Origamy (Rachel Armstrong)

Origamy is a novel by Rachel Armstrong.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away.]
Finished on: 19.10.2018

Plot:
Mobius is a weaver, like her parents Newton and Shelley who are all part of a circus troupe. Weavers can manipulate spacetime, but Mobius has somehow forgotten how to do it and needs to start to learn again. Encouraged by her parents, she can soon start traveling again. She zips around the universe, discovering its multitudes of cultures for herself. Soon she realizes that something is wrong and there is a threat that hangs over the universe that may unravel it entirely.

Origamy is definitely an unusual book, but it’s unusual in a way that I struggled with to say the least. It’s not bad per se, but I felt like I couldn’t get my foot in the narrative’s door and stayed outside, catching only confusing glimpses of what was going on inside.

The book cover showing a piece of Origamy made from several different kinds of paper in front of stars in space.
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Artefacts and Other Stories (Rebecca Burns)

Artefacts and Other Stories is a short story collection by Rebecca Burns.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 3.10.2018

Artefacts and Other Stories is a decent short story collection. It’s not amazing, but there are some good stories in there. The collection could have profited from a little more variation between stories and a little more narrative within the stories. But mostly, it’s okay.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

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Indecision (Caragh Bell)

Indecision is a novel by Caragh Bell. It’s the first in the Follow Your Heart series.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 30.9.2018

Plot:
Lydia loves her boyfriend Dominic with whom she’s been quite a long time already. When she moves away to do a Master’s degree, the separation isn’t easy to take. Plus, there’s Luca right there beside her: gorgeous, flirty, American, he is as intriguing to her as he is off-limits. But the effect he has on her makes her start to question her life’s decisions so far.

Indecision, unfortunately, didn’t work for me. It was badly written and full of unlikable and/or clichéd characters. I found it an exhausting read.

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Everything That’s Underneath (Kristi DeMeester)

Everything That’s Underneath is a short story collection by Kristi DeMeester.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 27.9.2018

Everything That’s Underneath is a cool collection, but it is a little monotonous in tone. If I hadn’t read it all at once, but rather spread out the book reading a new story every once in a while, I probably would have appreciated them all more. Since they are all so alike in the atmosphere they create, they start to blend together, when you read one right after the other. That being said, I definitely enjoyed this atmosphere. I liked a lot of the stories, there are some very nice ideas here and DeMeester has a good hand for descriptions. So overall, it’s really good.

[More about each of the stories after the jump, with vague spoilers for some of the stories.]

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Azanian Bridges (Nick Wood)

Azanian Bridges is a novel by Nick Wood.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 21.9.2018

Plot:
In a South Africa where Apartheid is still in full swing, Martin is a white psychologist who developed a machine that can deeply connect two people with each other. He is ready to proceed to human testing wiht his Empathy Enhancer and finds an ideal subject in black Sibusiso who was traumatized at a political rally. Sibusiso agrees and when it turns out that the machine actually works, more than one party is interested in the machine, leading to both Martin and Sibusiso finding themselves thrown into politics much deeper than they ever thought possible.

Azanian Bridges has an interesting setting and set-up but in the end, the execution was very flawed and didn’t manage to convince.

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Letters for Scarlet (Julie C. Gardner)

Letters for Scarlet is a novel by Julie Gardner.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 18.9.2018

Plot:
When they were teenagers, Corie and Scarlet were best friends, basically inseperable. Now 28, Corie finds a graduation letter she wrote and completely forget about. Having to face her past, she is confronted again with what happened to her and Scarlet and Tucker. Meanwhile Scarlet also has to face facts: she is pregnant and pretty certain that she will be a horrible mother who deserves nothing good. Through letters both of them explore feelings, both old and new, they haven’t figured out yet.

Letters for Scarlet is a nice, quick read that something was a bit much for me and that I didn’t entirely love. But I enjoyed it for the most part.

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The Spirit Gate (Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff)

The Spirit Gate is a novel by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 15.9.2018

Plot:
Kassia is a shai, a woman born with the mark of the goddess. And she is the first woman to be allowed to study magic under Master Lukusha. In fact, she is the first woman in ages to be allowed to study and practice magic at all, which means that most of the shai magic has been forgotten. Despite the people like Lukusha’s assistant Zakarij doubting her, Kassia throws herself into her studies – as much as being a single mother allows her to.

The Spirit Gate was an enjoyable read with a good protagonist that wasn’t absolutely great, but it definitely wasn’t bad at all.

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Out of Tune (Ed. by Jonathan Maberry)

Out of Tune is a short story collection edited by John Maberry.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on 8.9.2018

Content Note: sexualized abuse, rape

All of the stories in Out of Tune are based on old ballads. To make the connections between the retellings and the originals, each story is commented on by Nancy Keim Comley. I really appreciated those comments. In fact, I would have liked a more extensive commentary and more info on the folklore behind the stories.

Overall I found the collection rather middling, with a couple of highlights that literally stood out from the rest of the stories.

More about each of the stories separately after the jump.

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Mistress of the Solstice (Anna Kashina)

Mistress of the Solstice is a novel by Anna Kashina.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 4.9.2018

Plot:
Marya is the Mistress of the Solstice, the high priestess of their cult. Her most important task is to perform the annual sacrifice of a virgin to Marya’s father, the immortal tsar Kashchey. This sacrifice is necessary to keep their kingdom save and prosperous. But then Ivan shows up, Ivan the Fool, youngest prince of a neighboring kingdom. Ivan is on a quest to kill Kashchey and get rid off the sacrifices once and for all. He is not the first to try. But when Marya and Ivan meet, they are both knocked off course.

I really enjoyed reading Mistress of the Solstice. It’s well-written and imaginative and really profits off the setting that draws on Russian folklore.

The book cover showing the drawing of a woman dressed in white with a flower crown in a forest.
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Immunity to Strange Tales (Susan Forest)

Immunity to Strange Tales is a short story collection by Susan Forest.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 1.9.2018

Immunity to Strange Tales is a good collection of very different stories. Not all of them worked equally well for me, but it does have a few really strong ones. And since the stories are so varied, it’s pretty easy to find something to your taste. I really enjoyed it.

The book cover showing a cat with strange eyes in front of a moon.

More about each of the stories after the jump.

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