Why I Won’t Bash Romance Novels

I recently read and shared the following article on Twitter and Facebook:

Bashing Romance Novels Is Just Another Form Of Slut-Shaming by Sarah MacLean (posted on Bustle, September 29, 2016)

Now that I’ve decided to start reading romance novels, I find that I have a desire to learn more about the history of the genre.

Continue reading “Why I Won’t Bash Romance Novels”

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Crown, 2016

I’ve read some truly amazing books this year. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is probably my favorite of all of them. It’s a trip—a thriller, solid SF, mind-bending.

I had many people encourage me to read it in the months after it hit shelves. Everyone told me this book is original and mindblowing.

I admit: at first, I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. It’s a multiverse / alternate reality story. An exceptionally well-done multiverse story—much better than most—with interesting characters, high stakes, a driven plot. But the multiverse concept is pretty standard in scifi, not really original.

Then I got to the twist…

The twist is a genuine surprise, completely unexpected, yet it’s inevitable given the premise. That’s quite an achievement.

This novel is brilliant and mindblowing! I unreservedly love it! I encourage everyone to read it.

Book Review: Remnants of Trust by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Cover of the book Remnants of Trust by Elizabeth Bonesteel
Remnants of Trust
by Elizabeth Bonesteel
Harper/Voyager, 2016

This review was first published by Booklist on September 15, 2016.

This second entry in the Central Corps series is wall-to-wall action. It starts with a bang, opens new vistas of political and corporate intrigue, and pulls readers along to an ending that will leave them wanting more. After the events of The Cold Between (2016), Elena Shaw and Greg Foster were court-martialed for their actions. But instead of punishment, they’re put back on board their ship and assigned to patrol the Third Sector. When Syndicate raiders attack and destroy a fellow Corps ship, they must partner with a PSI captain and her crew to pursue the attackers. Elena’s former crewmates and commander open old wounds, as the pursuit leads to the site of one of her worst memories. Worse yet, there’s a saboteur on board. Bonesteel’s characters are what really stand out amid all the action—the relationships between them ground everything in the story, though this novel ditches the romance that characterized its predecessor in favor of more straightforward military science fiction. Fans of David Drake’s Honor Harrington series will find much to enjoy here.

Book Review: City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales by Gigi Little

Cover of the book City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales by Gigi Little
City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales
by Gigi Little
Forest Avenue, 2016

This review was first published by Booklist on September 1, 2016.

The 30 stories collected here come from an impressive cast of authors. All stories are set in Portland, Oregon (you don’t need to know anything about Portland to enjoy them), and partake, to varying degrees, of the unique brand of weird that defines that city. Some center around specific landmarks (Powell’s bookstore makes several appearances), some reference the history of the town, and some treat the city only as a general setting. These stories range from highly speculative to more mainstream, from upbeat to cynical, silly to serious; stories of love and loss, humor and pathos, from the bizarre to the poetic. There’s even an illustrated comic. Some are wonderfully pulpy, and some are more modern. “Transformation,” by Dan DeWeese, uses an alien invasion as critique of mindless conformity; “Yay,” by Bradley K. Rosen, is a Christmas Krampus story of madness and indigence; “Waiting for the Question,” by Art Edwards, is a gritty urban fantasia featuring Alex Trebek. All of the stories are very good, making this a fun and recommended collection.

Book Review: The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee

Cover of the book The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee
The Forgetting Moon
by Brian Lee Durfee
Saga, 2016

This review was first published by Booklist on September 1, 2016.

A thousand years ago, the Five Warrior Angels rid the Five Isles of demons. Since then, their legends have given rise to religions, which now war for conquest. Many believe a prophesied apocalypse is near: some seek to hasten it, while a secret cult fights to prevent it. Magical weapons thought long lost are being found. But the legends may be lies, and the fate of the world depends on the daughters of a king, an assassin, a mysterious Vallè, and an orphan boy from a small fishing village. This is high fantasy in the vein of Stephen R. Donaldson or David Eddings, with generous helpings from George R. R. Martin. Durfee’s world building is exceptional: detailed and immersive, with a deep history and believable cultures. The plot is paced and driven, compellingly structured, with a conflict large enough to fuel forthcoming titles in the series. Some of the concepts and characters feel derivative, though archetype, and, unfortunately, the writing is inconsistent. For fans of high fantasy, the less-than-stellar writing shouldn’t detract from enjoyment of the world and the many entertainments of the story.