Tangle of Time (Gin Westcott)

Tangle of Time is the first novel in the Tangle of Time series by Gin Westcott.
Finished on: 08.09.2020
[I got this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give-Away.]

Plot:
Mae, her boyfriend Greg and his friends Toke and Dexter hear about a job opportunity wherre they could make money fast – the perfect thing for college students like them. The job is physically demanding – getting precious stones from an old well – but things are going well. Until they aren’t and the foursome find themselves trapped in a series of tunnels. And when they finally find their way out, they find themselves thrown back in time to the 19th century. To say that they really need to readjust everything as they try to figure out how to get home is putting it mildly.

I like time travel stories and since the back cover text alludes to a feminist outlook, I was very excited to get into Tangle of Time. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t quite live up to my excitement about the idea.

The book cover showing two men and a woman standing in a valley. Arrows can be seen sticking out of a tree, there is a cabin in the distance and a cave that glows blue.
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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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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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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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Trade Me (Courtney Milan)

Trade Me is the first novel in the Cyclone series by Courtney Milan.
Finished on: 06.06.2020

Plot:
Tina Chen just wants to get her degree, so she can support her family properly and never have to worry about money again. Unfortunately, Blake Reynolds is also in her class, billionaire son of Cyclone Technologies. And when he makes some comments about being poor that drip with his privilege, Tina just can’t stick to her usual routine of keeping her head down. She calls him out and tells him that he couldn’t survive a month in her life. To her surprise, Blake approaches her later and proposes just such a change: he will live in her shoes for a while and she in his. It is too good an opportunity for Tina to make some extra money to pass it up, but it soon turns out that trading lives without getting close to each other is impossible.

After the entire thing with Milan and the RWA, I wanted to show my support for her by buying one of her books, and since I’m not much into historical romance, there weren’t that many options for me from her works. So I picked up Trade Me although I had my concerns about the premise. Would this turn into a “poor rich people have it hard, too” thing? I am glad to say that my concerns were completely unnecessary – Trade Me knows what it’s about politically, it’s a fun read and I very much liked Tina and Blake.

The book cover showing a white, blond man embracing an Asian woman.
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