What Jia’s Been Reading, Late November
Apparently a vacation was exactly what I needed to kick me out of my reading funk. Here’s what I’ve been reading the past couple of weeks.
Steampunk! edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant
An anthology of steampunk stories that covers the spectrum. I like the variety of settings, characters, genres, and ideas but overall, there were only a couple standouts. On the other hand, there were only a couple stories I didn’t like. The rest were average. That tends to be about right in terms of how well anthologies work for me. I rarely love every single selection for an anthology. I just wish I could have discovered new authors I’d love to seek out rather than confirming what I already know. (Full review)
Open Minds by Susan Quinn A | BN | S | K
This is my first foray into the world of self-published YA fiction but it worked out well. It’s a SF novel in which due to mutations, humans have become telepathic. Unfortunately, this sucks for anyone who isn’t telepathic, such as the novel’s protagonist. It’s action-packed and there’s a lot of plot. Not a whole lot of the emo introspection you usually find in YA so if you’re looking for a change, this might be worth a try. Lots of good ideas and I definitely liked how the SF aspects were worked into this, showing how society changed with everyone becoming telepathic. Full review to come.
Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai
I felt like I’d been reading nothing but YA and fantasy for a while, so I wanted a change. I remembered January reviewing this a couple weeks ago and decided to give it a try since I was in the mood for a quick read. I’m a big fan of the Hades and Persephone myth despite all the twistedness about it. I enjoyed this and the whole uncle and adopted niece reminders didn’t really bother me. True, the tone was more modern than not but I guess in my head, they were still gods and I let it go.
Burning Skies by Caris Roane
I’ve had this one in my TBR pile for a while after joining the circle of shame several months ago and reading the first book, Ascension. I suppose I needed a crack replacement after giving up on the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Since the Alisha Rai novella put me in the mood for a full-length romance, I pulled this up on my Fire. I actually really enjoyed this a lot. As Jane mentioned in her review, this isn’t a cracky as its predecessor. I was a little surprised by that. I don’t think it’s entirely because I was inured to the badness so I’m not sure what the difference was. Did the writing improve? Or was the plot just not as over the top? The jury’s still out on that and now I have to get the next installment.
The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred | A | BN |K | S
I made a note to read this after having enjoyed “The Devil’s Garden,” the novella Kindred wrote for Carina. As I’m coming learn, the beginning of Kindred’s works and I never get along. This time, I was presented with several pages of social hierarchy for the worldbuilding with lots of names and locations, and I was seriously wondering what I was getting into. But I made an effort to forget the glossary and just read the book, which worked out much better. (After I finished the novel, I went back and looked at the glossary and that was much easier to take since I had context.) As for the novel itself, it’s hard to describe in a few sentences. It’s sort of an angelic retelling (mirroring, really) of the Anastasia story in which the ruling angelic family is usurped and everyone is slaughtered except for one survivor who’s hidden in the world of men by a pair of demons. It’s very much an epic fantasy (and reads that way) but also takes place in modern times. It draws quite a bit on Russian lore and for the first time in quite a while, there’s a Faerie character who actually demonstrates how beautiful, frightening and disturbing the Fae can be. Overall, an enjoyable read for people wanting a little something different in their fantasy. Full review to come.
Currently, I’m reading Shaedes of Gray by Amanda Bonilla, which is either an urban fantasy or paranormal romance. I’m not completely sure which it’s supposed to be or if it’s a hybrid. It’s going all right so far. There are some parts I like and some parts that really annoy me. The big question in my mind, however, is why are there so many redheaded assassins?
So what about you guys? Read any of these? What did you think? Are the holidays, past and upcoming, treating you well in terms of reading time or has it been a struggle?