Review: The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker (The Tide Child #1)

The Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy Book 1) eBook: Barker, RJ ...

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“We fight in the hope that others will not have to, and we fight to keep those we have come to care about safe. We fight even for those who do not deserve it. There is no honour or greatness in what we do, except among fools. I fight, in the end, because I have no other choice” – she held his gaze with hers – “and neither do you. So remember this, if you hear tales of bravery and greatness, they are nearly always told by people who have only watched battle from afar.”

The Bone Ships used to be one of those books for me, you know the kind – you were super excited at release, perhaps you even preordered them, but then you forgot about them for months and months. If it wasn’t for a bookclub, it would probably still be lying there. I wasn’t even in the mood for naval fantasy when I started it.

But even though the odds were stacked against it in every possible way, I liked it quite a lot and blazed through it surprisingly fast.

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Mini Reviews: Shatterpoint, Proper English, Hither Page, Mirror: The Mountain, On a Sunbeam

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Time for another backlog cleaning!

While my goal is to review everything I read, I don’t always quite succeed. I finished Shatterpoint in early April, and thought it deserved to be talked about, but a full review just wouldn’t come. I also don’t write full reviews of graphic novels or non-SFF, but I encountered two historical romance books so good I thouth they were at least worth a mention, SFF-themed blor or no.

So there it is, an odd mix of a Star Wars tie-in, two romance books, and two graphic novels.

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Review: Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie (The Bloodright Trilogy #1)

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ARC received from the publisher (Del Rey) in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes, you just have a powerful feeling that you’re going to love a book and in my experience, that instinct is never to be ignored. Bonds of Brass first came to my attention randomly, on twitter. Still in the depths of my Star Wars obsession and salty over Rise of Skywalker (oh so salty), I had to request it. It seemed tailor-made for what I wanted and needed.

And it was fantastic. What it promised, it delivered in spades. Fast-paced, yup. Heavily Star Wars inspired, yup. Fun, fanfic-style romantic tropes, yup. More twists than a ship executing a complex maneuver, yup. And that ending. Holy fuck. It’s the kind of book you read popcorn in hand, and then recommend to friends to watch their reactions popcorn in hand too. I’d say it even overdelivered – in places, I could barely manage a few pages at a time because the tension was too high and I was too afraid for the characters.

If a highly entertaining but not necessarily relaxing story is what you’re looking for, this is the perfect book for you.

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Hard Contact by Karen Traviss (Star Wars; Republic Commando #1)

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I admit, before I started my Star Wars binge I had more than a few prejudices about tie-ins (just ask all my friends who had to listen to me whining about the tie-in r/Fantasy Bingo square for months on end). I heard bad things about quality. And I just never saw the point. Sure I have played video games that had tie-ins before, but I’ve never really cared about video game lore. But Star Wars has left me with a few specific itches I desperately want scratched, no matter how, plus a desperate need for more. Tie-ins, fanfic, tv series, canon or non-canon, give me all of it.

Luckily, Hard Contact is a damn good book that went above and beyond my expectations. I came in for an easy read with clone troopers and Mandalorian culture (which it was!) and stayed for the thorough examination of how fucked up the concept of a clone army really is and the wonderful (at times even adorable!) interactions between the characters. In other words, it was an absolute delight and I can easily see myself devouring the rest of the series.

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Review: The Hanged Man by K.D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence #2)

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ARC received in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, this review includes no spoilers for The Last Sun.

After finishing, I had precisely one word: Wow. That’s it. That’s the review. Pack up, go home, we’re done.

More seriously, if the first book was pretty good, this one makes me want to read everything the author puts out. The pacing is good, but the characters are perfect and it gave me all of the feels. It’s a perfect blend of action-y and character-focused and offers something for just about everyone. Me, for one, included!

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Review: The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence #1)

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Once again, Sharade got me to read a book. And once again, it was fantastic. I took it with me on a train ride and finished it literally in one single sitting. It read that fast. If you’re looking for something ridiculously fun, with great characters, tarot-based magic, loads of action, LGBTQ+ rep, and plenty of banter, this is the book for you.

My name is Rune Saint John.

I am, before anything else, a survivor: of a fallen House, of a brutal assault, of violent allies and complacent enemies, of life among a people who turned their back on me decades ago.

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Review: My Beautiful Life by K.J. Parker

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ARC received from the publisher (Subterranean Press) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve always been interested in reverse stories, where the ending (in this case, the death of the narrator) is known from the start, and then they slowly work its way towards it. Where the question is not what happens as much as how it happens. And I have enjoyed what I read of K.J. Parker so far.

I’ve done some truly appalling things in my life. I’m bitterly ashamed of them now. Saying I did them all for the best—and saying, those things weren’t my idea, other people made me do them, is just as bad; admitting that I’m a spineless coward as well as morally bankrupt. I’m a mess, and no good nohow.

But despite the catchy opening, I was not…quite satisfied with what I got.

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Review: Los Nefilim by T. Frohock

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I didn’t expect to like this series as much as I did.

“My papa says—” There was another pregnant pause, during which Diago imagined Ysa checking both directions to make sure no grownups were near. “We are the sons and daughters of angels. We are Los Nefilim. Nobody fucks with us and wins.”

Generally, I don’t like Urban Fantasy. Anything set in the modern world, and I balk. Getting me to read this took a lot of convincing, but boy do I not regret it. I binged the novellas and the novel in a matter of days (which is also why I’m reviewing them all together), and I do not have a tendency to binge series either.

The novel, Where Oblivion Lives, was written so that it can be read without reading the novellas beforehand, but why would you want to?

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Review: Touch by Claire North

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Whoa. Just…whoa.

First recommended to me by Coffee/Travis of The Fantasy Inn, who has been almost as insistent with it as I am with my darling, The Gray House – and when it finally got chosen as the bookclub pick for the month after being nominated for probably like a year in a row, I simply had to. And even now, days later, I am still thinking about what I read. It did not leave me untouched.

It is not beauty, in an eye, a hand, a curl of hair. I have seen old men, their backs bent and shirts white, whose eyes look up at the passers-by and in whose little knowing smiles there is more beauty, more radiance of soul, than any pampered flesh. I have seen a beggar, back straight and beard down to his chest, in whose green eyes and greying hair was such handsomeness that I yearned to have some fraction of him to call my own, to dress in rags and sweep imperious through city streets.

Kepler is a body-hijacking ghost. With a touch it can jump into any body and use it for any amount of time, leaving a host with a gap in their memories. And it is not alone. When a host it loved and cherished is killed from under it, seemingly with the intention to kill Kepler too, it goes on a journey across Europe to find out who did it and why.

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Review: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles (A Charm of Magpies #1)

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I don’t know much about romance. I used to avoid it quite religiously until a couple years ago and even after I got over my fear, recommendations were rare. But honestly? I think I need to put in the effort and actively look for more of it because this was amazing and I devoured it near-instantly.

“You know,” he added, “there are a number of recommended methods of dealing with ghosts – salt and iron, harmonic resonance, some people swear by exorcism, and not just priests – but that’s the first time I’ve seen anyone try a left hook.”

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