Review: Closer to the Chest (Herald Spy #3) by Mercedes Lackey

Closer to the ChestIt’s taken quite a few books, but I think Lackey is back on her stride with her long-running Valdemar series. While I still noticed a few editorial discrepancies, I enjoyed this novel a lot more than any of the previous books that featured Mags and Amily. This particular story acts as a culmination to what both characters have been working toward for years. Now, they are full Heralds who have come into their own, both in the work that they do and in their relationship.

Valdemaran courtly and political intrigue are some of my very favorite things, and I got both of those in spades in this novel. As an added bonus, Lackey also introduces us to other religious elements in the world, proving that just because a series has literally dozens of books doesn’t mean that the readers (and the author) aren’t always learning new things.  Continue reading

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Review: Valhalla (Stargate SG-1 #14) by Tim Waggoner

ValhallaI enjoyed this book more than I otherwise might have, reading it so soon on the heels of watching Thor: Ragnarok in theaters. Any Stargate reading for me is a visit to a world I love, and this was a solid, though not necessarily memorable, entry into the media tie-in offerings for this world.

One of my biggest criteria for media tie-in stories is whether the story would have worked in the constraints of visual storytelling, and unfortunately, I could have easily seen this, special effects totally doable, on screen as a two-part episode. The planet Langara and its all-powerful naquadia resources and rogue Asgard scientists are also already done to death in the realm of Stargate stories.  Continue reading

Review: A Scandal in Battersea (Elemental Masters #12) by Mercedes Lackey

Scandal in BatterseaThe novels of Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series take two forms. The first is re-imagined fairy tales set in Edwardian England (and Europe beyond). The second is a more of a traditional (historical) urban fantasy series that centers around a group of magicians, psychics, and mediums in London, starring two plucky young women and their avian familiars. They hang out with Sherlock Holmes sometimes, which is why his star-power gets him on the cover of the book.

A Scandal in Battersea is the latter style, which is not my preference of the two, but it was still a quick and enjoyable read. It was a solid, magical mystery adventure filled with comforting characters familiar from earlier in the series. Watching Nan and Sarah grow up has been a lovely ride, and I do enjoy checking in on them.  Continue reading

Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

ArtemisWhen the credits rolled on Ant-Man, I turned to my husband and exclaimed, “Marvel made me a heist movie!” When I read the first blurb about Artemis ages ago, I turned to my husband and exclaimed, “Andy Weir is writing me a heist novel!”

Considering I read the book in the space of a solid 4 hours on Wednesday night, the day after the book’s publication, I think it’s safe to say that Weir did not disappoint. (Since this review is coming out so close to publication, it has no spoilers).  Continue reading

November Wrap-Up & December Goals

Disney World 2017The holiday season is in full swing here at Casa Siamese, after a successful Thanksgiving (complete with fried turkey!) and my outside Christmas decorations newly put up. (The artificial tree will have to wait until my husband’s muscles can help.) I didn’t accomplish 100 percent of my November goals, but I’m in too good a mood to care.

Especially since my month started at Disney World! I’ve been riding that high ever since.

November Wrap-Up

  • Due to the aforementioned Disney World, because apparently writing goals go out the window at the happiest place on earth, I started the month behind and never quite caught up. I’m calling the month done at 13k words completed, bringing the current total for Steel Shadows to 68k words.
  • The Disney trip was definitely a success! Okay, so I was really there for a conference related to the day job. The four workshops I attended were well worth the time, and my day off in between was a blast. I thought it might be weird spending a day alone at a theme park, but it was nice to enjoy the day at my own pace, and sticking my Kindle in my purse for the few long lines I experienced was pure brilliance. I even saw the kitty trifecta of lions, tigers, and cheetahs to make my day at Animal Kingdom complete.
  • While not quite as extravagant, I closed out the month with a great time at ChessieCon in Baltimore, Maryland. You can read my full con report here.

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Con Report: ChessieCon 2017

ChessieCon 2017The curtain has closed on my final convention of 2017. For all the other drama of the year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every convention (new and old) I’ve attended this year, and I can’t wait to do it all again in 2018.

FRIDAY

Since ChessieCon is held less than half an hour away from my house, I commuted instead of staying at the hotel. After seeing Coco with my husband and mother-in-law in the afternoon, I ate a quick dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers and headed north. The first thing I did was reunite with my friends Cristin Kist and Jeff Grittman, of the science-fiction comedy Prison Dad series and Silly Talks About Science Fiction podcast.

My two events that evening where the rapid-fire reading with Broad Universe, where I read the prologue to Steel Blood. Then, I participated in a panel on “What We’re Watching on TV.” I plugged my current favorite shows, such as The MagiciansThe Expanse, and The Good Place, and learned about some other awesome series to check out. The conversation didn’t just stick to the usual sources of television shows, but also branched out into YouTube series and short discussion about why SF/F has had a bit of a renaissance on television in the past decade.  Continue reading

Review: Canyon Shadows (Dark Tyrant #2) by C.R. Langille

Canyon ShadowsDisclaimer: I consider myself friends with the author, via the graduate writing program we both attended. However, I purchased the hardcopy version of this novel for full price.

Though this book is the second in a shared world of stories, you do not have to read the first in order to get full enjoyment from this novel (which I think is actually a prequel, anyway). Set in our contemporary world, this story features a fascinating mix of mythologies, Christian and indigenous North American, which complement each other to good effect over the course of the plot. The combination starts with a fascinating archaeological mystery and ends with an epic showdown.  Continue reading