Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Resisting Maxu

Read Resisting Maxu (Clecanian, #6)

Being kidnapped by aliens and whisked away to another planet isn’t always a bad thing…

Meg isn’t like the other alien abduction survivors. She doesn’t missmuch of anything from her former life—least of all her deadbeat husband. Her Clecanian rescuers gave her a fresh start, and she plans to enjoy it. Being recognized as a mate is not on her agenda. Too bad a grumpy, possessive, and all-kinds-of-sexy alien has other plans for her…

Maxu never expected to find his fated mate. But he recognized Meg at first sight. Sadly, she’s not as pleased with the match as he is. She’s guarded in a way he doesn’t entirely understand and pushes him away at every turn.

Meg can run, but she soon realizes there’s nowhere to hide—not from a hunter like Maxu. But that doesn’t mean she’ll give in easily. If he wants a happily ever after with her, he’ll have to fight for it.

That ending! The politics picked up in this one which I think was a good choice. It opens up some more exciting plotlines for the next few books.

Meg had the intensity to match Maxu, though I don’t feel they addressed the issue of her lack of choice. They had some funny confrontations.

The opening premise seemed sus — would this society really lock up someone who just recognized their mate?

Maxu came off pretty selfish and self-centered in a lot of his choices, especially the things he stole.

It was fun to take a tour of the other cities and explore so many different cultures. It seems weird that their cultures and genetics would remain quite so distinct — makes me suspect they need more intermingling of genes and cultures to help resolve their reproductive problems.

I appreciated having a lesbian couple as a subplot, though I would have liked them to have had more screen time/ banter together, or maybe more nudging of both individuals by their friends.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Dark Class + Bonus Epilogue

Read Dark Class (Class 5, #5)

Waking up alone . . . Ellie Masters comes out of a coma to find herself the only inhabitant of an eerily empty moon station. She’s not on Earth any more, she’s not even in the right solar system. So when someone reaches out to her, tells her he’s her friend, she’s happy to believe it. The alternative is to be stuck alone with an enemy.

The hunt of his career . . . Grih Battle Center captain, Renn Sorvihn, has been chasing a rogue Tecran ship for over a month, convinced its captain is simply trying to delay his inevitable surrender and punishment. But when Renn follows the Tecran ship into an unchartered sector, and realises the Tecran have been working their way to a secret moon base for weeks, he suddenly understands things are most definitely not as they seem.

Caught in the crossfire . . . When the Tecran arrive, with the Grih hot on their heels, Ellie finds herself the catalyst for heightened danger to everyone. The Tecran see her as evidence of their military’s crimes, the Grih see her as a massive diplomatic complication, and her presence brings the whole confrontation up several thousand notches.

But Ellie isn’t alone, and her new friend has ways to help her. Time to outclass them all . . .

This was fun and fast-paced, and just what I was hoping for after a streak of bad reading picks. I also liked this better than book 4.

I loved Ellie and the little droids. I thought Diener did a good job conveying all the AIs as somewhat childlike but also capable, so their participation in the action didn’t feel inappropriate.

The romance was light in this one, more of a building attraction that they commit to following through on.

I really liked Ellie’s handling of the ending.

The bonus epilogue was a neat little addition, which I appreciated was from Ellie’s POV, but also thought was wise not to include in the main book. It was meatier than I expected, and gave a nice round-off to the series, tying up political loose ends, bringing all the couples together, and setting up the future for them.

Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read For the Throne

Read For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally–though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again–the rogue king Solmir.

Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.

This was a very frustrating read, and I don’t think it stuck the landing. The solution didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I didn’t believe the heroine would choose what she did. The resolution between her and the antihero was weak.

There was no need for this to be 500 pages. There were seriously like five dream sequences. At least one other POV could have been cut. I would frankly have cut all the other viewpoints besides Neve. I thought it very odd to have one chapter each from the sisters’ love interests.

Honestly the story just didn’t quite work. It wanted to be the story of two sisters, and it wanted to be a romance, and it wanted to be epic fantasy. Unfortunately, by not choosing one it did all three poorly. It probably should have focused on the sisters instead of the romance, based on the ending.

At the halfway point, I started skipping all the other viewpoint scenes until the climax. They telegraphed too much, without adding value. Knowing the end, I don’t think they paid off. The author used them to create tension by keeping you away from getting resolution from the main storyline, which I feel is a bad sign when the tension isn’t enough on its own and you have to stall.

Categories
Romance

Read Convergence

Read Convergence (Intersolar Union #1)

Olivia Loxley was a behaviorist with the Los Angeles Police Department. Until her specialty in profiling the human mind becomes of unique interest to Commander Atarian, that is.

When she wakes up in a cell on an alien spacecraft, she gathers her strength for a confrontation that never materializes. Instead, the man asks for her help in the largest raid he’s ever overseen: a pleasure cruiser christened the Paramour, which has been siphoning humans into galactic sex trafficking for months. But in order for his mission to go off without a hitch, he needs to impersonate a connoisseur of human flesh.

The real question is, will either of them be able to keep up professional boundaries? Or will they bow to their primal instincts?

Enjoyed this, will read the next book. The author did a great job with *alien* alien species, and deftly showed how the heroine adapted to being around aliens and thinking of them as people. The side characters are fun and have distinct personalities. I liked how they all immediately recognized her intelligence and skill and happily accepted her help, although they coulda helped her out with a little more info sometimes.

The opening setup was tough, I didn’t love that he abducted her even with noble intent, especially knowing that she wouldn’t be able to return. He did come to regret it and apologize, and she came to grips with it in a way that fit. It seems like he probably should have gotten in more trouble? (Ah, I see that the followup novella addresses this.)

The author really draws out the sexual tension. I understood why he didn’t just talk to her, but also, just talk to her dude.

Minor quibble that the ending drama wasn’t explained well / kinda came out of nowhere, but I presume it will be addressed as the books proceed.

Categories
Cool Technology The Internet Websites

A website devoted to NYC internet infrastructure

Liked Seeing Networks in New York City by Ingrid Burrington (seeingnetworks.in)

New York’s network infrastructure is a lot like the city itself: messy, sprawling, and at times near-incomprehensible. However, the city’s tendency toward flux is a strange blessing for the infrastructure sightseer: markings and remnants of the network are almost everywhere, once you know how to look for them.

And book!

It’s fun to stumble on dedicated little web projects like this. It’s such a niche project that only someone who really cared would bother making it.

Makes me think of a tweet I saw recently that the world is basically made of people’s random passion projects.

Categories
Memoir Mental Health Personal Growth

Read Wintering

Read Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult T…

Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered.

A moving personal narrative shot through with lessons from literature, mythology, and the natural world, May’s story offers instruction on the transformative power of rest and retreat. Illumination emerges from many sources: solstice celebrations and dormice hibernation, C.S. Lewis and Sylvia Plath, swimming in icy waters and sailing arctic seas.

Ultimately Wintering invites us to change how we relate to our own fallow times. May models an active acceptance of sadness and finds nourishment in deep retreat, joy in the hushed beauty of winter, and encouragement in understanding life as cyclical, not linear. A secular mystic, May forms a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.

Liked some of this, wasn’t sure about other parts. The second half I liked better than the first. She has a keen eye for observation and describes her feelings vividly. I liked the bits of other places and natural history — dabbling in other people’s cultures less so. I’m not sure it all pulled together for me though I thought she ended it well.

Categories
Romance

Read The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

Read The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes (London Highwaymen #…

Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her–and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?

As they flee across the country–stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats–they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.

Liked this better than the first book. The epistolary opening is a total delight. Rob is great. I quite enjoyed it but found it a bit of a slower read usual for a romance — and I stalled out at 70% for a few days — I think because much of the plot is actually pretty incidental to the relationship.

I appreciated the way revelations were handled. I wasn’t sure exactly how the ending would turn out but it felt like a good landing. The drama at the climax I think needed to be explained better earlier on since it seems emotionally important.

A lot of bi representation seems like lip service but these two felt queer and the way they approached sex was non-traditional compared to a typical m/f romance.

Categories
Science Fiction

Read Stolen by the Alien Rogue

Read Stolen by the Alien Rogue (Fated Mates of the Zaarn, #0.5)

He’s a demon alien with a wicked smile and an even wickeder tail. And he claims I’m his fated mate.

Space was supposed to be better than my sitch on Earth. Yeah, right. I shoulda known. I wake from cryosleep surrounded by blobby aliens, unable to understand a word. They even throw me in a cage! Looks like I’m the newest pet in an alien zoo.

Then a gorgeous blue demon, complete with horns and tail, steals me from my cell. We go on the run, playing charades to communicate as we con our way through one sticky situation after another.

Zol’s hot as sin. He looks at me like no one ever has, like I’m the most precious thing in the universe. Growing up on the streets, I’ve learned to trust my instincts, and they say he’s the real deal. As things heat up between us and danger closes in, it turns out Zol wants to steal one more thing. My heart.

Stolen by the Alien Rogue is a steamy alien romance featuring a charming alien mercenary who’s all in and the street-smart heroine tempted to gamble on love. Strap in for a fun ride filled with adventure and toe-curling steam! This novella contains a complete love story with a HEA.

New to me author. I got her first newsletter and cackled at the sample text so I decided to give this free novella a try.

This is short but successful at telling a complete story in a tight space. I would have liked a little more backstory and explanation of how she wound up here but think it worked without it. Some funny parts and a cute telepathic pet. A variety of alien species hinted at a broader world.

I was hoping for a little more leadership from the street smart heroine, though she was plucky in following along. I appreciated that she was easy-going about everything — it seems like many SFR heroines get wound up in how weird and different everything is, while Frankie accepted right away that this was just another culture. There were a few references to sinning and wickedness that to me didn’t fit the character all that well but didn’t overwhelm or define her experience.

Categories
Comics History

Read We Hereby Refuse

Read WE HEREBY REFUSE: Japanese American Resistance to Warti…

Three voices. Three acts of defiance. One mass injustice.

The story of camp as you’ve never seen it before. Japanese Americans complied when evicted from their homes in World War II — but many refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

In this groundbreaking graphic novel, meet:

— JIM AKUTSU, the inspiration for John Okada’s No-No Boy, who refuses to be drafted from the camp at Minidoka when classified as a non-citizen, an enemy alien;

— HIROSHI KASHIWAGI, who resists government pressure to sign a loyalty oath at Tule Lake, but yields to family pressure to renounce his U.S. citizenship; and

— MITSUYE ENDO, a reluctant recruit to a lawsuit contesting her imprisonment, who refuses a chance to leave the camp at Topaz so that her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based upon painstaking research, We Hereby Refuse presents an original vision of America’s past with disturbing links to the American present.

Overall this was an effective and moving history. It was interesting to trace the path of three different forms of resistance. This expands on what I learned in Takei’s They Called Us Enemy.

Jim Akutsu’s story was the most fleshed out, followed by Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s. His could have used a bit more clarity, and I would have liked more on Mitsuye Endo.

Two artists use significantly different art styles to illustrate the stories. Though the art in Kashiwagi’s segment looked rough and sketchy, I did like it for the tone. I’m not sure it was complementary to the more traditional art style for the other two segments. Perhaps a third art style might have pulled the distinctive styles together better?

Categories
Romance

Read Sailor’s Delight

Read Sailor’s Delight

Self-effacing, overworked bookkeeper Elie Benezet doesn’t have time to be in love. Too bad he already is—with his favorite client, Augustus Brine. The Royal Navy sailing master is kind, handsome, and breathtakingly competent. He’s also engaged to his childhood sweetheart. And now that his prize money is coming in after years of delay, he can afford to marry her…once Elie submits the final prize paperwork.

When Augustus comes home, determined to marry by the end of his brief leave, Elie does his best to set his broken heart aside and make it happen. But he’s interrupted by one thing after another: other clients, the high holidays, his family’s relentless efforts to marry him off. Augustus isn’t helping by renting a room down the hall, shaving shirtless with his door open, and inviting Elie to the public baths. If Elie didn’t know better, he’d think Augustus didn’t want to get married.

To cap it all off, Augustus’s fiancée arrives in town, senses that Elie has a secret, and promptly accuses him of embezzling. Has Elie’s doom been sealed…or is there still time to change his fate?

A quiet but deeply emotional story — Rose Lerner always seems to be very good at writing emotional complexity. The narrator, Elie, struggles with his love for his client, wondering what the right thing to do is, and trying so hard to do right by everyone else that he forgets about himself. His family, his honor, his duty, his faith all matter deeply to him. I really liked the framing of Rosh Hashanah, the new year, for the story and his arc of change. This feels painstakingly researched, with so many historical details enriching the story. This romance is mostly yearning, with the barest glimpse through the closing door, so don’t go in expecting heat. I would have liked one more chapter at the end to give them some more time together after so long apart.