Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

I raced through the television series and didn’t want the story to end, so I started the audiobooks. I am still astonished at how closely the show followed the original story. Even portions of the dialogue are exactly the same. The narrator is okay. His pronunciations of certain names is a bit jarring as it doesn’t follow the pronunciations used in the show, but I will forgive that since the audiobook was released first.

A Few Pecans Short of a Pie by Molly Harper

A fun novella about the McCready clan and their shenanigans with a surprising and fun timeline crossover with the last novel. Exactly what I expected and the perfect source of entertainment and fun.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

This is a great story, diverse with mythology within it that is very different from anything else I have read. Sadly, while I enjoyed it, I could not devour it as one might expect. There is a repetitiveness to the syntax that grew tiresome, plus the characters remain fairly one-dimensional. There are one too many pages where nothing happens. While it has gods, spirits, magic, and demons with a fight that transcends generations, I kept falling asleep every few pages and felt no compulsion to keep reading.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

I liked this one more than I expected I would, especially after reading some unfavorable reviews before I started it. The whole thing is fun, cute, flippant but with a serious heart. It contains some great discussions about right versus wrong, evil for the greater good, and blinding loyalty to any cause. There are enough answers to make this a one-and-done story, so I was surprised to see that it is the first in a series. I am not certain how Ms. Mahurin is going to make it happen without the story becoming repetitive. Also, I do think we need more sexy times between the characters because they are done so well.

After the Flood by Kassandra Montag

Alternately bone-achingly depressing and beautifully hopeful. I struggle with the flooding aspect of the story because there are no scientific models that show that the Midwest would ever flood. I never took to Myra’s character but really enjoyed Daniel and Pearl’s stories. I am not certain if we are meant to like Myra in all honesty as she is meant to represent the difficult choices we must make as parents, as humans, and as survivors.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

I feel like most of this book is nothing more than world-building and setting up the rest of the series. There is so much repetitiveness while Pool builds that world, plus there is so much of it. The action does not really kick in until well past the halfway point. It is a creative world though, wherein those with magic or the Graces are not the villains. The whole bad versus good element of the story is spectacularly gray, as is the dynamic between the religious and the nonbelievers. I did like the story once it finally started and am intrigued by how each character’s role will unfold and change along with the prophecy. Still, it could use a little less predictability and a lot less repetition to make it truly great.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

What a lovely, lovely story. The writing is gorgeous. Each sentence is quote-worthy. The story is creative and inspiring as well, in my opinion. January is such a great heroine – fighting against gender expectations and racism to save herself. The doors as instruments of change and progress may not be a new concept to fiction, but I think Harrow does it well because she never eliminates the possibility of magic. I found the entire novel a true pleasure to read from start to finish.

The Divers' Game by Jesse Ball

Ball’s latest novel is a very odd story with no discernible plot. He leaves so many of the details of his futuristic world for readers to glean from contextual clues, which gets old rather quickly. I am still not certain what point he is trying to make here. There is the obvious aspect of a world divided into a very clear us versus them, haves versus have-nots, immigrants versus those who were citizens before an unspecified date, but that is too obvious for Ball. The whole thing is very chaotic and unsettled, with one-third of the story completely deviating from the rest of it. This is definitely not as fluid as his previous novel, which I enjoyed. I did not enjoy this one.

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