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Jacqueline Carey: Cassiel's Servant (2023, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

Review of "Cassiel's Servant" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I am thoroughly enjoying this retelling of Kushiel's Dart from Joscelin's perspective. I was a little skeptical at first. Retellings from another point of view have never been a favorite of mine. At most, they've felt like an easy way for an author to bring in more money. HOWEVER, I think Jacqueline Carey puts a lot of thought and quality into her novels, and this one is no different. Yes, it follows the same storyline as Kushiel's Dart very closely. I think the best time to read this is when you're craving a re-reading of Kushiel's Dart. I reread the Kushiel's Legacy series fairly often, so it was a joy to return to this world with a fresh perspective. There were some genuine laugh out loud moments for me, particularly when Joscelin is meeting Phedre for the first time and they don't exactly get along. His repulsion to her anguissette …

John Ringo: Princess of Wands (2006) 3 stars

Review of 'Princess of wands' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

Got about 14% of the way through. Massively turned off by the "master of the house," fundamental Episcopalian, conservative agenda described in the first couple of chapters. Couldn't relate, got bored that the plot wasn't going anywhere yet. Put it down and never picked it up again.

Amanda Bouchet: Promise of Fire (2022, Sourcebooks, Incorporated) 4 stars

Review of 'Promise of Fire' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I inhaled this book! Cat was an absolute delight, and her friction with Beta Team was absolutely hilarious and completely engaging. The tension between her and Griffin (Beta Sinta) was palpable from the second they meet. The romance was very slow burn, with plenty of banter leading up to their eventual coming together. Even better than the romance though, was the actual plot and worldbuilding in this book! There are so many fantasy-romance novels out there where the plot and world takes a backseat to the romance; my biggest pet peeve is when the hero and heroine are indulging in a moment of romance that makes absolutely no sense given what's going on around them. Griffin and Cat keep their eyes on the ball, and the author does a great job of weaving the romance with the plot. I loved this world that Amanda Bouchet built; the mix of tribes …

Gabrielle Zevin: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Hardcover, 2022, Knopf) 4 stars

In this exhilarating novel, two friends--often in love, but never lovers--come together as creative partners …

Review of 'Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I didn't feel like there was any clear plot driving this story. I didn't like any of the characters, except Marx. In fact, Sam and Sadie are at each other's throats for the majority of the story. Both holding grudges against perceived slights that have been blown way out of proportion and exacerbated by refusing to talk through their issues. I dislike stories where the main conflict is caused by miscommunication.
I enjoyed the discussion of game design and I would love a chance to play Pioneers!

G. S. Jennsen: Starshine: Aurora Rising Book One (Aurora Rhapsody 1) (2014, Hypernova Publishing) 4 stars

Review of 'Starshine: Aurora Rising Book One (Aurora Rhapsody 1)' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Waaaaayyyyyyyy too many characters! I was getting fatigued just trying to remember all of the characters in this book; I actually had to start a notes page just to remember who some of them were. That being said, I really enjoyed Alex and Caleb's chapters. And I am interested to see where the story goes. I just hope the author isn't planning to introduce too many more new characters in the next book!

Ruby Lionsdrake: Trial and Temptation (Mandrake Company) (Volume 2) (2015, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) 4 stars

Review of 'Trial and Temptation (Mandrake Company) (Volume 2)' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Another very fun couple to get to know! I thought the speed with which Val warmed up to Gregor was a little fast, given that she had spent the last 10 years basically hating his guts. But the banter between them, the awkward interactions from Gregor and Val's teasing, were adorable. I really liked Gregor. Val was less fun as a heroine than Ankari was in the first book; she spent a lot of time feeling self-conscious about her piloting abilities. The plot in this one was a little thin, and the conflict at the end was kind of out of nowhere. But the situations that Val and Gregor ended up in and the way that they worked together in symphony were very satisfying to read.

"If they've linked us to the kidnapping, we may face aerial resistance when we leave," Gregor said.
"It's somewhat alarming that you sound excited …
Ruby Lionsdrake: Mercenary Instinct (Mandrake Company) (Volume 1) (2015, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) 4 stars

Review of 'Mercenary Instinct (Mandrake Company) (Volume 1)' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I really enjoyed the characters in this book; Ankari and Viktor are a lot of fun. Plus there was an actual plot, and a competent main female character. This book really stood out from other sci-fi romances for me. Viktor doesn't make unilateral decisions to "protect" Ankari; he actually goes and talks to her and they come up with a plan together gasp. Ankari's talents are realistic and I particularly enjoyed her constant escapes and pick-pocketing. There were no TSTL moments. Every obstacle felt real and wasn't the result of a character overlooking an obvious-to-me eventuality. There was a little bit of an insta-love aspect, but it was couched as more insta-lust with feelings coming later. And I liked that the conclusion of the story ended up with Ankari working out a deal with Viktor so that she could continue her business.