December 2018

The seventh book in the ”Diving” universe science fiction series.

Publication year: 2018
Format: Audio
Running time: 12 hours 51 minutes
Narrator: Jennifer van Dyck

Just like the other books in the series, this one is also made up of several novellas, among them Dix and two set in Coop’s and Yash’s pasts.

When starship Ivoire jumped into fold space and was stranded 5000 years into the future, Captain Jonathan “Coop” Cooper and engineer Yash Zarlengo were just two of it’s crew. Some of the crew left but most are working for the Lost Souls Corporation which tried to find out what happened to the Fleet that the Ivoire was part of. In the previous novella “Runabout”, Yash got a lot of data and she’s returned to the Corporation’s headquarters to analyze it.

Five years ago Coop’s second in command, Dix Pompiono, was desperate to return to his own time. When he finally realizes that that’s not likely to happen, ever, he kills himself. Yash strongly suspects that he also tampered with the ship’s very dangerous anacapa drive. Coop evacuates the ship and they start to work, looking for any clues.

In the ”present” time, Coop and Yash analyze the data from the runabout with single-minded obsession. Eventually, they get clues to another base. The book also has two long flashbacks, individual novellas, about Coop’s and Yash’s past. Coop’s section (Lieutenant Tightass) is his first assignment on a dignity class vessel, which tries to save other DV vessels which have vanished. The captain seems to be lax and so is her crew. Yash’s flashback (Advanced Anacapa Theory) happens during her time at school when she’s learning to fix anacapa drives.

Many of the threads in the previous books lead here: what Coop and Yash find. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the flashbacks and the search wasn’t that interesting but things picked up near the end. I guess I should’ve relistened the previous books so that they would be fresh in my mind.

Coop and Yash are the POV characters and Boss is only mentioned a couple of times. To my surprise, I didn’t really miss Boss. Of course, the previous books also didn’t have Boss because they’re set in different time periods.

We don’t get all the answers in this book, indeed we get some more questions about the present.

A very good addition to the series and I’m intrigued to know what happens next.

1. Tell us how many miles you made it up your mountain (# of books read). If you’ve planted your flag on the peak, then tell us, take a selfie, and celebrate (and wave!). Even if you were especially athletic and have been sitting atop your mountain for months, please check back in and remind us how quickly you sprinted up that trail. And feel free to tell us about any particularly exciting book adventures you’ve had along the way.

I managed to reach my goal of Mount Blanc or 24 books near the end of December. While most of the books were two or three stars, I gave four stars (from five) to seven books:

Lee Killough: Deadly Silents
Set on an alien planet where the original inhabitants are telepathic.

Max Gladstone: Three Parts Dead
A new author and series for me. I will continue with it.

Kerri L. Hughs, ed.: Fiction River: Alchemy and Steam
Another wonderful short story collection. This one focuses on steampunk and magic.

Elizabeth Peters: The Serpent on the Crown
I love the Amelia Peabody historical mystery series and it was a treat to visit “old friends.”

Patrick Weekes: The Prophecy Con
Patrick Weekes: The The Paladin Caper
Books two and three in a fantasy trilogy which is essentially Ocean’s 11 in a fantasy world.

James S. A. Corey: Caliban’s War
The second book in the excellent Expanse science fiction series.

And of course N. K. Jemisin: The Stone Sky which is an excellent ending to a great (if grim) series. I gave it full five stars.

Thanks very much for hosting, Bev! I’m joining the challenge again in 2019 because I still have lots of books on my shelves.

The first book in the Q-Continuum Star Trek: the Next Generation trilogy. Also number 47 in the ST:TNG book series.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 271

The book is set a couple of months after the movie First Contact so this isn’t quite the ST:TNG crew I’m used to: Data has an emotion chip, Geordi has eyes, Worf is on DS9, and the ship is the Enterprise-E which doesn’t have any families on board. The new chief of security is Lieutenant Baeta Leyoro who is quite aggressive for a Starfleet officer.

The book starts with a mysterious male being who wants to be let out from somewhere.

The Enterprise has been assigned to a mission to breach the galactic barrier which has only been done before by the original Enterprise. It’s an energy and psychic barrier which not only prevents ships from passing through but also makes the humanoids inside insane. However, a Betazoid scientist has come up with a way to breach it with a wormhole and Starfleet has ordered the Enterprise to try it. The experiment is a continuation of previous scientists’ work, as seen on DS9 episode “Rejoined”.

The scientist in question, Dr. Lem Faal, is suffering from fatal Iverson’s disease. Also, his wife died in a freak accident a few months ago and his two young children are with him on the Enterprise. Faal is focused on his research so much that he’s almost ignoring the kids. While the young one is too young to be a POV character, the older one, Milo, resents that his father is so focused on his work.

When the ship is only a few days from the barrier, Q shows up and orders them to stay away. To complicate matter even more, his mate Q and their young son q also show up. Also, the mysterious, gaseous beings called the Calamaraine attack the ship.

The story has lots of references to previous events, from Q’s very first appearance to his Voyager and DS9 episodes. Other past events are also mentioned, such as Troi’s pregnancy. The female Q and the child q are from the Voyager episodes. Picard even thinks that the female Q looks familiar. I’m pretty sure that it’s a reference to the actress Suzie Plakson who also played Doctor Selar and the Klingon ambassador K’Ehylar. Lieutenant Barclay is a significant secondary character.

If you like Q, like I do, you’re probably going to enjoy the book and the series. However, if you can’t stand Q, stay away. The second half of the book shows Q as a teenager billions of years ago.

The book ends in a cliffhanger and nothing is resolved.

Here’s the post where I gather links to all books, novellas, and comics I’ll read 2019. And a challenge summary.

Action/adventure (5) 3
action heroine (15) 10
comics (24) 25
Helsinki library’s (helmet) challenge (50) 9
Mount TBR (24) 15
Pick&Mix (20) 20

1, F.J. Blair: The Delivery of Flesh (helmet)
2, James Lovegrove: Firefly: Big Damn Hero (p&m, helmet)
3, Martha Wells: Artificial condition (p&m)
4, H. G. Wells: The Time Machine (p&m, helemt)
5, Zara Altair: The Roman Heir (helmet)
6, Rebecca Moesta, ed: Fiction River: Superpowers (tbr, helmet)
7, Jules Verne: The Journey to the Center of the Earth (p&m)

1, Rogue & Gambit: Ring of Fire
2, Avengers Prime

8, Resa Nelson: Berserk (helmet)
9, Zara Altair: The Vellum Scribe
10, James S. A. Corey: Abaddon’s Gate (tbr)
11, V. E. Schwab: A Darker Shade of Magic (p&m)
12, Elizabeth Peters: Trojan Gold (tbr)

3, X-Men Gold vol. 1: Back to Basics
4, Siege
5, Battle Angel Alita, vol 1

13,Edgar Rice Burroughs: Tanar of Pellucidar (tbr)
14, Neil Clarke, ed.: The Final Frontier (p&m)
15, Alis S. Rasmussen: The Labyrinth Gate (tbr)
16, Alison Morton: Successio (ah, a/a)
18, Greg Cox: Q-Zone (p&m)
19, Greg Cox: Q-Strike (p&m)

6, Wonder Woman vol 1: Who is Wonder Woman?
7, Wonder Woman vol. 1: Blood
8, Wonder Woman vol. 2: Guts
9, Battle Angel Alita, vol 2: Tears of an Angel
10, Battle Angel Alita, vol 3: Killing Angel

20, Wilkie Martin: Inspector Hobbs and the Blood
21, Trish Heinrich: Fahrenheit’s Ghost (helmet)
22, David Mack: Desperate Hours (p&m)
23, Mary Robinette Kowal: the Calculating Stars (tbr, helmet)
24, The Triangle: Episode 1: The Gathering Storm by Dan Koboldt
25, Tanya Huff: Enchantment Emporium (p&m)

11, Mr and Mrs X vol 1: Love and Marriage (action heroine)
12, Wonder Woman vol. 3: The Circle
13, Wonder Woman vol. 4: Ends of the Earth
14, Wonder Woman vol. 5: Rise of the Olympian
15, Star Trek: TNG: Mirror Broken

26, The Triangle: Episode 2: Mr. Babbit by Mindy McGinnis
27, Alison Morton: Aurelia
28, The Triangle: Episode 3: the Moon People by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
29, Mary Robinette Kowal: The Fated Sky (tbr)
30, The Triangle: Episode 4: We are not alone by Dan Koboldt
31, Kat Richardson: Greywalker (TBR)
32, Genevieve Cogman: The Mortal Word (p&m)
33, Nikki Haverstock: Of Mages and Murders
34, Nikki Haverstock: Which mage moved the cheese?
35, The Triangle: Episode 5: Castaways by Mindy McGinnis

Wyrd and Wonder
1, Wyrd and Wonder post: Unreal locations
2, Wyrd and Wonder: Fish out of water

16, Wonder Woman vol. 6: Warkiller
17, Wonder Woman vol. 7: Contagion
18, Avengers: The Complete Celestial Madonna Saga
19, X-Men Red vol 1: The Hate Machine
20, X-Men Red vol 2: Waging Peace
21, Star Trek: TNG: Through the Mirror

36, The Triangle: Episode 6: Dark Demonstrations by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
37, Fiction River: Last Stand (mount tbr)
38, Hayley Camille: A Woman’s Work is Never Done
39, The Triangle: Episode 8: Revelations by Dan Koboldt
40, S. A. Chakraborty: The City of Brass (p&m)
41, The Triangle: Episode 9: What was lost by Mindy McGinnis
42, Irving Belatche: Einstein’s Secret
43, The Triangle: Episode 7: The Cold War by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
44, The Triangle: Episode 10: False Intentions by Dan Koboldt
45, Michael Jan Friedman: Star Trek: TNG: Planet X (tbr)

22, Lady Mechanika vol 1: the Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse
23, Justice League vol. 1: The Extinction Machine

46, Thomas K. Carpenter: Trials of Magic
47, Sean Wallace ed.: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures (tbr)
48, Martha Wells: Rogue Protocol (p&m)
49, John Vornholt: The Troll King (tbr)
50, Rhys Bowen: Her Royal Spyness
51, Aliette de Bodard: On Red Station, Drifting (p&m)
52, John Vornholt: The Troll Queen (TBR)
54, Aliette de Bodard: In the Vanishers’ Palace (p&m, helmet)

24, Superman/Fantastic Four: The Infinite destruction
25, Aquaman vol 1: Drowning
26, The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman

55, Charles Veley: The Last Moriarty
56, Theodora Goss: The Strange Case of Alchemist’s Daughter (p&m)
57, Nikki Haverstock: Death on the Range
58, Peter Cawdron: Maelstrom

27, Tokyo Ghoul vol. 1
28, Gambit Classic vol. 1

59, Tim Lebbon: Alien: Out of the shadows
60, Elizabeth Bear: Ancestral Night (p&m)
61, Kevin J. Anderson, ed: Fiction River: Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline (tbr)
62, Becky Chambers: Record of a Spaceborn Few (p&m)

29, Cloak and Dagger: Shadows and light
30, Uncanny X-Men vol 1: Disassembled
31, Shuri vol. 1: The Search for Black Panther


63, Michael Mammay: Planetside (p&m)
64, John Vornholt: The Troll Treasure (tbr)
65, Roderick Thorp: Nothing lasts forever
66, John Scalzi: Head On
67, James Patterson: Along Came a Spider

32, Lady Mechanika vol. 2: Tablet of Destinies
33, X-Men Gold vol. 2: Evil Empires

68, Rachel Caine: Stillhouse Lake
69, Jack Vance: City of the Chash
70, Fiction River: No Humans Allowed (tbr)
71, Jack Vance: Servants of the Wankh
72, C. J. Cherryh: The Foreigner tbr
73, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Tower

Top 5 favorite male characters in science fiction movies and TV-shows
Top 10 favorite time travel stories

35, Green Lantern vs Aliens
36, Batman/Aliens
37, Lady Mechanika vol. 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey
38, Superman versus Aliens
39, Skyward vol. 1: My Low-G Life

74, H. Y. Hanna: All-Butter ShortDead
75, S. D. Perry: Star Trek: DS9: Avatar book one of two (tbr)
76, H. Y. Hanna: Tea with Milk and Murder
77, H. Y. Hanna: A Scone to die for
78, Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason: The Trinity Paradox
79, S. D. Perry: Star Trek: DS9: Avatar book two of two (tbr)
80, Greg Cox: Q-Space
81, C. S. Lewis: Till We Have Faces
82, Peter O’Donnell: Pieces of Modesty (tbr)
83, Tanya Huff: Enchantment Emporium
84, Nick Thacker: The Depths

40, Cloak and Dagger: Lost and Found
41, Mr and Mrs X vol 1: Gambit and Rogue forever
42, Wonder Woman/Conan
43, Spider-Girl vol 1: Legacy

Books not reviewed:
Virpi Hämeen-Anttila: Yön sydän on jäätä
Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg: The Heist
S. A. Chakraborty: Kingdom of copper
Tim Peake: Ask an Astronaut

A prose novel with Avengers characters and many of their enemies.

Publication year: 2018
Format: print
Publisher: Titan books
Page count: 348

This is a stand-alone novel. The cover hints that these are the movie Avengers. While the five Avengers from the first movie are indeed the prominent characters, later joined by the Vision and the Scarlet Witch, there are a couple of hints that they’re actually the comic book characters. Specifically, Wanda is referred to as a veteran Avenger and her powers aren’t the movie powers but the mix of hex and magic she uses in the comics. Also, some of the villains are clearly their comic book versions, not the movie versions.

The writing style assumes that the reader is already familiar with the characters, their backgrounds and powers; they’re not introduced at all. Instead, we’re plunged straight into action with every character.

Captain America is fighting Baron Wolfgang from Strucker (with his Satan’s Claw not seen in the movies) and Hydra in Berlin. He’s assisted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and resources. At the same time, Hawkeye and Black Widow have just arrived to Savage Land where A.I.M. is doing something big. Our heroes must survive the Savage Land dinosaurs and then infiltrate the A.I.M. base. Meanwhile, Tony Stark is dealing with Ultron’s attack in Washington DC. Ultron has managed to jam communications, so the Avengers can’t communicate with each other and nobody else can communicate, either. Thor is in Siberia trying to deal with a magical attack and S.H.I.E.L.D has called Bruce Banner into Madripool as an expert scientist rather than as the Hulk.

Each group is on their own because of the communications blackout and dealing with a major threat to the world. However, the villains haven’t coordinated their attack with each other so they’re somewhat at a disadvantage. Of course, something even more sinister is going on.

The POVs of the book are all from the Avengers so we don’t see the enemies POV. Each chapter follows one hero or a group of heroes and is full of action. In that way, it’s similar to many comics. However, I think that some chapters are more blood-thirsty than comics, where the heroes go out of their way to avoid killing anyone. Here, Natasha and Clint kill many A.I.M. minions.

The cover claims that each of the Avengers are on his or her own, but only Thor is really on his own, for a while at least. The others are supported by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents

If you know the Avengers and are a fan of the comics, I recommend reading this. However, don’t expect anything deeper or any character development. A very entertaining and action-packed book.

Happy holidays to everyone who’s celebrating!

The 12th book in the October “Toby” Daye urban fantasy series.

Publication year: 2018
Format: Audio
Running time: 11 hours 29 minutes
Narrator: Mary Robinette Kowal

This are not well in Toby’s small found family. The two people who were kidnapped in the previous story are still trying to recover from their nightmarish experiences. One of them is Toby’s beloved Tybalt, who has closed himself off from Toby. He doesn’t talk to her and he doesn’t even visit her anymore. Toby desperately wants to help but she doesn’t know what to do.

Then her ex boyfriend Cliff and his wife Miranda come to Toby’s door, accusing her of kidnapping Gillian, Toby and Cliff’s daughter. Gillian goes to Berkley collage and she’s disappeared, leaving behind her car. When Toby’s recovered enough to spring into action, she promises to do everything she can to find her daughter. Even though Gillian is now a human, Toby suspects that someone is trying to hurt her through Gillian. Cliff and Miranda have come during the morning which is a bad time for the fae. Toby still wakes her squire Quentin and her twin/death omen May demands to come along, too.

At the collage, they find Gillian’s strange roommate who apparently is part-fae and hero worships Toby. Toby and her friends start to really dislike her but she brings them to Gillian’s abandoned car. Then things get a lot stranger and worse.

I love Toby’s extended family. This time, they’re somewhat scattered which makes things a bit harder for Toby. But she’s willing to do anything for her daughter, of course. And so will May who has all of Toby’s memories and so in a way, she’s also Gillian’s mother. May’s girlfriend Jazz was also kidnapped and she’s also suffering but we don’t see her much.

This book is more somber is tone. But we get to find out some very interesting things about people close to Toby and about how the current relations between the fae and the humans came to be. Toby’s life changes again. Also, things from previous books come back to haunt our heroes. However, the book also has lot of exposition which felt rather needless.

This is another good addition to the series, even if it’s not one of the best. Once again, I wanted to reread the series to both enjoy them close together and also to pick up any clues I missed.

The second book in the Tensorate fantasy series of novellas.

Publication year: 2017
Format: print
Publisher: TOR
Page count: 211

The first novella followed the childhoods of twins Mokoya and Akeha, and Akeha’s life afterward. This story begins four years after the tragic ending of The Black Tides of Heaven.

Mokoya couldn’t continue her life after that tragedy. She ran from her husband and her life and she joined a ragged band of misfits who are struggling against the tyrannical rule of Mokoya’s mother, the Protector, and also hunting monsters called the naga. Mokoya took with her a large, flying raptor whom she calls Phoenix. She rides it. Mokoya used to be a prophet, working for her ruthless mother. But the tragedy took away her visions. Now, she’s a broken woman who can’t bear the company of her husband or live anywhere familiar.

The band Mokoya joined is led by Adi, an older and very plain spoken woman. They are told that a gigantic naga is approaching the near-by mining city. They also find out that the naga has been magically (or through the Slack as magic is called in this world) altered. Mokoya is hunting the naga alone, against Adi’s commands. When she encounters one naga, she thinks that’s their target and she sets the band against it. However, that naga has a human rider, mysterious and alluring Rider. Mokoya isn’t monogamous and when Rider tempts her, she goes to their bed. (Rider is a non-binary person, using the pronoun “they”.) However, the gigantic naga attacks the city, and soon Mokoya is told that Rider is the one controlling the huge naga. Mokoya isn’t sure what to think.

Mokoya is a broken woman. She’s faced the worse thing that can happen to a parent and it broke her on the inside and outside. She’s reckless and often goes out alone, especially to danger. She can’t accept the tragedy and did something which others don’t approve of. Her husband is patient with her, willing to wait but she can barely look at him.

I really enjoyed the characters in this novella. It has a lot of women which is still pretty rare in fantasy. Blunt-spoken Adi was my favorite. Rider is a mystery, almost an ethereal person, with their own past and goals. The story has also women as bad guys. The world-building is just as delightful as in the first book and we find out a bit more about the Slack and it’s use.

Mokoya’s twin Akeha from the previous book is a significant secondary character. He’s very angry with the world and with their mother. He lives in the mining town, as leader of the local raja’s security forces.

The story deals with grief and grieving, and also with trust. It’s very different from the first book, both structurally and thematically. Like the first novella, it’s also quite different from most other fantasy books that I’ve read.

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

All of them! I’d love to be able to read all the books now.

Alas, I’m not the Flash nor do I own a time-traveling device so I can’t. So, these are the books I’m currently planning on reading next. I usually don’t reread much but this winter I feel I want to do some rereading in addition to reading new books.

1, Shadow by Anne Logston
Logston’s fantasy books are short, funny, and delightful. I need more of them in my life. However, she apparently doesn’t write anymore so I’m going to reread some of them.

2, Searching for the Fleet by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The next book in her Diving science fiction series.

3, Abaddon’s Gate by James. C. A. Corey
The third book in the Expanse SF series. But it’s another 500+ page and I haven’t got much reading time over the holidays so it’s going to have to wait for a while. (Except that I’ve already started it; I need to know what happened after that cliffhanger ending of Caliban’s War.)

4, The Final Frontier edited by Neil Clarke
A SF short story collection about exploring space. Apparently inspired by Star Trek.

5, Inspector Hobbs and the Blood by Wilkie Martin
The first book in a cozy murder mystery fantasy series.

6, The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff
I’ve greatly enjoyed Huff’s previous books and I really want to try this new series.

7, Super Sales on Super Heroes by William D. Arand
Another first in a series, this time a humorous superhero series.

8, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
A rereading of a fantasy series I really liked when I was younger.

9, A Star Trek: TNG book
Another reread. I haven’t yet decided which one.

10, The Descent of Monsters by J. Y. Yang
The third novella in the Tensorate fantasy series, happily also available in the library.
I also need to read more of Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series, more Aliette de Bodard, and I still haven’t gotten the newest books from Steven Brust.

A Star Trek: the Next Generation novel.

Publication year: 2003
Format: print
Publisher: Pocket Books
Page count: 262

Enterprise-D has been sent to the planet Thanet. It has only recently developed warp drive and it’s not a member of the Federation. Indeed, it’s dominant culture didn’t recognize species from different worlds until recently. That same culture “knows” that time is cyclical; every five thousand years the culture will be destroyed and then rise again, exactly the same. And a comet is speeding towards Thanet. The Enterprise can easily destroy it. The question is, should it? That will destroy the culture anyway. Starfleet has left the decision to Captain Picard. Things get even more complicated, when Troi senses someone is alive inside the comet.

Also, the holy book of Thanetians tells that false prophets will emerge right before the end of the world. So, the god-king of Thanet doesn’t go to the Enterprise himself but instead sends one of his undersecretaries as an ambassador. While the new ambassador has sometimes been less than pious, he thinks that the Enterprise’s crew are false prophets trying to lure him to heresy.

This is a story of cultures clashing. Federation’s culture is accommodating to others and their beliefs. Unfortunately, the Thanetians’ culture is the opposite. It’s very rigid with seventeen castes and hundreds of sub-castes, rigorous differences between genders and sub-castes. Each sub-caste can eat only specific foods and wear specific clothing. Each sub-caste has only specific vocations open to them. For example, some people are born as beggars or prostitutes and nothing can change that. Yet, all share the belief in the cyclical nature of time and almost everyone is looking forward to the end of the world because that’s how they’ve been brought up. They also have very strict heresy laws and execute people who break them by behavior or speech.

The book has many POV character. In addition to Picard, Troi, and Data, there are several Thanetians. Lieutenant Simon Tarses is another major POV character. He’s ¼ Romulan from the episode “The Drumhead” from the fourth season. He feels like an outsider on the Enterprise and when he meets the Thanetian ambassador’s teenaged daughter, he’s strongly attracted to her. Another new POV character is acting ensign Tormord Engvig who is aboard the Enterprise because he won an essay contest. He hero worships the crew which is rather fun.

The story is heavily focused on Thanetian culture and some of the characters from it. Unfortunately, their culture wasn’t very interesting to me. We find out the history of Thanet and their ancestors’ war. Unfortunately, it also left quite large questions unanswered. The dilemma of if Picard should allow the Thanetians to be destroyed because saving them would bring chaos to the planet, anyway, was actually pretty interesting. However, the population at large aren’t told about the choice; it rests on Picard’s shoulders.

This is a quick read for TNG fans.

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