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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Tritcheon Hash (Sue Lange)

Tritcheon Hash is a novel by Sue Lange.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 27.8.2018

Plot:
Tritcheon Hash lives on the planet of Coney Island. Coney Island is home to only women: after all the male violence on Earth, the women just up and left. Now men and women only see each other once a year at the sperm against male babies exchange. Things have been going smoothly for a while and talk of reunification have been stirring. But since Earth is covered in a cloud of pollution, making satellite observation impossible, Coney Island needs to send a spy there in person to see if the men are ready again. The chosen spy is Tritcheon who leaves her wife and kids behind to take on the mission – which reconnects her to her own past.

I think that Tritcheon Hash thinks that it’s making some kind of feminist point but that point completely backfires. And narratively it didn’t blow me away, either.

The book cover showing a drawn woman in a kind of space suit.
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Arcanum 101 (Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill)

Arcanum 101 is a prequel to the Diana Tregarde series, written by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.
Finished on: 15.8.2018

Plot:
When he’s 15 years old, Tomas Torres discovers quite by accident that he can throw magic fireballs. Hoping to help his family out with the money, he lets himself and his skill get employed by the mafia who can always use an untraceable arsonist. But it doesn’t take long until he gets caught. Instead of prison, Tomas finds himself in a school that is filled with kids who have powers. And there’s VeeVee, star pupil, who gives him a tour first thing. But Tomas doesn’t want to be there, no matter how pretty VeeVee is.

I am not familiar with the series Arcanum 101 is a prequel to (the series isn’t about Tomas and VeeVee, though). In fact, I wasn’t even aware this was part of any kind of series at all at first. Having read it now, I would be willing to check out the rest of the series, although Arcanum 101 didn’t really show me why I should.

Book cover showing the silhouette of a head and hand with ball of light in front of its face.
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The Autograph Man (Zadie Smith)

The Autograph Man is a novel by Zadie Smith.
Finished on: 12.8.2018

Content Note: ableism, homomisia, fatmisia

Plot:
Jewish Chinese Londoner Alex-Li Tandem buys and sells autographs. It’s infrequent work, but he has managed to build enough of a reputation to be able to live off of it rather comfortably. It is also a convenient way to keep an eye on anything by Kitty Alexander, a long and almost entirely forgotten actress who has barely signed anything ever. Alex-Li has been sending her a letter every week, in the hopes of getting another signature or just a sign of life. When the hoped for reply arrives, Alex-Li’s quest only starts.

The Autograph Man did not work for me. It’s nicely written, but it suffers from an absolutely unlikeable protagonist and I was also weirded out by how Alex-Li’s Jewishness is treated. It was mostly my own hard-headedness that made me finish it at all.

The book cover showing a drawing of two men in a wrestling ring.
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Fantasy Magazine 41

Fantasy Magazine 41 is the August 2010 issue, edited by Cat Rambo and Sean Wallace. It contains four short stories.
Finished on: 4.8.2018

While there wasn’t a story in this small collection that I fell absolutely in love with, I liked reading them all (most of the time). I felt they were all worth reading – which is not always the case with anthologies – even if it would have been nice if there was one among them that I connected with more strongly.

A simple red cover with a white dragon on it.
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Ocean Light (Nalini Singh)

Ocean Light is the second novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 17th novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 3.8.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Plot:
Much of the world believes Bowen Knight to be dead. But he has been hidden with the BlackSea changelings where he is recuperating. At least as much as one can recuperate with a degrading chip in one’s brain that is pretty sure to kill you. Kaia Luna is also hiding in the BlackSea compound, but for her own reasons. She now works as a chef for the changelings and has a good life. She really doesn’t need a dying human to make her life more complicated. Or does she?

This far into the series I probably can’t say much about it that I haven’t said before. Ocean Light in any case delivers what the previous novels promised and delivered as well. The dynamic and structure hardly change, but since that’s what I read these novels for, I’m not complaining about it. In fact, I enjoy it.

The book cover in a golden color scheme, showing the silhouettes of a man and a woman, a lot of water and a bit of Venice.
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The Textile Planet (Sue Lange)

The Textile Planet is a novel by Sue Lange.
[I got this book from a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away. I am not early with my review, but honest.]
Finished on: 30.7.2018

Plot:
Marla Gershe is a manager on the Textile Planet. The planet is devoted in its entirety to the production of fabrics of all kinds – and it demands a lot of devotion from its workers. Marla’s expected output quota has been nothing but raised. When her team is halfed in size without it affecting the quota at all, Marla has had it. She organizes a strike, gets shot for her efforts and her entire life is upended – so Marla has to leave the Textile Planet behind.

The Textile Planet is a weird book. It sets out a good and pretty fast pace, but as it hurries along, it left me mostly confused and disoriented. Ultimately that turned to annoyance on my side.

A very simple, almost entirely black and white book cover.

[SPOILERS.]

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Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Anne of Green Gables is the first novels in the series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Finished on: 23.7.2018

Plot:
Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert have decided to take in a foster child. A strong boy who can help them with the work on the farm – work that has become harder for them as they grew older. But when Matthew goes to the train station to pick the kid up, he finds a girl – Anne Shirley. Not knowing what else to do, he takes her home anyway. And before they can clear things up, Anne has wormed her way into their hearts as much as the hearts of all of Avonlea.

I never read Anne of Green Gables as a kid but when I went to Canada (including Prince Edward Island) myself, I figured, I’d give it a read. I didn’t expect great things, but turns out, I absolutely loved the novel.

Book cover showing a drawing of a red-haired girl on a bridge over a small river.
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Turning Point (Steph Swainston)

Turning Point is a collection of short stories set in the Fourlands, written by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 15.7.2018

Turning Point collects four short stories set in the Fourlands told from different perspectives and about different people, plus there are two maps and a family tree to provide more details about the Fourlands. It’s a very nice collection for fans of the Fourlands.

The book cover with the letters of Turning Point stretched out over the entire page in front of a red background with black smoke. The Ns are facing the wrong way.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

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