

He wanted a warrior queen. He got a revolutionary.

As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

Faced with the danger of a tournament to the death—and her growing affection for Deven—Kalinda has only one hope for escape, and it lies in an arcane, forbidden power buried within her.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Emily R. King – Author

To buy the book go:

the hundredth queen – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – equus (Rhonda Parrish)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this fantasy short stories eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

equus (Rhonda Parrish)

Title: equus

Authors: Rhonda Parrish (Editor), J.G. Formato (Contributor), Diana Hurlburt (Contributor), Tamsin Showbrook (Contributor), Laura VanArendonk Baugh (Contributor), VF LeSann (Contributor), Dan Koboldt (Contributor), J.J. Roth (Contributor) , Susan MacGregor (Contributor), Pat Flewwelling  (Contributor), Angela Rega (Contributor), Michael Leonberger (Contributor), Sandra Wickham (Contributor), Stephanie A. Cain (Contributor), Cat McDonald (Contributor), Andrew Bourelle (Contributor), Chadwick Ginther (Contributor), K.T. Ivanrest (Contributor), Jane Yolen (Contributor), M.L.D. Curelas (Contributor)

Publisher: World Weaver Press

Publication Date: July 18, 2017 (paperback and e-book)

ISBN: 978-0998702209

Source: NetGalley

This was a short story collection that I requested because it was about me first love of ponies before the sea stole me heart.  And it had a story by Jane Yolen.  I was super busy and needed something that I could easily pick up and put down at whim.  So I figured that this would float me boat.  Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time wanting to put this down and never pick it up again.  Out of the 19 stories, I ended up readin’ 7.  Actually I would have thought more given how long readin’ this felt but 7 is what came up when I just counted.  So here be me thoughts on the 7:

“stars, wings, and knitting things” (J.G. Formato)

The first story of this collection was certainly interesting.  I loved the main character, Annie.  She was quirky, funny, and not at all what I expected.  It involves knitting.  I loved her banter and her husband’s responses.  I thought this was a great first story if very unusual.  Can’t explain more than that.

“eel and bloom” (Diana Hurlburt)

This was overall by far me favorite story of the batch.  It was about a young girl named Bea who races limerunners (“native Floridian cousin to the Scottish kelpie” source) at the local racetrack after dark.  These horses have to be kept near water.  They also have to be kept with care because they are carnivorous, nasty, and kill.  Bea’s mother makes a bet with her daughter’s future as a consequence.  The outcome of the night’s race has never been more important.  The ending was perfect.  I would love to read future tales of Eel and Bea.

“a complete mare” (Tasmin Showbrook)

This is a story concerning half-breeds of Gods.  Odin especially.  I didn’t like this story at all.  The story was confusing and the main character, Verity, made some really bizarre and crazy choices.  I did like her transformations but it wasn’t enough to make me care about the characters or the world.  Also the story seemed like a chapter picked out of a larger narrative.

“neither snow, nor rain, nor heat-ray” (M.L.D. Curelas)

This was actually was even more confusing then the previous story as crazy as that seemed to me when reading.  This story takes place in London in 1900 five days after the alien invasion.  The aliens are these weird tripods.  There is a Moreauvian named Fletcher with special powers.  I didn’t understand where these people came from.  I didn’t understand what happened at the end and what was learned.  I did like the main character, Emma and her horse, Beezus.  But mostly I was just confused.  Again it seemed like it was a chapter pulled out of a larger work and it was poorer for it.

“rue the day” (Laura VanArendonk Baugh)

This was an amazing concept, characters, world, and plot at first.  This deals with war bands that fight with unicorns in a medieval like setting.  I adored Galyne and her unicorn Nova.  This was exactly fitting me mood and I was reading with pure delight.  Then came the plot twist and it soured.  It involves a trigger for many people and I was so sad that the author chose to take it there.  I thought good points were made in the circumstances that were presented and I even thought the author handled the conclusions well.  However, I would have preferred a very different direction.  In fact I would love this story to be expanded so I can get more of Galyne and the world.  Mixed feelings on this one but disappointment lingers.

“riders in the sky” (V.F. LeSann)

This story felt like a western wrapped up with ghosts and magic horses.  I loved the world and the main characters of the Rider and her horse, Peregrine.  This was an engaging story but overall seemed like we are missing too much backstory.  The story did have a clear beginning and ending but overall there were just too many unanswered questions.  Highly engaging though.

“a glory of unicorns” (Jane Yolen)

This was the reason I picked up this book and then I read it and was sad.  It’s a very short poem and not really a story at all.  I didn’t hate the poem.  I just wanted something along the lines of “a plague of unicorns” which I reviewed here.

So I loved one, partially liked three, hated two, and thought one was a tease.  Ultimately many of the stories felt incomplete and unsatisfactorily.  I am glad I read it for the parts I liked but when I began reading the next story, I realized I didn’t want to spend more time reading it.  I am not sure I will ever finish it.  For me it was a mixed bag but perhaps ye will like it more.  All I know is that I am glad I picked it up because of the joy that was reading about Eel and Bea.

 

So lastly . . .

Thank you World Weaver Press!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

There’s always something magical about horses, isn’t there? Whether winged or at home in the water, mechanical or mythological, the equines that gallop through these pages span the fantasy spectrum. In one story a woman knits her way up to the stars and in another Loki’s descendant grapples with bizarre transformations while fighting for their life. A woman races on a unique horse to save herself from servitude, while a man rides a chariot through the stars to reclaim his self-worth. From steampunk-inspired stories and tales that brush up against horror to straight-up fantasy, one theme connects them all: freedom.

To buy the novel visit:

equus – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List