This week was a slower week than last. Being sick’ll do that to ya. Still, several books read, reviewed and posted/scheduled, and a rarity for me- a book I just gave up on, and didn’t finish.
*Dreams of the Queen by Jacqueline Patricks, 4 🌟
*Solomon Bull by Clayton Lindemuth, 4 🌟
*Black Bead by JD Lakey, 5 🌟
*Clockwork Strange by Dale McInness, DNF
Best read of the week:
Black Bead by JD Lakey/ available now
“On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome.
Under the direction of the ruling mothers, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the mothers had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand.
Finally of age, Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day.
In her visionary new series The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.”
Received a fanart of Draccus, from my novel Obsidian Alcatraz, and created myself two other Evalyce-oriented pics- a sketch of a súp bator, and Argosian strike-fighters over the ocean, with planet, and fellow moons in sky.
Using my ‘next in line’ list at the top of the current doc file for writing up my reviews seems to be keeping me in better shape remembering, so I plan to stick with it. Here’s how it currently looks:
*God’s Red Son by Louis S Warren +
The Phoenix Cycle by Bob Coppelly
Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory
Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus: Legends by Lydia Sherrer + ASAP
*Nightmares of the Queen by Jacqueline Patrick. + June 7
Destiny of the Queen by Jacqueline Patrick. + June 7
The Highwayman by RA Salvatore £££
Lockdown by Laurie R King
Stack Your Bones by Ruthie Frasier +
Lord of Pleasure by Erica Ridley. £££
The Threat Level Remains Severe by Rowena McDonald. £££
Asylum of Dr Caligari by James Morrow
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Venetian Blood by Christine Volker +
My hardcopy haul from my main review place was small this week:
I snagged several cool egalleys from Netgalley and the City Book Reviews. The ones I’m most excited about are:
Artful by Peter David (graphic novel version)
“Award winning author and comics legend, Peter David, brings the adaptation of his novel, Artful, to Action Lab! Artful is the dark, funny, and action-packed story of one of the most fascinating characters in literary history, the Artful Dodger from the classic Oliver Twist, this time with a twist: Vampires.”
The Secret Island of Edgar DeWitt by Farrill Gibbs
“Edgar Dewitt is the new kid in town. Moving from Alabama to Mount Lanier, Washington has been quite the change, and Edgar quickly realizes making new friends won’t be as easy as he thought. On his first day in town, he meets one of Mount Lanier’s best: the incorrigible Chris Weedy, who’s as bright as a sack of socks and as mean as you can get.
One day while exploring the woods behind his new house, Edgar discovers something mysterious: an old abandoned cabin. But the real magic happens when he finds something even more magnificent inside the cabin itself: a dark and ominous hole. After studying the hole for a few days, Edgar musters his courage and jumps in feet first, and is taken straight through the center of the earth to a tiny island in the middle of the Indian ocean. Edgar knows he’s stumbled upon something ancient – something secret – a seemingly impossible way to journey to the other side of the world.
For the next several weeks, the island becomes a sanctuary where Edgar can escape Chris Weedy’s cruel taunting and his parents’ constant questions. But a sudden, nearby wildfire threatens to engulf the town in flames and take Edgar’s volunteer firefighter father along with it. Edgar must act fast and decide between saving his new town or keeping his newly found safe haven.”
The Crowns of Croswald by DE Knight
“In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…
For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.”
This one also seemed very interesting.
Confessions of an American Doctor by Max Kepler
“In 2005, I was arrested by agents from both the US Postal Service and the Food and Drug Administration for the importation of illegal human growth hormone and botulinum toxin (Botox) from China.
At the time of my arrest, I was a thirty-seven year old Harvard graduate with medical and post-doctoral degrees. I attended one of the finest residency and fellowship training programs in the world at the University of California, San Francisco. I played two sports in college, earned awards at every level of education and training, had wonderful friends and a beautiful three-year-old daughter. Having grown up the son of a restaurant manager and a housewife, I had transcended the humble beginnings of a small Midwestern town to become the quintessential American Dream.
Or so I thought.
But with my arrest on felony importation charges, everything I had worked so hard for was swept away and the entire trajectory of my life was indelibly altered. I would embark on a three year battle not only for my medical license, but also for my freedom. This journey would lead to intense personal introspection, and in that process, I would discover with ugliness, there was also beauty, and with punishment, mercy.
There are many reasons I have written this manuscript, with one of the most important being that I hoped my story would resonate with others who have gone through difficult circumstances as a consequence of a dark side of their personality. With this book, I hope to inspire others to accept and embrace the good and bad, while continually striving for improved self-understanding and acceptance.
I have changed names primarily for legal purposes, but the facts are unchanged. Although the events described in the book occurred more than ten years ago, I think about them nearly every day. The shame and humiliation are ever-present. Any simple Google search of my name reveals the truth, and that truth has affected me over and over, despite the years, as it probably should. As the judge told me that day in a federal courtroom, “You have betrayed the public’s trust.”
This is my confessional.”
Two books I’m trolling my review sites for, stalking ARCs:
Golden Age and Other Stories by Naomi Novik
“Naomi Novik ended her acclaimed, beloved nine-volume Temeraire series last year with a stunning finale, League of Dragons. Fans missing their favorite series can now rejoice: Novik returns with an original Temeraire collection as unique as the world she has created, with each tale inspired by an accompanying piece of fan art.
The Temeraire novels provide a window into an alternate nineteenth century populated with Novik’s own richly human and unforgettably draconic characters as they adventure alongside well-known historical figures. That tradition continues here. Readers will delight at appearances by fan-favorite characters from the series and historical figures like the famed explorer Matteo Ricci. In “Planting Season,” Novik shows us an early glimpse of American dragon John Wampanoag at Boston Harbor. “Golden Age” finds a dragon who believes he remembers being called Celeste hatch from a shipwreck-tossed crate onto an island where he meets others of his kind. But other famous fictional characters are to be discovered here as well. Readers will certainly recognize a certain Miss Bennet (here Captain Bennet) and her suitor, Mr. Darcy, in “Dragons and Decorum.”
Filled with the inventive world-building, rich detail, sparkling wit, and deep emotion that readers have come to expect from Novik’s work, Golden Age and Other Stories is a treasure at home on any Temeraire-lover’s bookshelf.”
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
“From the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles, a thrilling novel that kicks off a fantasy series with an entirely new mythology—complete with shape-shifting bards, fire-wielding giants, and children who can speak to astonishing beasts
MOTHER AND WARRIOR
Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.
SCHOLAR AND SPY
Dervan is an historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.
REBEL AND HERO
Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.
Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.”