Book Review: Normal

Normal
By Warren Ellis

Not My Edition:
Paperback, 148 pages
2016, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374534974

Adam Dearden’s job is to think professionally about the future – he studies geoengineering and smart cities and various ways to avoid “Our Coming Doom.” Like many who do this job, Adam has developed a case of “abyss gaze” and has had a break from reality. His employers have sent him off to Normal Head Oregon to a facility that will help him recuperate and hopefully get back into the business. But during his second day at the facility, another patient goes missing with only a massive hoard of bugs left in his bed and Adam finds himself trying to solve a mystery while attempting to hold his fragile mind together.

I picked this up because of the cover (illustrated by Pedro Sanches) and borrowed it because of the description and I’m pretty sure I missed most of what was going on, but it was fun to read so I don’t care.

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Book Review: Cold Counsel

Cold Counsel
By Chris Sharp

Not My Edition:
Paperback, 270 pages
2017, Tor
ISBN: 9780765393296

Slud is one of the last trolls after his clan was slaughtered by enemy elves. But he was spirited away as an infant by Aunt Agnes, who took him into hiding and trained him to become a weapon against all who stood against the Blood Claw Clan. After Agnes’s death, Slud is set upon the path to revenge, starting with the nearby goblin clan, the Rock Wolves. With a remarkably unkillable goblin assassin at his side (via blackmail), Slud plans to take down the thousands of goblins who would claim his old home as their own.

This book was so much fun!

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Book Review: The Waking Land

The Waking Land
By Callie Bates

My Edition:
ARC e-book, 400 pages
2017, Del Rey
ISBN: 9780425284025 (hardcover)

Elanna has been raised by a king who took her hostage when she was a child and has grown to love this king as her father. When he dies suddenly, the court turns its eyes to her, remembering that her father once tried to start a revolution all those years ago. Elanna finds herself on the run, convicted of murder, and swept up with her father’s people once more, all but strangers to her now. They wish to use her and the earth magic she has done her best to hide and deny to further their revolution and Elanna finds herself divided between loyalty to the land she once called home and her true family.

I DNF’d this book around the 40% mark.

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Book Review: The Sparrow

The Sparrow
By Mary Doria Russell

My Edition:
Paperback, 483 pages
2016, Ballantine, 20th Anniversary Edition
ISBN: 9780449912553

When extraterrestrial life is picked up via satellite, a group of friends and colleagues lead by a Jesuit priest with a knack for learning languages, set off to make contact with the residents of a foreign planet. At first glance, the mission appears to be a success, until things begin to go wrong and after a series of social mishaps everything falls apart. The lone survivor, Emilio Sandoz, must now face judgment from his superiors and peers in Rome and tell the story of the tragedy that befell the party.

The less you know about the plot of this book going in, the better. I don’t think there’s any way my review will do this beautiful book justice, but I’ll give it a whirl.

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Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit

A Closed and Common Orbit
By Becky Chambers

My Edition:
Paperback, 364 pages
2017, Hodder
ISBN: 9781473621473

Lovelace was once the artificial intelligence in the ship, Wayfarer, constantly tending to the needs of the ship and the crew, while also forming emotional bonds with them. But after the ship was damaged, Lovelace lost her personality because of a reboot and rather than cause the crew further pain, she left the ship in the form of an illegal body kit. Living with Pepper, someone who knows about not fitting in the body you were given, Lovelace struggles to come to terms with her new life and its limitations while still being true to how she feels.

Guys, I can’t even.

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Book Review: Tender Morsels

Tender Morsels
By Margo Lanagan

My Edition:
Paperback, 486 pages
2009, Vintage Books
ISBN: 9780099546139

Liga lives in her own personal heaven after the traumatizing events of her childhood and her daughters grow up in this magical landscape with her. When a greedy man magics his way into their world to bring jewels back to his own for personal gain, the borders between the two worlds are forever weakened. Soon others find themselves in this paradise accidentally and when one of Liga’s daughters escapes to the real world, everyone’s lives change.

I bought this book used a whopping six years ago. Recently, my friend Sarah found it at her library and was lured in by the cover (different from mine) and fairy tale retelling aspect, so she asked if I’d heard of it. “I own it!” I cried and began vigorously searching my shelves so that we could buddy read it. It’ll be fun, we thought. Boy, were we wrong.

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Book Review: Arabella and the Battle of Venus

Arabella and the Battle of Venus
By David D. Levine

My Edition:
Hardcover, 416 pages
2017, Tor
ISBN: 9780765382825

Arabella’s wedding to her beloved Captain Singh is disrupted when his ship is captured by the French and taken to their war camp on the swamp-ridden planet of Venus. Arabella finds passage aboard the ship of handsome privateer Daniel Fox, but is saddled with a chaperone, preventing her from resuming her comfortable life a ship’s mate and instead relegating her to the life of a lady passenger. In her impatience to reach her fiancé, Arabella makes a bet with Fox and finds herself building a clockwork navigational device in order to plot a faster route and often wonders if she’s truly up to the challenge. But once on Venus, Fox’s ship is taken prisoner and all aboard are stranded in the same war camp. There, Arabella finds her fiancé, but also the secret that the French army has been working so hard to hide – the ultimate warship. If Arabella and her friends can’t stop the French from completing the deadly airship, Napoleon could very well control the entire galaxy.

As you may recall from my previous review of Arabella of Mars, when I first picked up the book I thought it was already part of a series. I’m so pleased I didn’t have to wait a year before this actually became true!

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Book Review: Sabella

Sabella
By Tanith Lee

My Edition:
Paperback, 157 pages
1980, DAW

Sabella lives on the Earth-like colony of Nova Mars in the house where her mother died. After her aunt’s sudden death she finds herself being stalked by a young man who she met on the way to her aunt’s funeral. But Sabella knows what to do with handsome young men; she’s been feeding off their blood since she was fourteen. However, this young man brings with him a host of troubles that bring Sabella out of her secluded life.

I loved Sabella as a character, but as a book, not so much.

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Book Review: Lost Boy

pic from netgalley

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook
By Christina Henry

My Edition:
ARC e-book, 304 pages
2017, Berkley Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780399584022

Before Hook was a fearsome pirate he was a boy, living on Peter Pan’s island, playing his games and following his every whim. Peter brought James and the other boys from “The Other Place” to keep him company and more importantly, adore him. When the games turn grim and James starts getting more attention from the boys than Peter does, things on the island take a turn for the worse.

I don’t know what to say about this book. I was incredibly bored the whole time and none of the characters or events had any impact on me.

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Book Review: Burntown

pic from Netgalley

Burntown
By Jennifer McMahon

My Edition:
ARC e-book, 304 pages
2017, Doubleday
ISBN: 9780385541367 (hardcover)

Necco has lived on the streets of a New England town ever since her father and brother died because of the mysterious ghost telephone her father constructed. Necco and her mother joined a clan of “fire eaters” – mystical women who use a drug called the Devil’s Snuff to see the future – but after her mother’s suicide, Necco left the company of the other women to live on her own in an abandoned car. When her boyfriend, Hermes, is murdered while they slept, Necco finds herself on the run from a man called Snake Eyes – the man who was after her father’s machine and is now after her. Necco finds her life intertwined with that of Theo, a high school girl who owes a man a lot of money for the drugs she was selling for him and Pru, a lunch lady who dreams of life at the circus.  As the three women try to outwit Snake Eyes, Necco’s past is revealed to be far darker than she ever imagined.

This book is really hard to describe.

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