Anne of the Island (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Anne of the Island is the third novel in the Anne of Green Gables Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Finished on: 26.8.2020
[Here are my reviews of the rest of the series.]

Plot:
Anne is finally ready to go to college – and Redmond beckons. Together with Gilbert, Charlie and Priscilla, they go to Nova Scotia to study, while Diana, Marilla and the twins remain back in Avonlea. Many things change for Anne, she makes new friends like Philippa (called Phil) and studies hard, while Gilbert becomes more insistent in his pursuit of Anne – much to her worry.

Reading the Anne of Green Gables series is really wonderful escapism – there is such a warmth and utterly humanistic core to the books, it’s simply a pleasure to fall into Anne’s world.

The book cover showing a red-haired young woman standing in a field, a young man approaching her in the distance.
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The Spellmans Strike Again (Lisa Lutz)

The Spellmans Strike Again is the fourth novel in the Spellman Series by Lisa Lutz.
Finished on: 18.8.2020
[Here are my reviews of the rest of the series.]

Plot:
Izzy Spellman has finally agreed to take over the family business, but so far nothing has changed all that much. Izzy is still trying to dig up dirt on Rick Harkey, the other PI in San Francisco and a known bastard. Her parents are still doing strange things like forcing Izzy to go on dates with lawyers (despite her boyfriend Connor) and ignoring that small items like door handles keep disappearing from the house. Rae has found something new to obsess about: freeing innocent prisoners. And Henry? Henry tries to be friends with Izzy again but Izzy isn’t sure she is ready for that. Oh, and of course, there is also an actual case Izzy is working on.

The Spellmans Strike Again is a great addition to the Spellman series that I’ve been reading with continuous joy and some heartbreak. We definitely get both here.

The book cover showing many keys next to each other so they are forming a grate with two hands clutching the bars.

[SPOILERS]

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Sword of Destiny (Andrzej Sapkowski)

Sword of Destiny is the second short story collection in the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski. I read the English translation by David French.
Finished on: 6.8.2020
[Here’s my review of the first short story collection/novel in the series.]

After the pleasant surprise that was The Last Wish for me, I was really looking forward to delving further into this world. Sword of Destiny, unfortunately, didn’t work quite as well for me as The Last Wish. It focused too much on Yennefer who is exactly the kind of female character in a dudebro fantasy that I was afraid the Witcher series would be full of. Still, overall. I did enjoy the collection and since it was actually written before The Last Wish, here’s to hoping that the rest of the books (that I’ll certainly read) will continue the upward trend.

The book cover shwoing a wolf head in a circle of twigs.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump!

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Rock Wedding (Nalini Singh)

Rock Wedding is the fourth (and final) novel in the Rock Kiss series by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 25.7.2020
[Here are my reviews of the rest of the series.]

Content Note: miscarriages, fat hate

Plot:
Sarah barely got over her divorce from Abe, after a short but intense relationship that involved too much pain and Abe doing drugs. Then Sarah slid into the next bad relationship and only just got out of that. It is time for Sarah to get on safe ground again. But Abe, by now sober and full of regrets, finds that there is an opening for a second chance for them. And Sarah barely dares to hope that this might actually be the case, but hope she still does. But can they leave their tumultous and destructive past behind?

Rock Wedding is the grand finale of the Rock Kiss series and as the title suggests, it is filled with weddings left and right. Now, I’m not so much in to weddings myself and I was also not that much into Abe and Sarah’s story. In the end, Rock Wedding left me a little too cold.

The book cover showing a Black man playing the piano. The shot is in black and white.
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Blue Bloods (Melissa de la Cruz)

Blue Bloods is the first novel in the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz.
Finished on: 20.7.2020

Content Note: racism

Plot:
Schuyler Van Alen comes from an old family that traces back to the Mayflower. But they have since fallen on hard times and their wealth is pretty much gone. But Schuyler can still attend the Duchesne school, the most prestigious school in New York where she feels thoroughly out of place. Fortunately she has her best friends Oliver and Dylan to brave the school together. But her life gets thoroughly shaken up, when a classmate turns up and Schuyler learns that she is actually a Blue Blood: a vampire – as is the most popular girl in school, Mimi Force and her gorgeous brother Jack. But even though Blue Bloods are supposed to be indestructible, somebody is hunting them.

Blue Bloods is basically Gossip Girl with vampires and if that sounds like your kind of thing, go for it (my niece jumped at the chance). But be prepared that it is also, unfortunately, pretty badly written and racist. I won’t be continuing with the series after this first installment.

The book cover showing a neck with a pearl necklace and bloody vampire bite marks.
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Short Changes (Adrian Tchaikovsky, Keris McDonald)

Short Changes is a short story collection by Adrian Tchaikovsky, with an additional short story he wrote together with Keris McDonald.
Finished on: 18.7.2020

I was curious about Tchaikovsky’s writing, so when he offered this collection of previously published stories for free, I thought it would be a good chance to get an impression of his style and work to determine whether I wanted to get more into it. Having read the collection, I mostly enjoyed it, but nothing really blew me away enough to go out and buy his other writing straight away. But maybe at some point.

There is no book cover, but you can read more about each of the stories after the jump.

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Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie)

Ancillary Sword is the second novel in the Imperial Radch trilogy by Ann Leckie.
Finished on: 17.7.2020
[Here’s my review of the first novel.]

Plot:
Breq is now the captain of the Mercy of Kalr and she is supposed to the remote Athoek system to see what’s going on there – a mission she gladly accepts because Awn’s sister Basnaaid is there as well. Not that Anaander Mianaai, the Lord of the Radch, left her much choice. She also forced Breq to take on a young lieutenant, Tisarwat, for the mission. But something is off about Tisarwat. And there is also something strange going on in Athoek. Breq is determined to see that justice is restored for everyone.

Ancillary Sword is much less plot-driven and much more character-driven than Ancillary Justice. This change of pace may not agree with everyone, but it certainly agreed with me: I am very content with just deep-diving into Breq’s personality.

The book cover showing a spaceship over a space station.
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Selkie Summer (Ken MacLeod)

Selkie Summer is a novella by Ken MacLeod.
Finished on: 6.7.2020
[I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away.]

Plot:
Siobhan has decided to spend her summer break to work on the Isle of Skye where she hopes to find some time to snorkel and explore the ocean’s wildlife, as she really wants to start to study marine biology in the fall. And it doesn’t hurt that she can put some distance between herself and her ex Kieran in this way. What she definitely doesn’t expect is to be drawn into a whole conspiracy involving selkies by way of the cutest boy in town, Calvin.

Selkie Summer has some nice ideas, and I’m pretty sure that it could have been a great story – if it had been developed a little more. I got the distinct impression that the book was published too early and should have gone through a couple of more re-workings. That being said, it’s cute enough.

The book cover showing a man made of water, fish swimming in his chest.
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Lagoon (Nnedi Okorafor)

Lagoon is a novel by Nnedi Okorafor.
Finished on: 4.7.2020

Plot:
Aliens land in the ocean just outside Lagos. Their ambassador has taken human form and made contact with marine biologist Adaora, Ghanaian hip-hop artist Anthony, and soldier Agu. The three take the ambassador – who they have named Ayodele – back to Adaora’s home because she has a lab in her basement and wants to get a firmer grasp on Ayodele. But Adaora’s husband – who has been harboring suspicion that Adaora is a witch – doesn’t handle the surprise visit very well. And Ayodele has plans of her own which she hopes to achieve through the help of her chosen humans. As news of the alien landing spreads, chaos erupts in Lagos.

Lagoon has many strong parts, but I just didn’t really click with this novel. I enjoyed reading it, but I just didn’t really build a strong emotional connection to it.

The film poster showing a drawing of various sea creature in the sea, and the shape of a woman among them.
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Alpha Night (Nalini Singh)

Alpha Night is the fourth novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 19th novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 20.6.2020
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Content Note: ableism/saneism

Plot:
With the first ever Empath convention happening, and knowing that Empaths are integral for the survival of the Psy, tensions are high and the Arrows are running security. One of them is Ethan who runs into alpha wolf Selenka who fears the repercussions of the convention on her city. Selenka and Ethan are both more than surprised by the instant bond between them. They literally mate at first sight – a myth that isn’t supposed to be actually real. Now they need to figure out what to do with that even as Ethan fears his abilities slipping, and the politics around them demand full attention.

Alpha Night was another good and quick read, but it is probably not among my favorites in the series – I took issue with the way they dealt with Ethan’s mental health.

The book cover showing the face of a man with amber eyes in front of a night sky full of stars.
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