The Triangle has 10 episodes, all available from The Triangle’s page at Serial Box.

Publisher: Serial Box 2019
Writers: Dan Koboldt, Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Format: eARC
Instead of giving away any spoilers for the ending, I’ll talk about the whole novel.

This was a very good ending to this serialized novel. It tied up most of the story lines but left a possible opening to continued adventures, for some of the characters.

The story’s fast-paced with a lot of mysteries and twists and turns which I enjoyed. I also enjoyed the sci-fi elements a lot, although the ending could have explored them more. Pretty much the only thing that didn’t work for me was the romance. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any chemistry between those characters, it felt like ticking a box of “romance”. The mysteries actually made me read the last three episodes back-to-back because I didn’t want to wait a week between them. 😉

The characters are all competent adults (with the possible exception of McBride although he gets his chances to shine, too) and I always enjoy reading about characters like that. They have some friction but are able to put them aside and concentrate on the task at hand. Marie St. Clair is a local police officer who forced her way to the team in the second episode, which was a good because it and unexpected person to the team. I think McBride could have been used more as a comic relief, though. The POV shifts were sometimes abrupt. The story was told from the POVs of Segarra, St. Clair, Hammond, and Dumont who are the most developed characters, naturally.

A highly entertaining thriller with sci-fi elements.

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Summer TBR.

I have so many books I want to read! But I can’t read them all the same time so here’s what I expect to read:

Currently, I’m reading
1, The Mammoth book of Steampunk Adventures
This short story collection has been on my shelves for at least a couple of years so it’s time to read it. Looks fun and first couple of stories have been enjoyable.

2, Thomas K. Carpenter: Trials of Magic
I’m also reading this ebook about sisters with magical powers.

3, John Vornholt: the Troll King
This is apparently the first book in a children’s fantasy trilogy and I don’t even remember when I got it. I’m again behind on my TBR challenge so I need to get the off the shelves.

4, Martha Wells: Rogue Protocol
I got from the library the third book in the highly entering Murderbot series and I can’t wait to read it.

5, Aliette de Bodard: On a Red Station, Drifting
The first in her science fiction series which I’ve been wanting to try for a couple of years.

6, Aliette de Bodard: In the Vanisher’s Palace
A retelling of Beauty and the Beast but with f/f romance.

7, Rhys Bowen: Her Royal Spyness
This book is from a recent 2 books for 1 credit sale at Audible. It’s humorous spy story set in 1932 Britain.

8, S. A. Chakraborty: The Kingdom of Copper
The second book in a fantasy trilogy. I’m eager to get to it, but it’s over 23 hours long…

9, Theodora Goss: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and I got it from Audible.
10, Kim Newman: Anno Dracula
Another fantasy book I’m really eager to read. It has Dracula as Queen Victoria’s husband!

A stand-alone SF book with time travel.

Publication year: 2014
Format: Audio
Running time: 7 hours 46 minute
Narrator: Kevin T. Collins

Jacob Morgan has been appointment as an adjunct professor of history of science at the University of Virginia and so he’s determined to leave behind his lifelong obsession with Einstein’s final moments. Einstein died in April 18th, 1955 after saying a few words in German which the nurse, who was with him, didn’t understand. He also wrote some equations. However, Jacob is convinced that Einstein wrote instead some sort of confession which could change the world. Despite researching it for 12 years, Jacob hasn’t been able to find out what’s in the note. Now, with a job he loves, he’s ready to stop chasing Einstein’s last words. However, at the campus he meets Eddie Bellington who collects 50s memorabilia. Eddie also knows things about Jacob’s theories which Jacob has never shared with anyone. Eddie hints that he knows something new about Einstein’s secret and despite himself, Jacob is intrigued. Also, Jacob meets a beautiful woman and falls in love at first sight. A short while later, Jacob is fired and when Eddie asks him to visit a man who is supposed to know what Einstein wrote on his deathbed, Jacob agrees. A wild ride begins.

Jacob is the first-person narrator. The time travel in this book squashes the alternate universe theory and makes history (somewhat) mutable. It, of course, makes the story much more immediate but it also opens a can of worms, especially concerning the ending. The story works, as along as you don’t think about it too much. As the characters say “time travel is messy”.

This was a great mixture of fact and fiction. It also has surprisingly small cast of characters which makes it easier to follow the time travel. The only thing I didn’t like was the treatmeant of the story’s only female character, Laura. (Well, ok, the story has another named female character who is Einstein trusted assistant.) Jacob insists on “protecting” Laura by not telling her what’s going on, even when her life in danger. So, she’s left in the dark and even lied to.

Otherwise, I rather enjoyed this story.

Collects issues 1-5 for JLA Rebirth.

Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artists: Bryan Hitch, Tony S. Daniel, Jesus Merino, Sandy Florea, Daniel Hernandez, Scott Hanna, Andy Owens

I’ve become quite skeptical of these rebirths, mainly because the characters don’t change; they’re just younger. That was exactly what happened with the previous DC relaunch where the JLA members met for the first time, again. I guess that’s done in order to attract new, younger readers. Or maybe some old readers feel younger again when reading about younger character. But I like the old continuity and I’m often sorry to see it’s messed with.

While most of the JLA members are the same (Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash) I was delighted to see that two members were different. Superman has apparently died. However, another Superman and his family have come from another dimension. Clark and Lois are married and have a son. Batman is, of course, very suspicious of the new Superman, to the point of excluding him unless he’s very much needed while still wanting to keep Superman as part of JLA. However, that’s pretty much pointless because when we see the (brief) interactions between Lois and Clark, it’s pretty clear that they’re the same characters, with the added responsibility of a son.

Another difference are the Green Lanterns. Apparently, Hal gave his job to Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz who are now the junior members of the League and trying their best to measure up to the more experienced heroes. So, the core group of the same characters trust each other implicitly but the new characters add some uncertainty, but not a lot. It’s still way better than the previous relaunch.

The first issue is a stand-alone, where the JLA gets together to fight a menace from space (yay! I always love those!). The menace turns to be a “Reaper” which is trying to harvest humanity and it’s only the first of many.

The rest of the collection deals with the titular Extinction Machines. Earthquakes are doing damage all over the world, at the same time. JLA struggles to respond. Also, humans around JLA members are behaving strangely and their powers are failing. However, Cyborg finds out that the earthquakes aren’t natural. So the JLA rallies against a very powerful threat.

I rather enjoyed the “new” JLA even though we only get to know the new Superman a little and not the new Lanterns at all. Superman is the only character which is introduced a little, so I don’t recommend this for new readers. (Which is a bit strange for a relaunch.). I enjoyed seeing the heroes struggling against natural forces which isn’t done too often. Essentially, the longer story feels like a blockbuster movie, going forward at a breathless pace.

The Triangle has 10 episodes, all available from The Triangle’s page at Serial Box.

Publisher: Serial Box 2019
Writers: Dan Koboldt, Mindy McGinnis, and Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Format: eARC

After tragedies and revelations, our intrepid heroes are formulating a plan to get away from the island. However, that means the Russians must be convinced to help and they aren’t likely to do that. Segarra talks to the Russian submarine captain like a man to man, a commander to another who wants what’s best for his men. It seems to work and the group starts to build a raft from the remains of the boats. However, one young man has revenge on his mind and he steals the one pistol the group has.

The rash actions of one young man might just undue the fragile understanding between Segarra and the Russian commander. Worse, it might end all their dreams of returning to home.

This episode cranks up the tension again. Even though we might have most of the answers, our heroes are far from safe.

The first book in the Daevabad fantasy trilogy inspired by Middle-Eastern folklore.

Publication year: 2017
Format: Audio
Running time: 19 hours 36 minute
Narrator: Soneela Nankani

Nahri is a young street hustler. She poses as a soothsayer and a healer who can summon and banish spirits. But it’s all just for show; she doesn’t believe it. She lives in 18th century Cairo which has been invaded by the Franks who fight Turks over the ownership of Egypt whose people they despise. She’s an orphan; her parents died when she was young, leaving nothing. She speaks many languages and dreams of being a real doctor.

But when she performs a mock-summoning, something very strange happens: she summons a real daeva, a powerful spirit. That act also brings strange and strong enemies who can even summon the dead. Nahri is forced to trust Dara, the daeva, who is furious at her and put her down all the time. But Dara also says that he knows what Nahri is, so she’s intrigued almost despite herself. However, Dara says that the only place were Nahri can be safe is Daevabad, the city of the daeva. Despite her protests, he essentially kidnaps her, and takes her to a wild flying carpet ride.

The other POV character is Prince Alizayd, or Ali. He’s the younger son of Daevabad’s king. He’s also a djinn, a magical being, like all his family and most of the people who live in the city and country. He’s lived and grown up in the military and so has lived quite a sheltered life. He’s aware, of course, of the injustices in the city and has tried to help in his own way. The shafits are people who are half-human and the djinn oppress them mercilessly: they can’t leave but they also can’t work. Ali is trying to help them but because of his family, he must conceal himself. But then things go terribly wrong and in the end, Ali is summoned to live in the palace.

This is a very ambitious work with very complex world-building. The history of this world is woven with history, especially Islamic history. The djinns are divided into lots of fractions and races, which complicated the reading. Apparently, the print book has a glossary but they audio doesn’t. The writer also uses occasional Arabic words for clothing. This isn’t a book you can just breeze through. However, this also means that much of the book is spent exploring these cultures and tensions.

Ali and Nahri are very distinct from each other; one might call them even opposites at the start. Ali is a very religious young man and a dutiful son to the king. He’s lived almost monastic life and scorns the pleasures his station would give him. Nahri has lived on the street almost all her life. She hasn’t had anything that Ali takes for granted. Yet, they’re both bright, curious people. They’re also loyal and want good for other people. Nahri is a very pragmatic person while Ali is an idealist.

Dara is a very interesting character. He’s very old and has spent centuries as a slave, so his outlook is quite different from the others.

For the most part, I enjoyed the book and the complexities of the djinns. However, I didn’t care for the start of a romance because I didn’t see at all (except that as a case of Stockholm syndrome). For me, there was also the disconnect between Islamic religion being younger than some of the characters who are supposedly following it. The stories about Djinn are also older than that religion. Devas are divine, other-worldly beings from Hinduism and Buddhism.

The ending leaves everything wide open. I already have the second book.

The first short story in the historical (fantasy) Avon Calling serial.

Publication year: 2017
Format: ebook
Publisher: SpearPoint Press
Page count: 33 (at Amazon)

Avon Calling serial is set in the 1940s New York. At a first glance, Betty Jones has everything a middle-class woman could want: she’s a stay-at-home mom for two kids and has an adoring husband. Sometimes she sells Avon’s cosmetics products. Yet, she has a side that her family doesn’t know about. Betty can hear other people’s thoughts and has formidable combat skills. She also has a troubled past and has changed her name.

This was a great starting story: it introduced Betty and her world and yet left a lot of questions unanswered. We find out that Betty’s mother also had the same ability and that she was cruelly used.

In this story, Betty goes to sell the cosmetics to a woman she knows but finds another woman, who has been battered by her boyfriend. Betty smiles and pretends not to notice, but when the evening comes, she pays a visit to the boyfriend and his small band of drug dealers.

I found the combination of cosmetics and Betty’s secrets surprising but also appropriate. Cosmetics can be used as a mask, to change a woman to appear more appealing to men and also to other women. It can be an armor, to shield a woman from the outside world or a way to fit in. Seeling cosmetics is also a great way for her to meet women who need help. Betty definitely has two sides and she works hard to fit in as mom and wife while going out at night to kick the backsides of cruel men.

Season 1 collection has ten episodes.