Posted in Rated E, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Star Wars Bloodlines

9780425286784_p0_v1_s192x300 Author:

Claudia Gray

Genre:

Science Fiction

Rating:

Exceeded my expectations

Synopsis:

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE
 
When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing. . . .

Opinion:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I am a Star Wars Legacy fan!  I’m not happy about the fact that they did away with the expanded universe and decided to rewrite everything.  So I was not looking forward to this book.  I intended to dislike it on principle.

Therefore, I was quite surprised to discover that I actually enjoyed it.  How odious it is to end up liking something one is quite determined to hate.

This book takes place about 6 years prior to the Force Awakens; so some 20 odd years have passed since Return of the Jedi.  Unfortunately the New Republic is just as ineffective as the Old Republic.  The only difference is that with the Old Republic there were several factions.  In the New Republic, there are only those that are pro- central government, and those who are against.  Because there is no leader, nothing gets done. Injustices occur and no one can decide to do anything about it.  But someone is using this to further their own ends.

The ending was a bit anti-climatic.  If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the First Order is the bad group.  This story really explores how another “empire” was formed so soon after Palpaltine was destroyed. You also see the beginning of how Ben Solo ends up becoming Kylo Ren.

One thing that this book deals with that you really don’t see in the expanded universe series is how people react to finding out that Luke and Leia are the children of Darth Vader.  In the expanded universe, Luke and Leia’s action in the Rebellion seems to separate them enough from their father that no one has any problems electing Leia as the leader of the New Republic, but in this new universe people are terrified.  The fact that Luke and Leia suffered so much at their own father’s hands is a fact that a lot of people overlook.

Anyway, the book was well written.  It will be interesting to see where this new universe takes us.

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Posted in Fantasy, Folklore, Rated E

Lindorm Kingdom



Author:    Amy Jane Helmericks

Genre:     Fantasy/ Folklore

Rating:     E

Synopsis:

What if your freedom came through the one who was meant to destroy you? 
The lindorm has more power in his dragon body than his human mind can reliably control. The strength that has kept him alive until now is growing into a liability. He’s running out of time to break his enchantment, and he doesn’t even know how to start. 
As a teenage single mother, Linnea endures cruelty and indignities to maintain her independence in a culture that only values the strong. When she tries to save a vulnerable child, her persistence irritates the wrong people and her jealous stepmother offers Linnea to them as lindorm bait. 
No one cares if Linnea will be an effective means to get past the dragon’s defenses, a strategic distraction, or simply its last meal. 
Linnea and the lindorm are expected to eliminate one another, but these two have never been good at doing what’s expected of them. 

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  This is a rather unusual book review for me.  Usually, I’m either sent books by the publisher ahead of the release date or I purchase them on my own.  Usually I have no involvement in the book.  The same cannot be said for Lindorm Kingdom.  I met the author (virtually met her) back in 2007 when I started this blog.  She had started this book in 2006.  I’ve gotten to review and critique a couple of the drafts.  It’s really something to see a work in progress for almost 8 years.  I hadn’t read a draft in a while, so I jumped at the chance to review the published book.  

I was very surprised.  This book has gotten better with every new draft.  I liked the direction the last draft I read was going, so I liked this direction even better.  This book is the first of a series.  There was a lot going on in this book.  I’m glad that the author is taking the time to flesh the various storylines out over a few books.  It was really fun seeing which storylines were kept and which were left out (or appear to be left out).  

I enjoyed all of the characters a lot better in this version.  I liked seeing the story from other people’s perspective.  In addition to the fact that it gave more insight as to the political machinations, it made the characters seem a lot more real.  

The only negative thing that I would say is that there were a couple of scenes I had a hard time visualizing as I was reading, but overall, I am looking forward to the rest of the story.  

Posted in Fantasy, Rated E, Teaser Tuesday, Uncategorized, Urban fantasy

Any Other Name

Any Other NameTeaser:

“Error? I’ve been working in my capacity as procurement manager for over eighty years, and I have never once made an error in my staff requirement calculations.”

“That makes today an interesting day for you then.”

Author: Emma Newman

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: Exceeded my Expectations

Synopsis:

Cat has been forced into an arranged marriage with William – a situation that comes with far more strings than even she could have anticipated, especially when she learns of his family’s intentions for them both.

Meanwhile, Max and the gargoyle investigate The Agency – a mysterious organisation that appears to play by its own rules – and none of them favourable to Society.

Over in Mundanus, Sam has discovered something very peculiar about his wife’s employer – something that could herald a change for everyone in both sides of the Split Worlds.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: Generally, second books in a trilogy tend be be rather dull (think the Empire Strikes back). Not so with this book. The Fae lords are up to something. Well Lord Iris is, and Lord Poppy is looking for anything he can hold over Lord Iris. Lord Iris is moving William into a high societal position. It is not clear for what purpose he is doing this.

I have to say that I didn’t really like William in this book. He’s too craven for my liking. He knows Cat didn’t want to marry him. Rather than earn her trust so that they could eventually have normal marital relations; he drugs her under the orders of Lord Iris because Lord Iris insists that Catherine have a child by a certain period. I thought William should have asked the head of his house to lift the curse on Cat so that she can touch other men besides males of his own family. That really was something that should have been disclosed prior to the marriage. Then there is the whole infidelity thing. Talk about taking a serpent into the bosom. Has it never crossed any man’s mind that a woman might be using physical charms for power? Apparently not. I think this guy deserves whatever happens to him.

As much as I disliked Lord Poppy, he’s extraordinarily charming once you’ve been introduced to Lord Iris. Man Lord Iris is extraordinarily cold and calculating. I got the impression that Lord Poppy did actually like Cat. Lord Iris sees the members of the Iris family as tools to be used and discarded.

With both of the supernatural elements in this series, I was a little bit perturbed to discover that there is yet another power. Remember how faeries don’t like iron. So there is a Lord Iron.

Anyway, this is shaping up to be a world class fight for the last book in the trilogy. I don’t know how the author is going to tie off all the loose ends unless she makes the last book really long.

**Smiles in ecstasy at the thought.**

The last book comes out next month!!!

Posted in Advanced Review, Mystery, Rated E, Regency

The Matters at Mansfield

Saturday while I was getting dressed, my mother called up to me that the mail had arrived. She said, “There’s something for the Bluestocking Guide.” Immediately my mind flashed to the publish with whom I had had a conversation a couple days before. I thought, “that was quick.” Wonder of wonders the package was not from Michigan as I had thought. It was from New York. As I tore the package open, I saw the words Advance Uncorrected Proof. Then I saw the title The Matters at Mansfield. I was stunned. A few months ago, I had contacted Ms. Bebris and asked for an advance review copy of her book. I thought I would get it close to the release date, which is in September. Needless to say, I was absolutely giddy!!!!

The story opens with Darcy and Elizabeth visiting the home of Darcy’s cousin Roger Fitzwilliam, the Earl of Southwell for his prenuptial celebration.  Readers will remember that Colonel James Fitzwilliam was the younger son of the late Earl.  It is a family affair complete with the presence of Lady Catherine and her daughter Anne.  At the ball, Elizabeth and Darcy, seeing Anne’s wistfulness at the dancing, distract Lady Catherine long enough for Anne to be able to have a dance with Colonel Fitzwilliam.  During the intricacies of the dance, Anne meets Henry Crawford.  Later on that night, she and Henry travel to Gretna Green and elope.  This, of course throws, quite a monkey wrench into Lady Catherine’s plans to marry Anne to the Honorable Neville Sennex, the heir of the viscount, Lord Sennex.  Darcy and Fitzwilliam give chase but arrive too late.  The marriage has been finalized in every sense of the word.  However, it seems Henry Crawford is a changed man and has acted in this reckless manner solely to protect Anne.  It further appears that Anne and Mr. Crawford met indirectly as a result of Darcy and Elizabeth’s last adventure a year before.  As the couple returns to face Lady Catherine’s wrath, Anne is injured in the small village of Mansfield.  As one can imagine, the whole town turns out to see the infamous Mr. Crawford and his most unfortunate wife, including the Mansfield favorites: Mrs. Norris, Maria Rushworth, and Edmund.  Just when things seem to die down, who should appear but a Meg Garrick who also claims to have been seduced.  It appears Mr. Crawford is a rakehell of the worst sort; his seduction of Maria Rushworth is one of many bombshells dropped.  Mr. Crawford disappears that night to be found dead several days later in a grove on Mansfield Park of either suicide or murder most foul.  As Darcy and Elizabeth try to determine how Mr. Crawford died, they encounter more twist and turns and surprises than the legendary labyrinth.  The list of suspects runs from the father of a seduced daughter to close family members.  It appears not everyone is who and what they seem- including the dead. 
 
This book is the best of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries.  Ms. Bebris has truly grown into her craft.  Of the novels she has written this is the first that can be truly described as a detective novel.  Her thorough research into arms, dancing, English estate laws, and horses make the book entertaining as well as realistic.  Not only does she do a superb job with the science behind the crime, she does an excellent job developing her cast of characters, particularly Anne de Bourgh of whom we know next to nothing.  This book is more in the style of the Jane Austen Mysteries in that the crime is solved by understanding the character and motivations of the suspects and their families.  This book is an engaging read.  Pride and Prejudice fans will greatly enjoy seeing their favorite husband and wife duo in action again.  

This book is available for sale September 2, 2008!!

Posted in Mystery, Rated E

A Pocket Full of Rye

Sing a song of six pence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the King?
The King was in his counting house, counting all his money,
The Queen was in the parlor eating bread and honey,
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes
Along came a little dickey bird and nipped off her nose.

I’m sure all of use remember this little song from when we were children. In the hands of Dame Agatha Christie, this little ditty becomes a diabolical plot for murder.

Rex Fortescue, a rich businessman, is killed in his office. Oddly enough, he has a pocket full of grain. He was a right detestable fellow. The only question is why he wasn’t killed sooner!!! The police make their journey to the victim’s home at Yewtree Lodge. The suspicion falls on the usual suspects: the ultra-glam wife decades younger than him, the eldest son who was on the outs with him, a daughter who had her beau chased away by him, the disowned younger son, the unbalanced butler. Not to mention the widow and children of a man he probably left to die in Africa. The man certainly had no lack of enemies. But then there’s the question of how he was poisoned. It wasn’t in the tea, breakfast, or lunch.

The case becomes stranger still when the ultra-glam wife ends up dead in the parlor having scones and honey, and the maid is found a few hours later near the clothesline with a clothespin on her nose. The police are quite baffled. Enter Miss Marple. Miss Marple has a vested interest in finding the killer; the maid, Gladys Martin, had been an orphan Miss Marple trained to be a maid. Miss Marple and the police follow the clue of the blackbirds to find the killer.

This book was a little different from the other Miss Marple mysteries. In the other ones, Miss Marple is introduced fairly early on in the book. Most of the story is told from Miss Marple’s perspective. In this story, Miss Marple wasn’t introduced until the middle of the story. Most of the story is told from Inspector Neele’s perspective with moments of Miss Marple thrown in.
The ending surprised me a great deal. This story, like Cat Among the Pigeons, had more than one criminal plot going on. What was really interesting is that if Miss Marple had waited a day or two before going to Yewtree Lodge, she would have known who the murderer was from the beginning. It was ironic. Anyway, this is definitely one you should get from Barnes & Noble.