Posted in Loved It, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Wayfarer

9781484715765_p0_v3_s192x300 Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre:   Science Fiction

Rating: L

Synopsis:

Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: I didn’t realize that this was the conclusion to Passenger.  I assumed that this was the middle book in a trilogy. I guess I should have read the synopsis on the back of the book.  So what did I think?  I loved it.  A lot of ground was covered in this book, but it didn’t feel rushed.  It was very interesting to learn that the ability to time travel was a direct result of alchemy.  Usually you read about alchemy changing things into gold or giving eternal life; although there was some eternal life after a fashion in this book.  I’m a little bit sad that this series is over; however the ending does leave it open for the author to be able to return to this world at some point.

Posted in Fantasy, Loved It, Young Adult

Three Dark Crowns

Author:   Kendare Blake 

Genre:     Fantasy 

Rating:    L

Synopsis:

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown. 

Opinion 

It’s been a while since I found a series that I really enjoyed. This series will take sisterly rivalry to the next level.  The story centers on a set of Queen triplets- Arisnoe, Mirabella, and Katherine. Each of them is born with a gift.  Their queen mother knows what their gifts are from birth. Mirabella is an elemental. Katherine is a poisoner, and Arisnoe is a naturalist. The only problem is that of the three, Mirabella is the strongest with her gift.  Arisnoe and Katherine are so weak they are almost giftless. Each Queen is raised with people who can train them in their gift.

The story details life for each of the queens leading up to their sixteenth birthday.  Each of the families raising the queens have grown to love them and are desperate for each to survive and become Queen. Two of the sisters seem to accept their fate.  However, Mirabella doesn’t want to kill either of her sisters.

A plan is devised to give Mirabella a bloodless victory, but it backfires. Then the year starts, and all three queens want vengeance. 

But there is one tiny problem. Arisnoe discovers after an attempt by Katherine to poison her that she isn’t a naturalist. She’s a poisoner. 

So that begs the question, if the Queen knows the gifts of the triplets upon birth, how On earth did she get the triplets gifts mixed up?  Was this the design of the Queen?  Did someone switch two of the triplets on purpose?  However this happened, this is shaping up to be a fight like none other.  I think all of the queens might be the most powerful of their true gifts, and they will be more than evenly matched. 

Posted in Loved It, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Passenger

Author:  Alexandra Bracken

Genre:   Science Fiction

Rating:  L

Synopsis:

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

Opinion:

So I saw this book in the Young Adult section in Barnes and Nobles.  The description was very interesting.  You know how much I enjoy time travel novels.

This series is about people who are born with the ability to travel through time. It is not clear who the progenitor giving them this ability is, but this gift runs through families.  Etta has been kept from this life by her mother for a reason, but is thrust into the center stage without explanation or training.  It seems that each of these families has a “heirloom” for better word, and one man wants it in order to save a lost love.  See these passages through time only go to certain  years and there are many rules about where/when travelers can go.  This man, the head of the Ironwood clan, hid his first wife in a time where no passages connected in order to protect her as the traveler families constantly war with one another.  Well someone planned well and was able to kill the woman and there was nothing that Ironwood could do to rescue his wife.  However, the heirloom of Etta’s family can change that.

This is a grand adventure novel, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the novel.  Things ended at a really shocking point.  I do like the fact that one of the main characters is a young man of color.  Right now, it is shaping up that he’s going going to be the lead character in at least the next book.

Posted in Historical, Loved It, Mystery, Uncategorized

Jane and the Waterloo Map

Author:     Stephanie Barron

Genre:      Mystery, cozy

Rating:    L

Synopsis

November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.

However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.

 

Opinion

It’s been far too long since Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas was published.  For those of you who don’t read a lot of Austen, one of her books, Emma was dedicated to the Prince Regent, a man Austen was known to dislike.  The beginning of this book explores how Jane ended up dedicating her book to this royal.  In this book we are introduced to the character James Stanier Clarke, who bears a passing resemblance to Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice (though by this point in the timeline, this book has already been published.) There were some interesting character developments in this book.  For starters, Jane seems to have replaced Lord Harold Trowbridge with her regard for Mr. Raphael West (who was introduced in the last book).  It’s really not surprising.  Both men possessed formidable intellects.  In addition, both men were secret agents.  Also, Jane’s niece Fanny plays a part in the investigation.  It seems as though Jane might actually have a real sidekick.  Although Jane was close to her sister, Cassandra wasn’t the sort to have the adventures with Jane.

The Waterloo Map.  I was really hoping that there was such an item that was lost in the antiquities of time.  Alas, it is not so!!!  But what a thought, that Napoleon might have concealed a treasure in Russia during his retreat.

I’m beginning to get a little bit sad with regards to this series.  About 4 of Jane’s novels have been published.  So that means we are getting nearer to her death, and nearer to the end of this series.

With regards to this book, I decided to read it quite slowly and savor it, particularly as it will be a while before the next book comes out. I did not figure out who dunnit until the very end.  I was pretty shocked actually.

This was a great read.  I loved it!

Posted in Loved It, Rated LI, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Trek, Uncategorized

Star Trek Voyager: a Pocket Full of Lies

 

Author:   Kirsten Beyer

Genre:      Science fiction

Rating:     LI

Synopsis:

 An original novel set in the universe of Star Trek: Voyager from New York Times bestselling author Kirsten Beyer—and the sequel to Atonement and Acts of Contrition!

The Full Circle Fleet has resumed its unprecedented explorations of the Delta Quadrant and former Borg space. Commander Liam O’Donnell of the U.S.S. Demeter makes a promising first contact with the Nihydron—humanoid aliens that are collectors of history. They rarely interact with the species they study but have created a massive database of numerous races, inhabited planets, and the current geopolitical landscape of a large swath of the quadrant. When an exchange of data is proposed via a formal meeting, the Nihydron representatives are visibly shaken when Admiral Kathryn Janeway greets them. For almost a century, two local species—the Rilnar and the Zahl—have fought for control of the nearby planet Sormana, with both sides claiming it as their ancestral homeworld. The shocking part is that for the last several years, the Rilnar have been steadily gaining ground, thanks to the tactics of their current commanding officer: a human woman, who appears to be none other than Kathryn Janeway herself… 

Opinion:  Time travel and the multiverse.  This sort of thing can give you a headache if you think about it too much.  Fortunately I enjoy it.  This book involves three of the species from the episode A Year of Hell.  For those of you not familiar with the episode, Voyager encountered a species called the Krenim. A Krenim scientist have created a Weldon that was capable of erasing objects, people, civilizations from time.  The scientist was trying to make his people the most powerful species in the sector.  But by erasing species (enemies) it had some unintended side effects namely his wife and Provence was wiped out.  This scientist had created temporal shields for his ship so they would not experience the effect of the changes being made.  They spent a couple of hundred years trying to undo the damage before Voyager stumbled onto them.  Voyager was a wild card that threw the temporal calculations off.  So naturally he tried to destroy Voyager.  It was a rough year for the drew, but in the end Janeway destroyed that ship erasing it from the timeline and thereby resetting everything.

Once the timeline was restored, the Krenim didn’t tamper with the timeline as much.  But there was two particular species that they were hell bent on annihilating- the Zahl and Rilnar.  This book explores why the Krenim wanted to destroy these species.
As far as the other Janeway, well if you’ve read Star Trek Voyager: the Eternal Tide, then you know that every Janeway in the multiverse died on the exact same day.  This othe Janeway died but then was revived.  Very interesting as to why this occurred.  Let’s just say our favorite letter of the alphabet is back. 

We catch up with Tom and B’lanna who have had a son Michael Owen.  The book explores more the aftermath of the effects on Nancy Conlon after her brutal alien takeover in Atonement ( I need to post this review).

Anyway, it was a very enjoyable read.  

Posted in Loved It, paranormal, Paranormal, Rating, Speculative, Uncategorized

The Chess Queen Enigma

Author:     Colleen Gleason

Genre:      Mystery, Paranormal, Speculative

Rating:    L

Synopsis:

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood, so to speak.

In this third installment of the Stoker and Holmes series, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does.

Opinion

I really liked this book.  The story is starting to have a major arc in the Anhk.  I sense a crisis coming though.  The Anhk is really fighting for equality for women.  I think both Mina and Evaline are going to come to a crossroads with respect to this.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Mina ends up turning briefly to the dark side so to speak.

 

Posted in Historical Fiction, Liked It, Loved It

Taming of the Queen

 

by Philippa Gregory
 Author: Philippa Gregory

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

By the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen, a riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name.
Why would a woman marry a serial killer?
Because she cannot refuse…
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives—King Henry VIII—commands her to marry him.
Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.
But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy—the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…
From an author who has described all of Henry’s queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power, and education at the court of a medieval killer.

Opinion:  You know, I can’t imagine anything more scary than being an attractive, high-born woman during the reign of King Henry VIII.  I think a serial killer is an excellent way to describe Henry.  Not only did he kill wives, he killed anyone that challenged him.  Staying in his favor was a dance that few mastered.  A lot of it was knowing when to beat a hasty retreat to a country estate, although this was not necessarily an option for Kateryn.  We hear a lot about Henry’s first three wives, but we don’t get alot about the last 3.  I suppose because the marriages were so short.  

I think it was really interesting to learn how much Henry’s last queen did to promote the Protestant faith in England.  She was quite the scholar.  

The book was well-written.  It’s amazing because even though I knew Kateryn would survive Henry, I still sat on pins and needles for her as I was reading.  

Anyway, Ms. Gregory has written about the War or Roses and Tudor England. I wonder what there is to tackle next. 

Posted in Loved It, Mystery

Malice at the Palace

 

Author:     Rhys Bowen

Genre:       Mystery

Rating:       L

Synopsis:
From the New York Times betselling author of Queen of Hearts comes another mystery for “fans of P.G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing.” (Publishers Weekly) Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing. While my beau Darcy is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the Queen—especially one that includes lodging. The King’s youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London and, above all, dispel any rumors about George’s libertine history. Perhaps that last bit isn’t so simple. George is known for his many affairs with women as well as men—including the great songwriter Noel Coward. But things truly get complicated when I search the Palace for a supposed ghost only to encounter an actual dead person: a society beauty said to have been one of Prince George’s mistresses. Nothing spoils a royal wedding more than murder, and the Queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds—and Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places—the investigation brings us precariously close to the prince himself.

Opinion:  I really liked the fact that this story really starts to progress the series.  I mean from the standpoint of character development.  One thing I will say about the previous books is that the characters really didn’t seem to change much.  Well, this book is completely different.  Georgie’s older brother changes in that he makes it more clear that Georgie has a home with him.  Belinda changes because she gets herself into an interesting predicament for a woman during that time; and there will be repurcussions for quite some time.  Then there is Georgie’s mother who finally takes note of the fact that her daughter is penniless and tells her to ask if she ever needs anything.  (I personally think she should just give her daughter an allowance, but that’s me).  Lastly there is Georgie and Darcy.  They’ve been playing the we-are-engaged-but-some-times-it’s-not-so-clear dance for ages.  It’s finally nice to see some closure to that.  There was an interesting supernatural element to the story that has not been present in the previous books.  What I particularly liked was the fact that most of the story took place at Kensington Palace where Prince William and Duchess Kate have the 1A apartment.  The mystery didn’t take place in that particular apartment though.  

Another great read by the author.  I cannot wait to see what she does with Darcy and Georgie in the next book.  

Posted in Loved It, Mystery, Regency

The Suspicion at Sanditon

  

Author:     Carrie Bebris

Genre:       Mystery

Rating:      L

Synopsis:

Suspicion at Sanditon, a new adventure in Carrie Bebris’s award-winning Mr.&Mrs. Darcy Mystery series takes Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy to Sanditon, the setting of Jane Austen’s final work. There, accompanied by their friend Miss Charlotte Heywood, they encounter an array of eccentric villagers and visitors. Among Sanditon’s most prominent residents: Lady Denham, a childless, twice-widowed dowager with a fortune to bequeath and a flight of distant relations circling for a place in her will.

The Darcys have scarcely settled into their lodgings when Lady Denham unexpectedly invites them to a dinner party. Thirteen guests assemble at Sanditon House-but their hostess never appears. As a violent storm rises, a search for Lady Denham begins. The Darcys, like most of their fellow attendees, speculate that one of her ladyship’s would-be heirs has grown impatient .?.?. until the guests start to vanish one by one.

Does a kidnapper lurk in the centuries-old mansion, or is a still more sinister force at work? As the night grows short, the dwelling’s population grows thin, and tales of Sanditon House’s storied past emerge, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy find themselves leading a desperate effort to discover what has happened to Lady Denham and the missing guests, before they all-perhaps even Elizabeth and Darcy themselves-disappear.

The Regency era’s answer to Nick and Nora Charles, the Darcys once again demonstrate their quick wits and signature wit as they search for the truth-universally acknowledged and otherwise.

Opinion:  Sanditon is the only novel that Jane Austen did not finish.  I have read the attempts of “Another Lady” to finish the novel.  She did an excellent job.  I thought it was quite interesting that Ms. Bebris also paired the same two characters in the original story.  

As for the story.  I really enjoyed it.  At one point, I was scratching my head because so many characters were going missing.  It didn’t occur to me that there was more than one plot afoot in this whole escapade.  One of the culprits, I should have guess based upon what I knew of the original Sanditon novel as well as Sanditon completion.  The other culprit never occurred to me. 

This was definitely an enjoyable read.  

The only question left is what will be the subject of Ms. Bebris’ next novel?  My money is on her writing a mystery about the infamous Lady Susan or perhaps she will tackle Love and Freindship.  I think Lady Susan is more likely as there is a lot more story there.  

Posted in Fantasy, Loved It, Young Adult

An Ember in the Ashes

Author:     Sabaa Tahir

Genre:       Fantasy

Rating:      L

Synopsis: 

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: Wow!!!  I saw this book in Barnes & Noble, and I was very intrigued by the cover.  I got distracted by a couple of other books that came out, but I did eventually come back to read this one.  

This one had a bit of a slow start.  Don’t get me wrong, it started with a skirmish, I meant in terms of getting to the real conflict of the series.  For a long time, I kept wondering why this book was a fantasy, but eventually the author got into some of the mythical creatures.  By the end of the book, I was definitely hooked.  I can’t wait to see how this series is going to turn out.  I’m hoping that the fantasy elements will play a much bigger role in the next book; they should, particularly as this entire world’s history has been shaped by mythical creatures (though most don’t recognize this).  I have a sad feeling that the Martial Empire is going to learn far too late the consequences of taking knowledge/technology from creatures whom they have no hope of truly comprehending.  

I like the character’s Laia and Elias.  Obviously, they are going to end up together (this is a YA novel after all).  I found Elias to be a lot more interesting of the pair.  I think it is because he has had such a strange life- being abandoned by his mother and then subsequently being adopted byhis grandfather.  I’m really curious as to who his father is.  His mother mentions that Elias’ father failed to kill her.  This would suggest that he isn’t a pleasant man, but Elias’ mother is rather twisted so it is hard to know how credible she really is.  Elias’ mother is also rather interesting.  She exhibits such hatred for her own father, yet she appears to be having the family motto tattoed on her body. There’s a lot going on here.  

Anyway, my prediction for the series is that Laia and Elias will help the Scholar and Martials put aside their difference and work together to defeat their common enemy.  But we shall see.  

This is a great series to start this summer.