Showing posts from September, 2019

The Damiano Trilogy (previously published as A Trio for Lute)

The Damiano Trilogy (previously published as A Trio for Lute) R.A. MacAvoy, originally published in three volumes, 1984 Premise: Damiano Delstrego is a witch by heritage and a musician by choice, although few musicians, even those with second sight, have an Archangel for a lute teacher. Damiano and Raphael face tribulations, hard choices, and danger (both human and demonic) across Renaissance Italy. I loved this series (originally published as three slim volumes: Damiano, Damiano's Lute, and Raphael) in high school, and I've been meaning to reread it literally for years. I even reread the first book back in 2014, but then got distracted by other, newer works. Honestly, I finally reread it this summer because after I fell hard into fan content for Good Omens after the Amazon miniseries came out, I was reminded of the first book I loved about an angel interfering with humanity. Going back to it is... odd. I still think it's quite good. The writing is lovely, the w

A Conspiracy of Truths

A Conspiracy of Truths Alexandra Rowland, 2018 Premise: A collector of stories is in prison, accused of witchcraft. What he tells his captors could not only determine his fate, but the fate of the nation. I had seen some positive reviews for this book, so I picked it up when it was cheap. Unfortunately, it didn’t fully work for me. It’s well written, and many of the stories that pepper the narrative are intriguing. The idea of a person dismantling a government by telling the right stories is cool, but despite his admitted role, Chant seems more swept along by events than anything else. The one huge thing he does has little to do with storytelling and more to do with networking. Alternate family structures and homosexual and bisexual characters are seen as normal, which was nice, but this didn’t really affect the plot, just added interesting flavor. The gimmick/twist that the first-person narrative is, in fact, being told to an actual character other than the reader is cute, bu

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, Book 3)

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, Book 3) Seanan McGuire, 2018 Premise: Cora is a new student at the Home for Wayward Children - the school and refuge for those young souls who traveled to other worlds and came back to Earth despite it no longer being their home. Sequel to Every Heart a Doorway . When is novella three a sequel to novella one? When novella two is a prequel. Beneath the Sugar Sky picks up plot threads from the first novella with mixed results, in my opinion. I still love the characters and the world(s), but I found the pace of this one much less compelling. It meanders, introducing characters and ideas and then moving on, almost a travelogue with a goal more than a quest. Cora is a great character, but she is underserved by the plot hinging so directly on previous events that she wasn't present for. It makes her feel like an extra in a story told largely from her perspective. Again, I still really enjoyed this read, but I wasn't nearly as blown

Books About Being a Working Mom

As my maternity leave winds down, I find myself impatient with long fiction and more compelled to seek out books that might help me navigate this new aspect of my life. Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Motherhood Allyson Downey, 2016 Even though I read this book late, and thus skimmed through chapters that no longer applied to me, I’m glad I found this one. From information about planning to take leave and being pregnant at work to discussing the division of household chores and balancing work and childcare, this book is full of concrete advice delivered with good humor. It covers the bases without getting too far into the weeds in a style that’s breezy enough to read when somewhat sleep-deprived. The narration is peppered with personal anecdotes, examples, and quotes. It’s definitely targeted to white-collar office workers, but that works for me. My favorite part of this book might be a brief section about resea

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, Book 2)

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, Book 2) Martha Wells, 2018 Premise: The continuing adventures of a security unit with free will. When your actions and your memory can be controlled by outside forces, how do you understand your own past? Sequel to All Systems Red . While not quite as instantly charming as the first novella, this opens up the world and expands the plot. Murderbot is still a delightful narrator, and in this one, it gets to interact with other AIs and other constructs, as well as humans. The two main plots (Murderbot investigating an event from its past and a cover mission pretending to be a human security specialist) trip along briskly, neither dragging nor moving too fast. The novella is just the right length for the plot, although I look forward to reading the four novellas in one go at some point. 4 stars - A Very Good Book