owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
[personal profile] owlmoose2019-04-22 05:13 pm

Tales from the TBR: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Tales from the TBR



The book: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman



The summary:

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life.


How I found it: I don't remember the exact circumstances leading to the purchase of this specific copy last year, but I've been aware of the book since it came out in 2012. From the mid-90s through the early 2000s, Rachel Hartman wrote a minicomic, set in Goredd some years earlier, called Amy Unbounded, which was a delightful coming-of-age story about a young girl having adventures and learning her place in the world. (Sadly, the series is out of print, but it's worth tracking them down if you're interested, especially if there's a young girl in your life who needs an introduction to the world of comics.) So Seraphina went on my mental TBR, but I'm sure you all know how that can go.

What inspired me to read it now: Hartman's latest book, Tess of the Road, is a finalist for the Lodestar (the Not-a-Hugo Award for Best YA Book), and although I gather that it's not a direct sequel, I still wanted to read the Seraphina duology first.

The verdict: I have no idea why I waited so long to read this book, because it's a delight, although I could wish that the main character had read the situation and not waited quite so long to have some key honest conversations. (I find this trope particularly irritating, which is why I rounded my Goodreads rating down to four stars instead of up to five.) I fell in love with Seraphina as a narrator immediately, and I also adored Princess Glisselda and her best friend Millie. And also the prickly scholar Orma and the dashing and dogged Prince Lucian Kiggs. I could sit here and name favorites all day -- this world is full of fascinating characters, almost all of whom are easy to like (or dislike, in the case of many of the antagonists). Hartman's worldbuilding is both deep and intriguing, especially in the cases where she only drops hints -- draconic society, Goreddi religion (especially the heretic St. Yirtrudis -- I'm dying to learn more about her), the details of Goredd's relationship with its other neighbors. I also like her take on dragons: they are humanized and alien at the same time, just as any sentient species living among us would be. There are dozens of stories left to tell in this universe, and I will read every single one of them.

More thoughts, with spoilers. )

The primary goal of this Tales from the TBR series is to encourage me to read books that I already own. Although successful in this case, I have to call it a mixed success, because as soon as I finish this, I'm buying the sequel, because I have to know what happens next. Worth it, I'd say.
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Sidetracks - April 18, 2019

Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.


Read more... )
spindizzy: Alice waving her arms with a love heart over her head. (Yay!)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-04-15 06:23 pm

"These hands steal jewels" — Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles

Cover of Any Old Diamonds


Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.

The Duke's remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he'll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec's new best friend.

But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.

Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what's between them...all without getting caught.


Alec Pyne is the cast-off son of a duke, who hires a pair of jewel thieves to rob his father in revenge. Cue constant threats of betrayal, unexpected feelings, and HEISTS. Oh, and as you may have noticed when I squeaked about this before, I really liked it. It has possibly knocked Spectred Isle off its spot as my favourite KJ Charles book, which em>seriously takes some doing.

Read more... )
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Fanwork Recs — April 11th 2019

Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.

If you find something you love, we encourage you to comment/favorite and let the creator know you enjoyed their work. :D o/


Recommendations included:
  • Digimon — art (1)

  • Dragon Age — fic (1)

  • MCU — cosplay (1)

  • Pokémon — art (1)


Read more... )

What fanwork have you loved recently?
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Adventures Elsewhere (adventures elsewhere)

Adventures Elsewhere — March 2019

Adventures Elsewhere collects our reviews, guest posts, articles, and other content we've spread across the Internet recently! See what we've been up in our other projects. :D


Read more... )
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Favorite Media (favorite media)

Our Favourite Media of March 2019

Each month, we look back over the media we loved in the previous month, from books to film to video games and more.


Read more... )
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Sidetracks (sidetracks)

Sidetracks - April 4, 2019

Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.


Read more... )
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The YA Agenda: In Praise of a Book Series That Isn’t Coming to an End This Month

Jenny is the outstanding and gracious co-host of the Reading the End bookcast. She blogs about books and other sundries at the very entertaining Reading the End, where you can go for even more book reviews, lists, and interviews! She is also a responsible global citizen and loves Black Sails (which you should definitely watch).


The Return of the Thief did not come out last month. For a few emotionally complicated months, I believed that it would, but its author, Megan Whalen Turner, ended up kicking the can down the road to Summer 2020. I knew I was supposed to be sad about this news, and I am, but I’m also—kind of relieved? I have been in love with this series for most of my adult life, and I am disinclined to accept the end of its era. Read more... )

Anticipated YA Releases )
spindizzy: (Default)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-04-02 07:51 am

"Just a metaphysical experiment gone awry" — Death by Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Grisworld

Cover of Death By Silver


His practice newly established, metaphysician Ned Mathey can’t afford to turn away any clients. But the latest Londoner to seek Ned’s magical aid gives him pause: Mr Edgar Nevett, an arrogant banker, is the father of the bully who made Ned’s life hell at boarding school. Nevertheless, Ned accepts the commission to ensure the Nevett family silver bears no ancient or modern curses, and then prepares to banish the Nevett family to unpleasant memory again. Until Edgar Nevett is killed by an enchanted silver candlestick—one of the pieces Ned declared magically harmless.

Calling on his old school friend Julian Lynes—private detective and another victim of the younger Nevett—Ned races to solve the murder, clear the stain on his professional reputation, and lay to rest the ghosts of his past.

Assisted by Ned’s able secretary Miss Frost, who has unexpected metaphysical skills of her own, Ned and Julian explore London’s criminal underworld and sodomitical demimonde, uncover secrets and scandals, confront the unexpected murderer and the mysteries of their own relationship.


So let me lay out the plot for Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold's Death By Silver: Ned Mathey, a metaphysician (… he’s a consulting magician), was hired to check his former school bully’s family silverware was free of curses, which makes it a little awkward when the person who hired him is murdered with a cursed silver candlestick after he declares everything safe. Fortunately, his best friend (with benefits), Julian Lyne, happens to be a consulting detective and willing to investigate, even if he hates the victim’s family as much as anyone.

In news shocking to everyone: I devoured it.

Read more... )

[Caution warnings: physical and sexual abuse in backstory, bullying]
[personal profile] justira2019-04-01 10:10 pm
Entry tags:

The Thing That Lives There: Audience Discomfort and Jordan Peele's "Us"



Having watched Jordan Peele's second film, Us, I've also been consuming a lot of reviews and takes, and... oh boy. Internet, we need to talk

A lot of reviewers took issue with the movie for not building up its revelations enough, for leaving questions unresolved or plot threads hanging. Here's the trick: Not every piece of art is meant to be immediately satisfying. A lot of art is not meant to be comfortable, immediately or ever. There's a reason Dr. César A. Cruz's quote, "Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable," has gotten so much traction. Us has a lot to do with the idea of complicity, with willful ignorance.

Us is a movie that is meant to be digested. In a movie about what kind of people get things handed to them on a silver platter, Jordan Peele is inviting us to question the very feeling of not having information handed to us (on a platter). If there's something you don't know or don't understand by the end of the movie, I think it's worth sitting with that feeling a bit. Jordan Peele may not have all the answers, but I think he asked the right question, and that's the point. And I want to talk about the question, potential answers, and why I think so many people are so damn unsatisfied and uncomfortable.

Note: There will be spoilers. For the whole thing.

The Thing That Lives There: Audience Discomfort and Jordan Peele's 'Us' )
spindizzy: Konzen and Goku clinging too each other. (The final curtain falling)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-03-27 10:42 pm

Short Story Long: Grief and Kindness (27/03/19)


  1. it me, ur smol by A. Merc Rustad [Jump]

  2. Rabbit Heart by Alyssa Wong [Jump]

  3. A Hundred and Seventy Storms by Aliette de Bodard [Jump]

  4. Pistol Grip by Vina Jin-Mie Prasad [Jump]

  5. Refugee, or, a Nine Item Representative Inventory of a Better World by Iona Sharma [Jump]

  6. From the Void by Sarah Gailey [Jump]

  7. Octo-Heist in Progress by Rich Larson [Jump]

  8. A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong [Jump]


Read more... )

Reading Goals


Reading goal: 35/200 (8 new this post) Prose: 10/100 (8 new this post) Short fiction: 8/10 (8 new this post) Nonfiction: 2/12
#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 16/100 (0 read this post)
#unofficialqueerafbookclub: 19/75 (4 new this post; Pistol Grip, From the Void, A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers, Refugee)
spindizzy: Taiga staring over her newspaper (*reads suspiciously*)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-03-22 07:18 pm

Eight Book Minimum: Back it up and do it again (22/03/19)


  1. 2018 round-up [Jump]

  2. Carnacki the Ghost Finder by William Hope Hodgson [Jump]

  3. In/Spectre Volumes 1-6 by Kyo Shirodaira and Chashiba Katase [Jump]

  4. The City Never Sleeps by Andi Watson [Jump]

  5. Sweet Blue Flowers Omnibus 1 and 2 by Takako Shimura [Jump]

  6. Rock Steady by Ellen Forney [Jump]

  7. My Solo Exchange Diary Volume 2 by Nagata Kabi [Jump]

  8. Contract of Cherry Blossom Guilt by Fuyuki Furo [Jump]


Read more... )

Reading Goals


Reading goal: 27/200 (27 new this post) Prose: 2/100 Nonfiction: 2/12
#ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 16/100 (16 read this post)
#unofficialqueerafbookclub: 15/75 (14 new this post; A City Inside, No. 6 Volumes 1-9, The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House, Sweet Blue Flowers Volumes 1 and 2, My Solo Exchange Diary Volume 2, Contract of Cherry Blossom Guilt)

And a picture of my current book blanket progress can be found here!
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Sidetracks (sidetracks)

Sidetracks - March 21, 2019

Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag. For more links and commentary you can follow us on Twitter, Tumblr. You can also support us on Patreon.


Read more... )
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Adventures Elsewhere (adventures elsewhere)

Adventures Elsewhere — February 2019

Adventures Elsewhere collects our reviews, guest posts, articles, and other content we've spread across the Internet recently! See what we've been up in our other projects. :D


Read more... )
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Favorite Media (favorite media)

Our Favourite Media of February 2019

Each month, we look back over the media we loved in the previous month, from books to film to video games and more.


Read more... )
spindizzy: (I know what's going on)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-03-08 06:47 am

Eight Book Minimum: Goals for 2019! (08/03/19)

Hello my darlings! We made it through 2018, and I'm proud of everyone who tried to meet their goals despite 2018 being four hundred years long and actively trying to stop us!

Today, belatedly, as is apparently the tradition, I'm going to be talking about how I did in my goals for last year, and what my reading goals are for next year!

Goals for 2018! )

Goals for 2019! )

And, to bring this back to books: here are some books that I'm excited to read in 2019! )

So that’s what I’m aiming for and that’s what I’m excited about. How about everyone else?
owlmoose: (lady business - kj)
[personal profile] owlmoose2019-03-06 09:30 am

The Vela by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, and S.L. Huang



In the fading light of a dying star, a soldier for hire searches for a missing refugee ship and uncovers a universe-shattering secret. Asala Sikou is used to looking after number one while crisis reigns in her dying planetary system. But when she's hired to find a missing refugee ship, she discovers that this is no ordinary rescue mission, and she must play a role in deciding the fate of the whole universe.


I've been looking forward to reading The Vela, the latest series from publisher Serial Box, ever since it was first announced several months ago, but my interest wasn't based on the strength of the pitch ("The Expanse meets Battlestar Galactica" -- I've only watched one episode of each show, and read none of the James S.A. Corey books). For me, it was all about the amazing writing team: Becky Chambers, S.L. Huang, Rivers Solomon, and Yoon Ha Lee. I had a hard time imagining a better group to collaborate on a story about political intrigue and space battles in a dying solar system. I've now been fortunate enough to read the first five episodes, and I'm here to tell you that I was right: this is a dream team of writers, and so far they are doing something really special with this story.

There are so many things I could enthuse about, but I'll keep myself to just a few (especially as I'm trying to avoid sharing any spoilers -- don't worry, once the whole season is released, I'm sure I'll be back to talk about the whole thing). Starting with the characters, because the characters are so wonderful. The two primary characters, Asala and Niko, are both fascinating, and although very different -- Asala is a hardened soldier, while Niko is a child of privilege who is idealistic to the bone -- and sometimes work at cross purposes, they make a perfect team, and I've enjoyed watching their camaraderie grow. The story is also full of excellent secondary and background characters that make the world feel real and populated.

Another thing this story does really well is build tension. In different ways across different episodes, I found that information was revealed at just the right rate to keep me guessing and keep me turning the (metaphorical) pages. There are a lot of surprises in this series, is what I'm saying, and I look forward to discovering what I'm sure awaits me in the later installments.

Finally, I want to mention is how well the structure of the story uses the strengths of each individual writer. As with the tension section, I can't talk about just how without giving away too much. But if you already know and love these authors, I think you'll be happy with what you see, and if you don't, these episodes make for a brilliant introduction to all four of them.

So if you haven't guessed by now, I definitely recommend that you check out this series. If you'd like a taste, Tor.com provides an except of the first episode, by S.L. Huang. And if you do check it out, let me know what you think!
spindizzy: She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. (Book turned brain)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-03-05 02:09 pm

"Fish. Gate. River. Storm." — In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard

Cover of In the Vanishers' Palace


In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land...

A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world.

A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference.

When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement.

But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets...


In The Vanisher's Palace is Aliette de Bodard's post-apocalyptic post-colonisation fantasy take on Beauty and the Beast, and it's really cool. Yên is a rural scholar, who gets traded to a dragon in her mother's place to pay off her village's debts; Vu Côn is a dragon attempting to fix a world that was ravaged then abandoned by the Vanishers. Together they... Well, attempt to raise Vu Côn's teenage children right while also reckoning with the after-effects this world has on them all?

Read more... )
spindizzy: (Be happy!)
[personal profile] spindizzy2019-03-03 11:41 pm

Eight Book Minimum: Kicking 2018's dust off my feet! (03/03/19)

Well, we made it! I have FINALLY – F I N A L L Y – finished reviewing the books I read in 2018! Yay! I read some good things, I read some schlock, I apparently read huge quantities of stuff, which I wasn't expecting, but... 2018! Not a bad year for books! Next week should be my belated goals post (where has this year gone?!), and then after that normal service will resume with reviews of what I've been reading in 2019!


  1. The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang [Jump]

  2. DC Comics Bombshells Volumes 1-3 by Marguerite Bennett, Marguerite Sauvage, Laura Braga, Mirka Andolfo, Sandy Jarrell, and Maria Laura Sanapo [Jump]

  3. Black Bolt Volume 1: Hard Time by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward [Jump]

  4. Provenance by Ann Leckie [Jump]

  5. Death By Silver by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold [Jump]

  6. The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard [Jump]

  7. In the Vanisher's Palace by Aliette de Bodard [Jump]

  8. A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian [Jump]

  9. Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis [Jump]


Read more... )

Reading Goals


Reading goal: 228/180 (11 new this post) Prose: 118/90 (7 new this post, 60/111 short fiction) Nonfiction: 7/12 (0 new this post)
#getouttamydamnhouse: 25/50 (1 gone this post)
#unofficialqueerafbookclub: 71/50 (8 new this post; The Black Tides of Heaven, DC Comics Bombshells, Provenance, Death by Silver, In the Vanisher's Palace, A Gentleman Never Keeps Score)