March 2022


A stand-alone science fiction book.

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Publication year: 2018

Format: Audio

Running time: 13 hours
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller

Nika Rik Terri is a famous body-modification artist. She redesigns people’s bodies and sometimes heals them, too, using machines made for it. She considers it both an art and a science. She’s obsessed with her work and has even invented the extraordinary machine that can put one person’s mind into the body of another. Unfortunately, she fell in love with a smooth-talking, ruthless criminal who treated her badly, and she plans to run from him. Then a mobster comes into her shop and forces Nika to use her machine so that the mobster will use Nika’s body to assassinate someone. Nika realizes she needs to run right then. On the way, she stumbles into a beginning body-modder Snow. She helps him against a violent man, but they both need to run.

Josune Arriola is a junior engineer aboard the cargo spaceship Road to the Goberlings. She keeps her head down and works as well as she can. But she has a secret of her own: she’s actually a member of the legendary exploration ship the Hassim. Her captain has sent her undercover to the Road so Josune can tell her captain where the Road is and the two ships can meet covertly.

Hammond Roystan is the captain of the Road. He is supposed to be happy ferrying goods around space, but slowly Josune starts to realize he’s not what he appears to be.

But then the Road encounter Hassim, drifting in space. Someone has attacked it. The Road’s crew are salivating at the chance to loot it, but Josune is heartbroken for her former crewmates. But the Hassim’s treasury of knowledge of undiscovered planets makes the Road a target for powerful enemies and also some of the Road’s crew members want more than just their share.

This was mostly a fast-paced space adventure with mystery. Nika and Josune are the two POV characters. Nika, Josune, and Roystan all have secrets to hide while they run from their enemies. The rest of the crew are entertaining, as well. For example, Jacq is a cook and makes special meals for his captain. I also liked the growing relationship between the beginner body-modder Snow and Nika. Her blunt manner and way of doing bodymods scandalizes Snow who is trying to soften her words and eventually even stop people from relying on Nika.

Nika is a very single-minded character. She speaks bluntly, seeing no reason to hide her skills or interest in other people’s modifications. Her obsession with trying to ”improve” people can feel offputting, even fatphobic. Josune is a seasoned fighter. Hassim was a target for greedy people and companies, so all the crew must be capable fighters. She’s attracted to Roystan but doesn’t believe he cares about her.

The first chapters are slower when Nika is doing her body-mod thing and we get a lot of details about it. The implications of being able to change your appearance on a whim, as long as you have the money of course, are fascinating. However, we don’t see enough of society to really see the impact. The focus is on the Road and its crew. Most of the power seems to be in the hands of 27 companies and freelancers like the Hassim or the Road must be constantly on their guard. Laws are only followed in legal zones but even they aren’t safe.

This was a fun, light space adventure. It’s a stand-alone, but has a sequel.

The first in a cozy mystery series.

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Publishing year: 2017

Format: Print

Finnish translator: Taina Wallin

Page count: 142

Finnish publisher: Tammi

Sarah Edwards has recently moved back to the small town of Cherringham where she grew up and where her parents live. She’s a web designer. She’s also a divorced mother of two teens. When she was younger, her best friend was Sammi Jackson, before Sammi moved to London and they lost touch. But now, Sammi’s body is found in the river. The police think it’s a suicide or an accident, but Sarah doesn’t believe that. She meets Jack Brennan who lives in a houseboat on the river. Jack is a former NYPD detective who moved to Cherringham after his wife’s death. Together they start to figure out just what happened to Sammi.

This was a nice, quick read. It’s a cozy mystery where Sarah and Jack talk to people and get to know each other, too. The characters are entertaining small-town English people, and the mystery isn’t too complex. Jack is reluctant to interfere at first, thinking that the local police and the local people aren’t too happy to see him meddle. He’s right, but he still can’t resist a mystery. Sarah is determined to find out what happened to her friend and she finds that she enjoys the detective work.

Apparently, the series first came out as ebooks in English and in Finnish, too. I have the omnibus version of the first three books.

Storybundle is running two very interesting bundles: Aliens Among Us is focused on aliens and has four books for five dollars: Aliens Among Us edited by Dean Wesley Smith, Galactic Thunder by Cameron Cooper, Universal Language by Robert Jeschonek, and The Soul Within by Rebecca M. Senese.

The full bundle has six more books: Alien Vibrations by Dean Wesley Smith, Alien Influences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dove Season Books 1-3 by Robin Brande (StoryBundle Exclusive), Azureseas: Cantrell’s War by Raymund Eich, The A’lle Mutation by Marcelle Dube, and Restricted Species by Kari Kilgore.

14 more days.

The 2022 World SciFi Bundle has science fiction books and collection from around the world: Sinopticon edited by Xueting Ni, BloodBusters by Francesco Verso, The Future God of Love by Dilman Dila, On a Red Station Drifting by Aliette de Bodard.

The full bundle has six more: Northern Wraith by Thilde Kold Holdt, Incomplete Solutions by Wole Talabi, Love. An Archaeology by Fabio Fernandes, Gorel and the Pot-Bellied God by Lavie Tidhar, The Cabinet by Un-Su Kim, and Automatic Eve by Rokuro Inui.

21 days to go.

Humble Bundle has an awesome Leading Ladies comics bundle! It has comics with women as the main characters: Saga, Monstress, Bitch Planet, Paper Girls, Lady Mechanika, Rat Queens, I hate Fairyland, and Wayward!

6 more days

Their other big bundle is Award-winning Manga which has Princess Jellyfish, Space Brothers, Knights of Sidonia, A Condition called Love, Blue Period, and lots of other manga from various genres.

22 more days.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week.

Whether you’re a fan of short or long series (or both!), most readers prefer to dive into a series. However, where does one even start with how many book series there are?! To “help a friend out,” what are some first in book series you would recommend to friends?

I read a lot of series so it would have been easier to give the first book in a series in every genre I read. 🙂 But here are some of my favorite long series:

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The first in a humorous historical mystery series. Set in Victorian times, Amelia Peabody is a smart and independent woman who loaths the restrictions of her culture. Fortunately, she has enough money that she can travel to Egypt. She loves the ancient Egypt, but as a woman she can’t train as an Egyptologist. Fortunately she and her friend Evelyn find a couple of handsome Egyptologists who really need help. Also Amelia and Evelyn must solve the mystery of the mummy.

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The Vorkosigan series is very long and it can be hard to know which book to start with. I prefer Cordelia’s Honor. It’s a omnibus of the first two books in the series, in the internal chronological order. The series is character focused science fiction.

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Another science fiction series that also has terrific characters. The main character, known only as Boss, is a loner who loves to ”dive” ancient spaceships. They’re so old that humanity has forgotten the technology and she loves to unravel their mysteries.

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Another long series, this time urban fantasy with fae. October “Toby” Daye is a half-human, half-faerie woman; her father was a human and her mother is a Daoine Sidhe. She lives with her fiance and young daughter in San Francisco. In the mortal world, she’s a private investigator and in the faerie world, she’s a Knight in her own right which is almost unheard of for a half-blood. Then her liege lord’s wife and daughter are kidnapped and Toby is given the task to find them. She follows a suspect but unfortunately, he knows about her and changes her into a fish. For fourteen years. When she finally gets back to her human form, the world around her has changed. While she starts as a loner, she gathers a family of good friends around her.

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Detective inspector Chen works in Singapore Three which is one of the franchise cities in China. The city is huge and bustling and has also quite a lot of supernatural activity: ghosts, demons, manifestations of goddesses, exorcisms. Chen is the police officer in charge of investigating the supernatural. Unfortunately, most of his fellow officers don’t believe in the supernatural and so Chen is shunned by them and even his superior officer doesn’t really trust him.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, the topic is Top Ten Books With an Adjective In the Title.

This was a fun prompt. Here are some that I’ve read:

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Dean Wesley Smith has a very interesting Kickstarter project: Rescue Two. It’s a new book in his science fiction series, Seeders.

The project is already funded and reached the fourth stretch goal. That means three more books for us readers, two of them in Smith’s Earth Protection League SF series, and several Pop-Up classes for writers. This time the Pop-Ups focus on SF world-building.

The project has also two very interesting workshops for writers: Writing Idea Fiction and Writing about Time.

10 days to go.

The 12th Star Trek: TNG book.

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Publisher: Pocket Books

Publishing year: 1990

Format: Print

Page count: 276

I read this book when it first came out and even remembered something from it. I think it’s set during the second season.

A long-dead species made an artificial world that is now called Kirlos. It has both a Federation embassy and a K’Vin Hegemony embassy. Yes, this book introduces a couple of new humanoid species which we never see again.

The K’Vin are a military race, bent on conquest. Currently, they have an uneasy alliance with the Federation because they don’t like how the Federation “meddles”. The Sullurh are an unassuming race that serves both the Federation and the K’Vin embassies.

Kirlos has one underground city. It also has a huge archeological dig. The leading archeologist asks for Geordi LaForge, in the hope that his VISOR can reveal something. Geordi, Data, and Worf beam down to the dig. Meanwhile, the Enterprise-D receives a distress signal and must leave the Kirlos to protect a small colony against an attack by mysterious spaceships.

On Kirlos, someone puts explosives in the Federation embassy. The next day, someone bombs the K’Vin embassy. The civilian population on both sides fears for their safety and needs someone to blame. The K’Vin blame the three Enterprise crewmembers.

This was a solid, quick read. Geordi, Worf, and Data have a few amusing adventures on Kirlos before the tension starts to rise. They’re cut off from the other crew, which was a bit unusual. The Federation ambassador is Stephaleh, an elderly Andorian, which was interesting because I haven’t seen Andorians much. The two ambassadors have a good relationship which is, of course, strained when the attacks start. The real villains aren’t seen until near the end. Unfortunately, the archeological dig wasn’t seen much.

This is a fun meme that Tammy who keeps Books, Bones & Buffy blog came up with.

First book read in 2022

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This was the book of the month in the Action and Adventure GoodReads group. Appropriate because I read a lot of A&A books.

(First) second review posted in 2022

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The first review was about Deep Six. Paladin’s Strenght was a delightful fantasy romance and just what I needed to read in January.

First book of 2022 by a debut author

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This science fiction romance was published in December 2021. Not really my type of book but I’m sure romance readers will like it a lot more.

First book of 2022 by ”new to me” author:

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This was a very good opening to a superhero series.

(First) second self-published book:

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Another first in a series, this time a mystery series set in Las Vegas. The detectives are solving cold cases.

First book of 2022 that slayed me

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No five-star reviews yet, but of course the delightful Invisible Library series always delivers.

First book of 2022 I wish I could get back the time I spent reading it:

None so far.

Top 5 Wednesday is GoodReads group where people discuss different bookish topic each week.

In the past we’ve talked about kind characters, favorite father figures, and other prompts that have focused on favorite characters, but what about favorite villains? Let’s spotlight some of those villains who we absolutely love!

I’m far more interested in heroes, maybe because I tend to read a lot of series and they follow the heroes, not the enemies. My favorite enemies actually come from movies and TV shows. But books have some pretty impressive enemies, too.

1, Cardinal Richelieu by Alexandre Dumas

He’s the archetype of the scheming villain whom the heroes can’t touch publicly.

2, Dracula by Bram Stoker

Another archetypal villain who spawned a whole genre.

3, Blind Michael by Seanan McGuire

In the third Toby Daye book, Toby must fight a fairy tale villain who kidnaps children.

4, Smaug by J.R.R. Tolkien

I love dragons and bad guy dragons are awesome.

5, Loki in the Norse mythology

Loki is one of the trickster gods in mythology and he gets into all sorts of trouble.

A stand-alone M/M science fiction romance.

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Publication year: 2021

Format: Audio

Running time: 15 hours, 24 minutes
Narrator: Raphael Corkhill

I’m not a romance reader. I got this book because Audible recommended it to me for some reason. It’s pretty fun and has decent world-building, but it’s solidly grounded in the romance.

Kiem is a prince in the galactic empire of Iskat. He’s a friendly and open-hearted man in his twenties and has a reputation for having wild parties and many willing partners of both sexes. So, it comes as a shock to him when the Emperor summons him and promptly informs him that he’s going to be married in three days so that a very important galactic trade and military treaty can be ratified. His partner-to-be is Count Jainan from a minor world, Thea. Jainan’s previous partner, Taam, was also an Iskat prince and Kiem’s cousin, but firmly a military man. There was also an arranged marriage. Taam died in an accident only a month ago. Kiem feels that it’s too soon for Jainan because the couple must keep up appearances, for the treaty’s sake, and pretend to be in love. However, Kiem must obey the emperor and so they are married.

To Kiem, Taam and Jainan’s marriage was a perfect match and he tries to make things as easy for Jainan as possible. However, Jainan is a very aloof man, who thinks before he says or acts. He’s also a consummate diplomat who will do (almost) anything to make the treaty happen. So the two men’s personalities are very different, which means that the beginning of their relationship is full of misunderstandings and problems. But then they find out that Thaam’s death might not be an accident and that affects the treaty, as well.

Since this is a romance book, it has quite a few romance tropes, but thankfully not really any of the toxic ones. The misunderstands were the most annoying ones to me. Jainan and Kiem are attracted to each other, but think the other isn’t attracted. Kiem thinks that Jainan is in mourning for a partner he loved, and Jainan thinks Kiem has been saddled with an unpalatable partner. Most of the plot could have been solved if they just sat down and honestly talked about it for ten minutes. Their personalities played off each other quite nicely, though.

The world is based on historical arranged marriages to seal off treaties. It has quite a few interesting things, but all of them serve the romance plot. One side character also got some pretty interesting secrets.

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