Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Love An Update On

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Characters I’d Love An Update On (Where are they now that the book is over?). I did a version of this topic ages ago (here), and I’m happy to come up with a fresh list of characters whose lives I’d want to check in on!

  1. Simon & Baz (Simon Snow trilogy by Rainbow Rowell): The trilogy just ended with the 3rd book’s release this past July, but these two characters are young adults with their whole lives ahead of them, and I’d love to know what happens next for them!
  2. Jude (Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black): Jude gets a happy ending, but surely being a queen of faerie as a mortal woman can’t be easy? I’d love to see how it’s going in another few years, just to make sure she’s happy.
  3. Lara Jean Covey (To All the Boys trilogy by Jenny Han): She gets a happy ending, but I want to know how she and Peter’s relationship really works during college and beyond.
  4. Rowan (Arc of a Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman): Such an unexpected turn of events in the final book! I’d love to know how it all worked out for the characters.
  5. Scarlett & Rhett (Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell): I know Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley was supposed to be the sequel, but I kind of hated it and pretend like it never happened… so I’d like to know how Scarlett and Rhett’s lives REALLY turned out. Did they go back to Tara? Did they get back together? Was tomorrow really another day?
  6. Elma and Nathaniel York (Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal): This is one where we will find out more, eventually. We left these characters newly arrived on Mars in the book that was released in 2018. Book #4 in the series is supposed to be released in 2022, and it should be picking back up with these two characters’ stories… can’t wait!
  7. Maia Drazhar (The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison): I love The Goblin Emperor so much, and would absolutely spend any amount of time reading about the years of Maia’s reign as Emperor. He’s such a fabulous character, and I want to follow the rest of his life and see how things turned out for him.
  8. Maggie Hoskie (The Sixth World books by Rebecca Roanhorse): I really liked the two books in this series and assumed there would be more… but I didn’t see anything specific online about when or if a next book would be forthcoming. In any case, I’d love to read more about Maggie, and hope we’ll get additional books eventually.
  9. Edward & Bella (Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer): Haha, I know… but I actually included these two on my previous version of this list, and the same questions hold true: How’s eternal life working out? How is it being married to someone you know you’ll be with FOREVER? How’s parenthood treating them?
  10. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen): Sure, there are tons of retellings and imagined sequels, but none by Jane Austen, so it’s not like they’re official! How did Elizabeth adjust to life at Pemberley? I’d love to know.

What characters would you most like to keep up with? Whose lives are you wondering about?

If you wrote a TTT this week, please share your links!

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Book Review: When Sorrows Come (October Daye, #15) by Seanan McGuire

Title: When Sorrows Come (October Daye, #15)
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: September 14, 2021
Print length: 384 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased
Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Toby’s getting married! Now in hardcover, the fifteenth novel of the Hugo-nominated, New York Times-bestselling October Daye urban fantasy series.

It’s hard to be a hero. There’s always something needing October “Toby” Daye’s attention, and her own desires tend to fall by the wayside in favor of solving the Kingdom’s problems. That includes the desire to marry her long-time suitor and current fiancé, Tybalt, San Francisco’s King of Cats. She doesn’t mean to keep delaying the wedding, it just sort of…happens. And that’s why her closest friends have taken the choice out of her hands, ambushing her with a court wedding at the High Court in Toronto. Once the High King gets involved, there’s not much even Toby can do to delay things…

…except for getting involved in stopping a plot to overthrow the High Throne itself, destabilizing the Westlands entirely, and keeping her from getting married through nothing more than the sheer volume of chaos it would cause. Can Toby save the Westlands and make it to her own wedding on time? Or is she going to have to choose one over the other?

Includes an all-new bonus novella! 

I’m willing to put a stake in the ground and state definitely that all October Daye books deserve at least 4 stars. (Well, maybe not quite books 2 & 3, but the series was still finding its footing at that point, so we’ll just pretend those were growing pains.)

15 books in, I’m at that difficult point in a series where I love the characters so, so much that I just want them all to be perfectly happy all the time. But where’s the excitement in that? So naturally, even though this book is very much about our lead character’s wedding, knowing October Daye, it absolutely can’t go off without a hitch. And lots of blood.

In When Sorrows Come, Toby and Tybalt are finally almost at their wedding day. Toby very much wants to marry Tybalt, but also very much does not want anything to do with wedding planning. Just tell her when to show up, basically. And so, the whole gang is off to Toronto, to the demesne of the High King, to celebrate the couple’s big day.

And of course, they stumble right into a nefarious plot to overthrow the High King, complete with Doppelgangers, assassination attempts, and a household thrown into chaos. What’s Toby to do but wade into the thick of things, figure out the deadly plot, and still make it to her wedding in one piece?

The story is action-packed, but also leaves time for Toby to reflect on how her relationship with Tybalt has grown over time, her relationships with the other members of her found family, and what might come next in the tangled world of Faerie.

All the favorite characters are here, Toby has some lovely reunions with long-lost connections, and there are some teary-eyed sentimental beats that left me feeling swept away. Plus, as I mentioned, buckets of blood.

When Sorrows Come includes the humor and wit that feature in all Seanan McGuire books. I adore the writing! Some choice selections from minor moments:

One entire wall was ovens and stoves and open holes leading to oceans of flame that probably had some reasonable name like “pizza ovens” or “big fucking baking place,” but looked to me a lot more like gateways into the human concept of Hell.

… and …

Maybe the knowe understood that we really weren’t civilized people and was just trying to save us the embarrassment of me forgetting which fork was supposed to go in my salad versus which fork was supposed to go in the person I was trying to kill.

… and …

If everyone got to stab someone on my wedding day except for me, I was going to be even more annoyed than I already was.

… and …

Being fae doesn’t make you immune to being a massive nerd. It just gives you more time to really plumb the depths of your potential nerdery.

You get the idea.

I gave this book 4.5 stars instead of 5, mainly because the sedition plotline really is a way to prolong the lead-up to the wedding, and the more it stretched on, the more annoyed I got at the delay. Just let Toby and Tybalt get married already!

Needless to say, the book ends with the wedding, and includes a bonus novella at the end, “And With Reveling”, set at the wedding reception, that adds a nice little finish filled with humor and love.

It’s often a fear that in an ongoing series, once the wedding happens, the story is basically done. But clearly, Toby and Tybalt getting married doesn’t equate to a Happily-Ever-After, The End, Nothing More to Say. There are many challenges and adventures ahead of them, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

After their Land of Disney honeymoon.

In case it isn’t perfectly clear, this is my favorite urban fantasy series, and I recommend it to one and all. Start at the beginning with Rosemary and Rue (which I just re-read via audio this week), and keep going. It gets better and better, and you’ll love the characters as much as I do.

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Top Ten Tuesday: My fictional BFFs

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Fictional Crushes — which I just wasn’t all that into as a topic. So instead, I’m going to focus on characters I’d want to hang out with and maybe even become best friends with — ten fictional character who I admire, would want to spend time with, or who might make me laugh non-stop.

  1. Claire Fraser (Outlander series): Claire is just a strong, smart woman who never backs down from a challenge. She’s my hero!
  2. October Daye (October Daye series by Seanan McGuire): This mostly-fae changeling always ends up covered in blood, which might not always be great… but she’s a brave knight of the realm who’s also a fierce friend and protects everyone she loves. Plus, she’s really funny.
  3. Mercy Thompson (series by Patricia Briggs): Apparently, I’m just listing the main characters of my favorite series… but they’re my favorites for a reason! I love Mercy’s devotion to her pack and her mate, her inability to back down when the people she loves are threatened, and her awesome skills as a mechanic. She’s just amazing.
  4. Linus Baker (The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune): I love Linus (and really, all the characters in this book) so much. He’s kind and sweet and determined to make a difference.
  5. Nicky Bell (The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune): Sticking with an author who creates lovable characters… Nicky is funny and brave and soooooo huggable. Of course, he would just see me as an annoying old person, but I’d love to tag along on a day in Nicky’s life just to see him in action. He cracks me up.
  6. Lord John Grey (Outlander series): Lord John is brave and devoted, and he’s also really funny. He’s someone I’d like to just hang out and talk with for a while.
  7. Baz Grimm-Pitch (Simon Snow series): I just love Baz so much, and think he would be so interesting to spend a day with.
  8. Rocky (Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir): Sure, there’s the whole communication issue, but I loved meeting Rocky and think they’d make an awesome best friend.
  9. Eloise Bridgerton (Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn): Book Eloise is pretty cool, but I really love Eloise from the Bridgerton series on Netflix. She’s spiky and spunky and outspoken, and seems like she’d be so much fun to run around with on the edges of upper crust society.
  10. Pounce (Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill): Another non-human BFF, but who could resist? Pounce is a tiger-style nannybot who has to decide between love for the child he raises and loyalty to the robot uprising. Pounce is fierce and loyal and full of love, and I’d love to curl up for a snuggle with him (knowing that if bad guys sneak up, he’ll have my back).

So, that’s my somewhat silly list of fictional characters I’d want as my friends. And if I had more time and more room, I’m sure I could come up with at least another ten!

What characters are on your TTT list this week? Please share your links!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Spotlight, please! Supporting characters who shine

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Secondary/Minor Characters Who Deserve More Love.

As much as we love our lead characters, what about all the best friends, quirky neighbors, supportive family members, and all the other non-lead characters who make the books we read so rich and entertaining and emotional? Time to show them some love!

My top 10 are:

1 – Violet Bridgerton (Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn): Having just read all eight books in the series, I have to say that the mother of the clan, Violet Bridgerton, is one of the best fictional mothers I’ve come across. Sure, she really botches the pre-wedding talk with her first child to be married, but over the course of the series, she truly shines. (There is a novella about her, Violet in Bloom, includes in the epilogue collection Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, and it’s very sweet.)

2 – Deb Gilbert (The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary): Since I just finished this audiobook over the weekend, it’s fresh in my mind. The book’s focus in on the main characters, Addie and Dylan, and whether they can find their way back to one another, but I loved Addie’s sister Deb so much! She’s a free-spirited, independent woman who knows what she wants and doesn’t want, and doesn’t feel any shyness about making her opinions known.

3 – Genya (Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo): Again, going with a book I just finished! Genya is a Grisha, but at least in book 1, is treated as lesser by most of the other Grisha and seems to be forced into an uncomfortable position with both the King and Queen. I really enjoyed her interactions with Alina, and while it’s not clear yet in the book what her true allegiance is, I hope she turns out to be one of the good guys!

4 – Csethiro Ceredin (The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison): Csethiro is engaged to marry the emperor through an arranged marriage, but we see glimpses of how smart and strong she is every time she appears. I would love to get to know her better and to see her in action as empress. (Basically, I just want another book about Maia and everyone around him!)

5 – Kit Riva (Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid): Of the four Riva siblings at the heart of Malibu Rising, the youngest girl, Kit, probably gets the least amount of focus, and I’d love to find about more about what lies ahead for this character.

6 – The Luidaeg (October Daye series by Seanan McGuire): The Luidaeg is a scary, powerful magical being, a Firstborn of the fae, who also becomes one of October Daye’s closest friends and sources of support. She’s an amazing character, and also gets some really funny lines throughout the series. Any time the Luidaeg appears, I know we’re in for a wild ride.

7 – Iorek Byrnison (His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman): Why not include a non-human character in this week’s list? Iorek is the king of the armored bears — a huge, fierce polar bear who also loves main character Lyra. He’s just awesome, no two ways about it.

8 – Lord John Grey (Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon): Okay, I can’t actually say that Lord John is a neglected character, since he does have entire novels of his own. But within the main Outlander books, any time he shows up is a delight, and I just adore his humor and intelligence and how he brightens a scene. Book #9 comes out in November, and I’m hoping Lord John makes plenty of appearances (and maybe even finds love at long last?).

9 – Sirius Black (Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling): I am and will remain an ardent fan of Sirius Black. Sure, he’s hot-tempered and doesn’t always make mature choices… but his tragic arc brings me to tears every single time, and he’s an amazing friend and godfather.

10 – Naomi Nagata (The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey): Naomi really is a main character in these books, but since it’s an ensemble cast, she’s not always front and center, and when she’s not on the page, I miss her! Naomi is tough and talented and brave as hell, and makes every scene she’s in even more exciting.

Who are your favorite supporting characters? Do we have any in common? Please share your TTT links!

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Cover reveal: Soul Taken (Mercy Thompson, #13) by Patricia Briggs

Hot off the social media feeds! It’s the cover reveal for the next Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs! Soul Taken will be released in March 2022. As always, the absolutely gorgeous cover art is by Daniel Dos Santos, who is such an incredibly talented artist.

So beautiful!

Here’s the blurb for the plot:

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, must face her greatest fears in this chilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

The vampire Wulfe is missing. Since he’s deadly, possibly insane, and his current idea of “fun” is stalking Mercy, some may see it as no great loss. But when he disappears, the Tri-Cities pack is blamed. The mistress of the vampire seethe informs Mercy that the pack must produce Wulfe to prove their innocence, or the loose alliance between the local vampires and werewolves is over.

So Mercy goes out to find her stalker—and discovers more than just Wulfe have disappeared. Someone is taking people from locked rooms, from the aisles of stores, and even from crowded parties. And these are not just ordinary people but supernatural beings. Until Wulfe vanished, all of them were powerless loners, many of whom quietly moved to the Tri-Cities in the hope that the safety promised by Mercy and Adam’s pack would extend to them as well.

Who is taking them? As Mercy investigates, she learns of the legend of the Harvester, who travels by less-trodden paths and reaps the souls that are ripe with a great black scythe. . . . 

My preorder has been placed. Let the waiting begin!

Preorder at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2U8ei7A

Check out the artist’s work: https://www.dandossantos.com/

Book Review: Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6) by Patricia Briggs

Title: Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: Ace
Publication date: March 16, 2021
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Purchased
Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear — before it’s too late — in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left everything they owned behind. Fearing something supernatural might be going on, the FBI taps a source they’ve consulted in the past: the werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham. But Charles and Anna soon find a deserted town is the least of the mysteries they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous — and it has met werewolves before. 

March is such a wonderful time of year — because every March, there’s a new Patricia Briggs book! This year’s new release is book #6 in her Alpha & Omega series, while last year gave us a new Mercy Thompson book. Both series are amazing (and are connected), and I love them to pieces. So, three cheers for March and the release of Wild Sign!

In Wild Sign, we start with a moment of domestic joy for Charles and Anna, two fierce werewolves who are mated, married, and madly in love. I will never get tired of seeing them together and enjoying their undeniable chemistry.

Their sweet time together is interrupted by a knock on the door — it’s two FBI agents, unexpectedly showing up on pack territory, presenting them with a mystery that they need help with, as well as proposing an ongoing alliance between them and the werewolves.

The mystery is relevant to the pack because it occurred on land owned by the pack: In an off-the-grid settlement in the wilds of a California wilderness, a small town of people has completely disappeared without a trace. There’s no evidence that the residence have resettled elsewhere — no one has heard from any of them in months, and no sign of them can be found. Something otherworldly may be at play, and since the land is pack-owned, that makes it pack business.

Accompanied by dangerous (but funny) pack member Tag, Charles and Anna set off to investigate what happened to the people of Wild Sign, what lurks in the mountains there, and how to stop the evil forces that seem to be at play.

The adventure is immediate, as is the danger, and there were moments that really and truly set me on edge, particularly as Anna seems to be at risk and the threat to her is huge. The story behind what happened at Wild Sign is creepy, and Patricia Briggs masterfully unfolds the horror in a way that lets it build slowly until a terrifying picture emerges.

There’s a surprise twist in the epilogue that apparently has the fan community all a-buzz, but I actually thought it was a pretty cool development that will certainly have repercussions in both the Alpha & Omega and Mercy books down the line. I won’t say more about it, but it’s definitely a lot to think about!

I love Charles and Anna so much as characters, and love the rest of their pack too. Wild Sign also gives us some long-withheld backstory on key characters Bran and Leah, which I found fascinating, and I can wait to see what happens next for all of them.

The Alpha & Omega series is absolutely wonderful, and I just can’t get enough. The first book in the series is actually a novella, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of urban fantasy writing of all time. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading these books yet, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Alpha and Omega!

For readers who are already fans of the series, of course you’ll want to read Wild Sign. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! Another fantastic read in a fantastic series. My only complaint is having to wait another year for the next book in this world!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Whose Jobs I Wish I Had

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Characters Whose Jobs I Wish I Had.

My top 10 are:

  1. Alanna (Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce): She’s a knight! How cool is that?
  2. Alice Van Cleve (The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes): Pack horse librarian — I think it would be amazing to ride a horse through the mountains to deliver books.
  3. April Whittier (Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade): Secret fanfic writer by night, geologist by day… it’s actually the geologist part that really appeals to me, not because that’s what I’d want to be, but because I love seeing fab women in science take center stage.
  4. Emily Parker (Well Met by Jen DeLuca): Bookstore manager AND Ren Faire tavern wench!
  5. Veronica Speedwell (Veronica Speedwell mysteries by Deanna Raybourn): Intrepid lepidopterist and Victorian era sleuth. A girl can dream, right?
  6. Naomi Nagata (The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey): Because space adventuring would be awesome.
  7. Norma Kopp (Kopp Sisters series by Amy Stewart): She trains messenger pigeons! Again, not that I specifically want to do that, but I think it’s awesome that Norma does it.
  8. Meg Mackworth (Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn): A professional calligrapher, who actually makes money doing it. I wish I had the talent!
  9. Claire Fraser (Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon): OK, this is a stretch, but I had to find a way to sneak Claire in. No, I wouldn’t actually want to be stuck practicing medicine in the 18th century, but I do think it’s awesome that she finds a way to introduce modern medical practices like instrument sterilization and antibiotics to the time she’s in. She even grows her own penicillin!
  10. Mercy Thompson (Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs): I wouldn’t necessarily want to be a mechanic, but I love that Mercy is one! Again, it’s awesome to see a woman thriving in a traditionally male-dominated field. Go, Mercy!

What book characters’ jobs do you envy? Please share your link so I can check out your top 10!

Book Review: Calculated Risks (InCryptid, #10) by Seanan McGuire

Title: Calculated Risks (InCryptid series, book #10)
Author: Seanan McGuire
Publisher: DAW
Publication date: February 23, 2021
Length: 448 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The tenth book in the fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.

Just when Sarah Zellaby, adopted Price cousin and telepathic ambush predator, thought that things couldn’t get worse, she’s had to go and prove herself wrong. After being kidnapped and manipulated by her birth family, she has undergone a transformation called an instar, reaching back to her Apocritic origins to metamorphize. While externally the same, she is internally much more powerful, and much more difficult to control.

Even by herself. After years of denial, the fact that she will always be a cuckoo has become impossible to deny.

Now stranded in another dimension with a handful of allies who seem to have no idea who she is–including her cousin Annie and her maybe-boyfriend Artie, both of whom have forgotten their relationship–and a bunch of cuckoos with good reason to want her dead, Sarah must figure out not only how to contend with her situation, but with the new realities of her future. What is she now? Who is she now? Is that person someone she can live with?

And when all is said and done, will she be able to get the people she loves, whether or not they’ve forgotten her, safely home?

It’s that wonderful time of the year… when we get another InCryptid book! Calculated Risks is #10 in this ongoing urban fantasy series, and it does not disappoint in the slightest. Really, you could look at Calculated Risks as #9, part II, since the action picks up right where the previous book, Imaginary Numbers, left off.

Books 9 & 10 focus on Sarah Zellaby, a non-human member of the extended Price-Healy family, who are renowned cryptozoologists and deadly enemies of the all-powerful Covenant. There’s a lot to know about the Price family, which is why anyone new to the InCryptid series absolutely must start at the beginning. There’s just no way for these books and the complex relationships between the characters to make sense without the full picture and backstory.

Here in #10, our main character Sarah finds herself in a strange alternate world, along with her cousins Annie and Artie, her kind-of cousin James, and a cuckoo, Mark, who is of the same species as Sarah. Got that? Sarah has inadvertently transported all of them, as well as the college campus they’d been standing on, to another dimension, as a last ditch effort to stop the world from being destroyed as the side effect of Sarah undergoing a mathematically based metamorphosis. It’s complicated.

Now, in this weird world, Sarah’s allies don’t know who she is and treat her with suspicion. The sky is orange. There are huge flying millipedes. And indignity of all indignities, Sarah doesn’t even have a bra! Still, it’s up to Sarah to convince her friends and relatives that they know her, that they don’t want to hurt her, and that she is likely the only person who can get them home again.

The adventure rips along at a super-charged pace, but we also get lots of emotional moments too as Sarah faces distrust and rejection from people she’s loved all her life. The challenge of getting home again relies on Sarah’s ability to carry out a dangerous equation that can rip through worlds, and to do it without killing herself and everyone around her.

As always, Seanan McGuire’s writing is funny, quirky, clever, and highly quotable:

“I have so many knives,” said Annie. “I am the Costco of having knives. You really want to provoke me right now, cuckoo-boy?”

“I am not a good place to store your knives,” he said. “I don’t know how many times I need to tell you this, but sticking knives in living people just because they say something you don’t like is the reason no one likes you or the rest of your fucked-up family.”

“I don’t want to be a monster. I refuse to be a monster. I am a person, and people get to make our own choices about whether or not we bare our claws.”

“Mean girl from the murder family has a point,” said Mark. “Also, now that I have spoken those words aloud, please kill me.”

Do not be afraid.

I hate it when people tell me not to be afraid. They never do that when something awesome is about to happen. No one says “don’t be afraid” and then hands you an ice cream cone, or a kitten, or tickets to Comic-Con.

Calculated Risks is just as much fun as the preceding books in the InCryptid series. I love that the main characters in the series shift between different family members as the books go along, and I can’t wait to see who the star of #11 will be (although — sigh — that’ll be a long year from now). Meanwhile, between familiar Price characters, Aeslin mice (a sapient species of talking mice who worship the Prices as deities), and new friends (like Greg, the humongous leaping spider who becomes Sarah’s protector), there’s plenty here to love and enjoy.

Calculated Risks includes a bonus novella, Singing the Comic-Con Blues, which is a light-weight, upbeat adventure set nine years before the events of the main novel. It’s sweet and entertaining, and is a nice little treat for dessert after some of the more dire events of Calculated Risks.

The InCryptid series continues to be fresh, exciting, and full of surprises. Seriously, if you’ve never read these books, start at the beginning (with Discount Armageddon) — I’ll bet you’ll be hooked before you even finish book #1. As for me, I’m tempted to go back to the beginning, just to have the pleasure of experiencing the bonkers adventures of the Prices all over again.

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Book Review: Nemesis Games (The Expanse, #5) by James S. A. Corey

Title: Nemesis Games (The Expanse, #5)
Author: James S. A. Corey
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: May 10, 2016
Length: 532 pages
Genre: Science fiction
Source: Purchased
Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.

And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

Let me just say up front that this is going to be a short review — not because I didn’t love the book, but because I tore through it so quickly that I didn’t pause to take notes or mark amazing passages or terrific dialogue. Yes, I loved the book, and it definitely merits 5 stars!

The fifth book in the fabulous Expanse series, Nemesis Games has a lot going on. The key things to know are (1) the crew of the Rocinante spend most of the book apart, each going off on their own private journeys while their ship is undergoing major repairs, and (2) a massive terrorist attack by a dangerous Belter faction changes the power dynamics of the solar system, perhaps permanently.

Each of our four main characters gets a chance to shine, although Naomi’s saga is clearly the most dramatic and emotionally powerful. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, so I’ll be vague, but the attack by the Free Navy (the aggressive Belter faction) is shocking in its scope and impact.

The plotline of Nemesis Games is the basis of the excellent fifth season of The Expanse (now streaming on Amazon Prime), with a few changes here and there. While I’m usually a stickler for reading books before watching movie or TV adaptations, in this case, I’m glad I had the visuals of this season to help me while reading the book. So much of the technology, military aspects, etc are really complex, and having seen the depictions on TV really made the book passages feel more alive to me.

As I said, I’m keeping this review short, so I’ll just wrap up by saying that Nemesis Games and the entire series are highly recommended. The books are long, but they speed by. So far, there are 8 books in the series, with the 9th and final book set to be published sometime this year. I don’t think I’ll be able to get through all of the available books right away, but I do want to keep going! The books are exciting, pulse-pounding reading, and I just have to know what happens next!

Shelf Control #233: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

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Title: Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars, #2)
Author: Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Published: 2015
Length: 330 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman’s story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why? 

How and when I got it:

I bought it because VERONICA MARS.

Why I want to read it:

The simple answer is, I’m a VMars fan through and through, and always will be. Yes, even after the less-than-inspiring season 3 (which I mostly choose to ignore) and the very upsetting ending to the recent season on Netflix. I love these characters, and will always be there for more.

I read the first Veronica Mars book, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, about a year ago, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I’m not usually a fan of novelizations of movies or TV shows, but in this case, the show’s creator wrote a story that advanced the overall plotlines and felt really true to the characters and their world.

I’ve been meaning to read #2 ever since, and hope to dive into it in the next few months. And who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to go back and do another re-watch. Because there can never be too much Veronica Mars!

What do you think? Would you read a book based on a favorite TV show or movie?

Please share your thoughts!


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Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!