Svanhild likes the feel of the steering oar, the feel of the water. Her son Eystein has six summers and is a tall frail boy. Unlike his parents, he has no love of the sea. He hates the sea and the cold, longs to live on the land. The fleet is headed for Iceland where they will shelter for winter, and Svanhild has secret hopes that it will stay a bit longer so that Eystein can grow stronger. Ragnvald Eysteinsson is tired of fighting King Harald’s battles. He thought that becoming King of Sogn would let him stay home, would give him peace and contentment. But he was wrong, so very wrong. This second book in the series begins six years after the end of The Half-Drowned King and continues the stories of the siblings Svanhild and Ragnvald. The descriptions of Iceland and Norway are vivid, and the characters are sometimes flawed, sometimes not very likable, often brutal, but always very real. The story is based on the Saga of Harold Harfagr and incorporates historical events in the founding of Norway. I enjoyed it so very much and am impatiently awaiting the third book.
eGalley review Publication date 8.14.18
Alien probes were sent to Earth fifty years before the story opens. Those born after exposure to the probe developed super powers. Earth, or Omnisteller Corporation the ruling entity, can’t just let these folks wander free so they are imprisoned off planet in huge maximum security space stations. Sanctuary is the space prison where teen Kenzie lives and works as guard under command of her mother. It is isolating work with frequent drills, yet she has never had to deal directly with the prisoners – teens her age. Children with powers, some younger than 10 have been sent to Sanctuary for no real crime other than having powers. During a mastermind jail break, Kenzie is taken hostage and she sympathizes with her captors. They must band together for survival.
The story moves briskly, the characters are well-written, but it feels so familiar. Part X-Men, part Alien, part lots of other SF novels. For teens who are fine with that, who are not overly familiar with this genre, they will enjoy this high-action novel. It is the next book that might just break away from familiar scenarios. What happens next? The story could go in so many directions so that I am eager to read the sequel.
eGalley review Publication date 7.24.18
The sequel to The Traitor’s Kiss continues to follow the exploits of the multi-talented Sage who fell in love with Captain Alex Quinn during their successful efforts to thwart an enemy invasion. Sage is living a secure life as tutor to the royal children but sees Alex only when his missions require him to report to the King. Now there are suspicions of another invasion attempt and Alex is sent off in command of special forces to spy and repel the enemy. Sage talks her way into going along and she is extremely invaluable in negotiating with bordering nations.
Another adventure with Sage. I can’t imagine anyone not liking her. She is genuine and brave and rather handy to have around. Almost too perfect for a character but fun to read. This book does feel more like a bridge to the third book. There didn’t seem to be a significant plot. At the end, everyone is set up for the next installment with new postings from the King. No real cliffhanger here and the storyline is not as intense as the first book.
eGalley review Publication date 7.10.18
David Naimon is a writer and the host of Portland, Oregon based podcast, Between the Covers. This all began as a series of recorded interviews with Ursula Le Guin for the show. Then they came to the conclusion that the interviews would make a good book. And they were right. It is fascinating. Naimon and Le Guin discussed writing in general, Le Guin’s books in particular. Excerpts from her works and from books she found useful are included. They discussed philosophy, poetry, nonfiction, fiction. Reading the book you feel included in the conversation, as if you were just sitting with friends. And it is a rare thing to be taken inside the mind of such an intelligent, thoughtful, interesting person. It is a little book that I read quickly. Now I think I will read it again, slowly.
eGalley review Publication date 7.17.18
This anthology is all about space exploration and discovery. Neil Clarke says that it is like “all the episodes of Star Trek where they discover some new phenomena, make contact with a new species or explore the remnants of some long forgotten race.” Thus, the title. The list of authors sounds like a list of Nebula or Hugo award winners…. Ken Liu, Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Bear, Michael Swanwick, James Patrick Kelly…you get the idea. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Elizabeth Bear’s The Deeps of the Sky about an otherworlder sacrificing much to save an intruder is a contender. Sailing the Antarsa by Vandana Singh is beautiful and poetic. The Symphony of Ice and Dust by Julie Novakova is like nothing I’ve read before. I loved them all
eGalley review. Publication date 7.10.18
Willa has always been the one to calm things down, smooth things over. Starting with her mother’s volatility, she was the child who made things better. We get little glimpses of her life as she hones her skill as a peace maker . . . a college student contemplating marriage, a young widow, a retiree married to her second husband. And then with a phone call from a stranger and a case of mistaken identity, she begins to reinvent herself.
Anne Tyler is amazing. Her books are always full of warmth and humor, dysfunctional families, and quirky characters….the same basic formula. Yet every book is fresh, original, not at all the same old thing. Her writing is beautiful and you fall in love with the characters. This is one of her best books. Don’t miss it.
eGalley review. Publication date 7.10.18
The spaceship is all Romy has ever known. She was an unauthorized/unexpected baby while her parents were the only crew members not in stasis during a long distance voyage to establish a colony. The crew in stasis died years ago, then Romy lost her parents. All alone for years with a batch of frozen embryos, she has no choice but to continue the mission. Transmissions from Earth have a long delay, so there is no one to help if an emergency situation arises. She learns that NASA sent another ship to catch up to her. Finally, she will not be alone! But what are the true intentions of this ship’s captain?
The author did an excellent job pulling off what is difficult to do in stories with limited characters. This is all Romy, all the time. Too much drivel about what the character is feeling is off putting. But this is so well written, that rather succinctly, the reader can grasp the situation, Romy’s reactions, feelings, and actions. The story moved briskly with the perfect amount of tension. The ending was spot on. The reader gets a glimpse and that is all that is needed. Highly Recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 7.3.18