Courtney Milan – The Duke Who Didn’t

How awesome is this book? Let me count the ways. First, the barebones: Jeremey’s in love with Chloe, but he hasn’t told her he’s actually the Duke, and basically owns her village. Chloe doesn’t want to admit she’s in love with Jeremy. She knows he’s rich – he’s known as “Posh Jim,” after all –Continue reading “Courtney Milan – The Duke Who Didn’t”

Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Gods of Jade and Shadow

Both the 1920’s Mexican setting and the underpinning of Mayan myth set “Gods of Jade and Shadow” apart from the vast majority of fantasy fiction; the combination lends this novel firmly in “not like anything else I’ve ever read” territory. Even when the bones of the plot feel (appropriately!) familiar, the way it unfolds isContinue reading “Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Gods of Jade and Shadow”

T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod: Holly and Ivy

DNF. Reviewing here but not on GR coz I con’t want to be mean. I wanted to like this FF holiday-themed romance, with a chilly techie, an offseason vacation island setting, and even a part-Maine coon cat – all super on-brand for me, but the prose was just too clunky and the plot had tooContinue reading “T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod: Holly and Ivy”

Courtney Milan: After the Wedding

I very much appreciate how Courtney Milan inverts and subverts familiar romance tropes, and “After the Wedding” is no exception: it literally starts with a wedding, in which the principals are forced at gunpoint to marry, and their efforts to obtain an annulment, coupled with their inconveniently increasing mutual attraction, drive much of the plot.Continue reading “Courtney Milan: After the Wedding”

Holly Messinger: The Curse of Jacob Tracy

Reminds me almost equally of TV’s Deadwood and Angel – impressively researched post-Civil War setting with a complex supernatural ecosystem in a series of nearly self-contained novellas that gradually advance a larger plot. Novel finds some degree of closure, but more seems indicated, and I’m eager for follow-on.

Naomi Mitchison: Travel Light

“Travel light” is an exhortation protagonist Halla hears at one point in this singular slim book; it’s a tactic that enables her to travel farther and faster than she otherwise might, not being unduly burdened. It’s also a tactic the book itself employs, moving from what at first seems to be a fairy tale thatContinue reading “Naomi Mitchison: Travel Light”

Joe Meno: Demons in the Spring

One of the things that impresses me most about Meno is how adept he is at both naturalistic and magical realist* fiction. Two of my favorite stories in this collection, “Miniature Elephants are Popular” and “Airports of Light” explore striking, original, and emotionally resonant metaphors for grief and loss. (I thought the similarly themed “TheContinue reading “Joe Meno: Demons in the Spring”

Jo Stanley: Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages

A history of female pirates faces formidable challenges: career criminals tends to be systematically sensationalized and mythologized, pirates were overwhelmingly from a socio-economic class virtually ignored by traditional historians, and the doings — or even presence — of women is likewise ignored by many historical sources. A handful of female pirates left a verifiable historyContinue reading “Jo Stanley: Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages”