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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Top Ten Tuesday: Spring 2020 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Since my Great Winter Slump, I have amassed quite a quantity of books I have to read and review – as well as various recommendations I’d like to get around to. Spring seems like the perfect time for some TBR cleaning, especially in these times of social distancing and quarantine.

So here’s some books that are on my priority list!

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Review: The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz

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God, this was lovely. It’s short, fluffy, very slice of life – a perfect palate cleanser. Yet another book I wouldn’t have read if not for the r/Fantasy Bingo challenge – short on time, I needed something to knock out the AI Character square quickly – and I’m very, very glad I did.

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February 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

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At the beginning of February, I thought my slump was finally over. At some point, I think I even reached two books a week. And then, it came back with a vengeance and for the rest of the month, I read nothing at all. I felt rather like Murderbot – leave me alone and let me watch my show. But! I’m only one book away from finishing the r/fantasy Bingo, which should be more than doable in March.

Also, every one of the books I finished has been queer to some extent.

Read:

  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: Honestly, this should have been a DNF. I did not like it at all, and by 30% knew I was not going to, but I persisted because I felt sick of DNFing. Bad move. It’s very aesthetic-over-everything, I didn’t like the style, I was bored by the plot, and a good epilogue does not a good book make.
  • Central Station by Lavie Tidhar: Beautiful sci-fi fever dream and perfect for me. Near impossible to describe, but most highly recommended.
  • Proper English by K.J. Charles: Not SFF, but I wanted to try a romance as a palate cleanser, and this worked really well. I’ve wanted more f/f for a long time. In particular, I loved the dynamics between the two main characters – the serious, sensible Pat who thinks herself awfully plain, and the bubbly, beautiful Fen who only wants to be taken seriously.
  • Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie (ARC): Space opera I picked up because it sounded very Star Wars inspired, but gay. And it was amazing, to the point I could barely keep reading and took much longer than I normally would have because it was too intense and I was too scared for the characters. Plot engineered for maximum internal conflict, twists, pew pew, it has it all. Review to come closer to release.
  • The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz: Very sweet, asexual romance novella featuring a robot, an AI mechanic, and a tea shop. Won’t lie, it has been Bingo-motivated, as I needed to knock out the AI Character square quickly, but no regrets.

Watched:

  • Clone Wars: As always, when I feel like shit, I go for Star Wars. I blazed through 58 episodes (in chronological order), which puts me at a bit less than halfway done if I don’t count the new season – and yes, you read that right, less. Season 1 was full of garbage and I almost quit two or three times, but persistence paid off – by mid-season 2 I have started to want to watch it and now, well into season 3, I can barely stop once I start. There are still garbage episodes sometimes, sure, since the nature of the show seems to be that it’s either great or completely shit with no in-between, but the character development, the lore, the steadily increasing overall quality…wow. Star Wars at its finest and it really does the prequel era justice the way movies did not.

Currently reading:

  • Daughter from the Dark by Sergey & Maria Dyachenko (ARC): One of the ARCs from the pile I requested pre-slump. Also ran out of steam at about 20%, I think it’s a combination of not being sure what’s going on and the MC being an asshole (he’s meant to be an asshole, but it is hard to read).
  • The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite: Another f/f historical romance I started after Proper English, but ran out of steam at about halfway. It’s very sweet, and very good, but apparently two historical romance books in a row and the stuffiness starts to get to me.

Books read this year: 9 (+ 0 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 24/25 (96%)

Review: Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

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I probably never would have read Central Station at all if not for the fact that this year’s r/Fantasy Bingo had a cyberpunk square. I hate the very thought of cyberpunk. Oppressive high tech societies? No thanks. So in the oldest tradition of Bingo, I went out in search of edge cases. Oddities. This was one of the candidates I couldn’t quite choose between – then I saw it in a bookstore and it was decided. And I couldn’t be more glad I did.

A group of disgruntled house appliances watched the sermon in the virtuality – coffee makers, cooling units, a couple of toilets – appliances, more than anyone else, needed the robots’ guidance, yet they were often wilful, bitter, prone to petty arguments, both with their owners and themselves.

The easiest way to describe it would be “gorgeous sci-fi fever dream.” I have a long-standing love for weird, trippy books and for slice of life, so I could hardly have stumbled upon a more perfect match for my tastes. And before I scare anyone off: it’s strange, yes, but never confusing.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Center a LGBTQ+ Relationship 🏳️‍🌈

And it’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday list again! This week’s more open ended prompt – Love Freebie – also seemed fun. So fun that I wasn’t quite sure what to go for. In the end, I decided to focus on SFF books where the main romantic relationship is LGBTQ+ because…well, because. Not all of them are romance (I wish I had enough romance!), but I’d highly recommend them all and I could easily list 15 instead of 10.

As usual, no specific order.

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Review: From a Certain Point of View (edited by Elizabeth Schaefer)

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“Terrible things will always happen. They happened on Kiffex and they happen on Naboo and they happen on Tatooine. There will always be a war, and there will always be someone who wants us locked up. But the only thing we can do is survive, Sen. Survive until they won’t let us.”

When I heard the words “Jawa POV,” I instantly knew that From a Certain Point of View is something I simply must read. It’s no secret by now that I’m madly in love with Star Wars. And my obsession with slice of life and perspectives of more ordinary people is well established. A crossover of the two? A match made in heaven, despite my dislike of short stories and anthologies.

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