Review: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

i-robotI, Robot
by Isaac Asimov
Narrated by Scott Brick
Series: Robot #0.1
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Random House Audio, 2004 (originally published 1950)
Audiobook, purchased
225 pages
8 hours, 20 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: B+
Synopsis: The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;
2) A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future — a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-reading robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world — all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asimov’s trademark.

“I, on the other hand, am a finished product. I absorb electrical energy directly and utilize it with an almost one hundred percent efficiency. I am composed of strong metal, am continuously conscious, and can stand extremes of environment easily. These are facts which, with the self-evident proposition that no being can create another being superior to itself, smashes your silly hypothesis to nothing.”


“Fifty years,” I hackneyed, “is a long time.”

“Not when you’re looking back at them,” she said. “You wonder how they vanished so quickly.”


  • The stories all show robots and humans, their interactions and the philosophical questions of using robots. Lots of food for thought.
  • I thought I’d read this book, but what I remember reading are the Robot novels #1-4 which are more science fiction mysteries with a partnership between Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw (the R stands for Robot).
  • The narrator is good. He talks very clearly and because he’s portraying a journalist he doesn’t display a lot of emotion which works. However, during some of the stories there is some emotion and he does show that.
  • Isaac Asimov coined many ideas and terms which are now used in other science fiction novels and even in science.
    • The Three Laws of Robotics, for example, is an idea used in many books and movies.
    • The positronic brain, robotics, psychohistory are all words and ideas credited to Isaac Asimov.
    • He influenced many other science fiction writers.
  • These stories told by Susan Calvin as she’s interviewed at the end of her career as a robopsychologist are fascinating as they show the evolution of robots, the many different types of robots, the funny and frightening aspects as well as the fear most humans have for robots.
  • The field of robopsychology is very interesting. How Susan Calvin solves problems with robots . . .  the puzzles of why these robots behave the way they do.
  • I feel like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation owes a lot to the way Isaac Asimov developed his robots.
  • Several other characters besides Susan are recurring. The most interesting to me are the two human troubleshooting engineers sent to test new robots in field conditions. The ways they figure out the problems and idiosyncrasies of the robots are sometimes funny and sometimes frightening.
  • One of the most interesting robot is the mind-reading robot. This robot interacts directly with Susan and other directors of U.S. Robots. Since he can read minds he’s able to tell them things they want or “need” to know. However, because of the Three Laws things don’t work out quite how the humans hope!
  • I felt sorry for some of the robots.


  • I would have liked to have known more about some of these characters, but we learn very little about them. Except perhaps the loneliness of Susan Calvin’s life.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • The movie I, Robot starring Will Smith has very little in common with this book. As I recall they use the Three Laws of Robotics, but that’s about it. Some of the same names, but anything else? No.

About Isaac Asimov

  • He wrote over 500 fiction and nonfiction books; won many awards during his life including the Hugo, Locus and Nebula Awards; and had a PhD from Columbia in biochemistry. Considered one of the pioneers of science fiction writing.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book that became a movie)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (audiobook)

Review: Classic Love Poems by Shakespeare, Browning, Poe, et al.

classic-love-poemsClassic Love Poems
by (see below)
Narrated by Richard Armitage
Series: None
Genre: Poetry
Published by Audible Studios, 2015
Audiobook, free
22 Minutes
Grade: A
Narrator Grade: A
Synopsis: For anyone who’s in love – or hopes to be – what greater celebration could there be than to hear the world’s greatest love poetry read lovingly by Richard Armitage? With 15 poems by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more, Classic Love Poems is a listening treat for Valentine’s Day – or any day.

Included in this collection are:
• “How do I love thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
• “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare
• “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe
• “To Be One with Each Other” by George Eliot
• “Maud” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
• “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell
• “Bright Star” by John Keats
• “Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley
• 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
• “Meeting at Night” by Robert Browning
• “The Dream” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
• “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe
• “I carry your heart” by e. e. cummings
• “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron
• “Give All to Love” by Ralph Waldo Emersonvalentine-card


  • I admit I don’t read a lot of poetry, but when I saw that Richard Armitage narrated these I had to listen!
  • When I watched North and South which stars Richard Armitage several years ago he became one of my favorite actors!
  • His voice is excellent for these poems.
  • This was a free download from Audible on Valentine’s Day and I listened right away. It’s only 22 minutes, but it is wonderful to hear someone read these so well.
  • I even recited a few lines from “How Do I Love Thee” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning to my husband and wrote them on the card I made for him! He was gobsmacked, I think…LOL


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • So fun to listen to these poems!
  • This Audible edition is free until March 9, 2015

A sample poem

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Review: A Test of Wills by Charles Todd

a-test-of-wills-audioA Test of Wills
by Charles Todd
Narrated by Samuel Giles
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge #1
Genre: Historical Mystery (Great Britain, 1919)
Published by Recorded Books, 2012 (originally published 1996)
Audiobook, purchased
305 pages
10 hours, 28 minutes
Grade: B+
Narrator Grade: B
Synopsis: Ian Rutledge returns to his career at Scotland Yard after years fighting in the First World War. Unknown to his colleagues he is still suffering from shell shock, and is burdened with the guilt of having had executed a young soldier on the battlefield for refusing to fight. A jealous colleague has learned of his secret and has managed to have Rutledge assigned to a difficult case which could spell disaster for Rutledge whatever the outcome. A retired officer has been murdered, and Rutledge goes to investigate.  

“Tell me something. Why is everyone so determined to believe Wilton is innocent?”

Surprised, Davies said, “He’s a war hero isn’t he? Admired by the King and a friend of the Prince of Wales. He’s visited Sandringham, been received by Queen Mary herself! A man like that doesn’t go around killing people!”

With a wry downturn of his lips, Rutledge silently asked, “How did he win his medals, you fool, if not by being so very damned good at killing?”


  • A very good story. Well written.
  • This is as much about WWI as it is about the murder mystery.
  • Ian Rutledge was a soldier in WWI and is still suffering from shell shock though he has come back to work for Scotland Yard. He hears a Scottish voice in his head. The voice of the soldier he executed during the War.
  • This case involves Army officers and someone suffering from shell shock. This doesn’t help Inspector Rutledge who is trying to survive in the world and work through his problems. Which is the reason a resentful colleague suggests Scotland Yard send Inspector Rutledge to investigate this case.
  • Scotland Yard does send Rutledge to investigate this difficult case, because they decide he’s expendable since he’s just started work again after the War.
  • Rutledge isn’t sure he has what it takes to solve crimes anymore. And he has flashbacks from the War. This is a difficult case for him, but he perseveres.


  • The book had a lot of characters so it was a little hard to follow the narration.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I enjoyed this book so much and I want to read more books in this series.

Literary Awards

  • Barry Award for Best First Novel (1997), Anthony Award Nominee for Best First Novel (1997), Dilys Award Nominee (1997), Edgar Award Nominee for Best First Novel (1997)

About the author

  • Charles and Caroline Todd are the mother-son writing team who use the pen name Charles Todd. They also write the Bess Crawford series about a WWI nurse.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (audiobook)

WoW: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley


I’m participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to coming out in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.


A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Series: None

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Genre: Historical & Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis from Goodreads: For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal’s cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal’s reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn’t hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary’s tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take… to find the road that will lead her safely home.


Why I want this book:

  • The first book I read by Susanna Kearsley–The Winter Sea–was one of my favorite books last year.
  • I love how Kearsley mixes historical and contemporary in her books.
  • A great cover.

Favorite heroines from books


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week we talk about our favorite heroines. I’m limiting this list to favorite heroines from books I’ve read in the last three years.

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In no particular order:

Blackthorn from the Blackthorn & Grim (fantasy) series by Juliet Marillier–a wonderful character. We’re still learning about Blackthorn. She’s been through a tremendous amount of abuse and doesn’t really want anything to do with people. She only wants revenge, but she agrees to help anyone who asks in return for being set free by a mysterious stranger. She’s a reluctant healer, friend and problem solver.

Cassandra ( Caszandra) Devlin from the Touchstone Trilogy (science fiction) by Andrea K. Höst–She’s self-reliant and brave. She has to survive by herself on an unknown planet and when she’s rescued discovers she can’t return to Earth and that monsters are threatening the world she’s taken to. Again she rises to the occasion.

Kate Daniels from Kate Daniels (urban fantasy) series by Ilona Andrews–She begins the series as a mercenary. She becomes a knight. She’s fired, but she never gives up. I love her humor–she calls a scary, lion shapeshifter “kitty!” She’s a bit fool-hardy, brave, self-reliant and loyal.

Mercy Thompson from the Mercedes Thompson (urban fantasy) series by Patricia Briggs–Another great urban fantasy series. Mercy lives among werewolves but shifts into a coyote–a much smaller beast. But she holds her own. She’s smart, tough, loyal and a great VW mechanic.

Meg Corbyn from The Others (fantasy) series by Anne Bishop–At the beginning of this series Meg has never ventured into the world. She was kept a prisoner along with other cassandra sangue (blood prophets) so she could prophesy for wealthy clients by cutting herself. A cassandra sangue has only so much skin and becomes addicted to the euphoric feeling of blood-letting. She finds the courage to escape and live among the Others (a scary group of beings human share the planet with). At first she’s very naive with a child-like faith and trust. She slowly learns about the world and gains the loyalty and trust of the Others.

Torin Kerr from the Confederation (military science fiction) series by Tanya Huff. Torin is a great character. She’s thoroughly military–a Staff Sergeant who must not only guide and mold her troops, but also the young officers. She does a superb job with both using humor, discipline and loyalty. She expects a certain level of behavior and almost always gets it from her people.

Jarra from the Earth Girl (young adult science fiction) series by Janet Edwards–Jarra is considered  “Handicapped” or an “Ape” by people who’ve moved away from Earth (Jarra calls them an impolite term in return–“Exos”) because she’s one of the “unlucky” ones who can’t leave Earth. However, she’s smart, tough, an archaeologist with a chip on her shoulder (at least to begin with). She’s determined to show “Norms” (“Exos”) she can pass for an off-worlder. The books deal with prejudice in both groups of people.

Karen Campbell from Letters to Nowhere (young adult contemporary) by Julie Cross–This is the only contemporary young adult book on this list. Karen (whose parents died in a car crash right before the beginning of the book) is a competitive skater. She grieves, competes, falls in love, decides what’s important to her and grows up.

Suzume from M. L. Brennan’s Generation V (urban fantasy) series–Suzume isn’t the main character in this series…Fortitude Scott is…but she should be a main character right along with Fort! She sometimes steals the show in these books. She’s a wonderful character–irreverent, smart, a kitsune, a jokester and helps Fort become a stronger person.

Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles (fantasy) series by Marissa Meyer–Cinder is a cyborg and a mechanic. She’s shunned by her family and anyone who discovers she’s a cyborg. She’s based on the Cinderella character. It takes her awhile to discover her strength and her value as a person, but when she does she becomes more than a Cinderella character. She’s not defined by the prince. She is a strong, confident person who knows her own value.

What about you? Who are your favorite heroines?

Review: Servants’ Hall by Margaret Powell


Servants’ Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance
by Margaret Powell
Narrated by Susan Lyons
Series: None
Genre: Memoir
Published by Audible Studios, 2013 (originally published 1979)
Audiobook, purchased
192 pages
7 hours, 3 minutes
Grade: B
Narrator grade: B
Synopsis: Margaret Powell’s Below Stairs, a servant’s firsthand account of life in the great houses of England, became a sensation among readers reveling in the luxury and subtle class warfare of Masterpiece Theatre’s hit television series Downton Abbey. In Servants’ Hall, another true slice of life from a time when armies of servants lived below stairs simply to support the lives of those above, Powell tells the true story of Rose, the under-parlourmaid to the Wardham Family at Redlands, who took a shocking step: She eloped with the family’s only son, Mr. Gerald.

Going from rags to riches, Rose finds herself caught up in a maelstrom of gossip, incredulity and envy among her fellow servants. The reaction from upstairs was no better: Mr. Wardham, the master of the house, disdained the match so completely that he refused ever to have contact with the young couple again. Gerald and Rose marry, leave Redlands and Powell looks on with envy, even as the marriage hits on bumpy times: “To us in the servants’ hall, it was just like a fairy tale . . . How I wished I was in her shoes.”

Once again bringing that lost world to life, Margaret Powell trains her pen and her gimlet eye on her “betters” in this next chapter from a life spent in service. Servants’ Hall is Margaret Powell at her best—a warm, funny and sometimes hilarious memoir of life at a time when wealthy families like ruled England.

In 1922 when at the age of 15 I entered domestic service after two years as a daily, servants were considered less than dusty by those who employed them; and ignorant, even positively not all there by that section of the working class–male and female alike–who wouldn’t have been seen alive or dead as a servant below stairs.


  • I found the story fascinating. I liked reading (listening) to a memoir about a particular era and way of life.
  • The narrator was good. I have no idea how Margaret Powell may have sounded and know very little about English accents, so all I know is the narrator has an English accent and read the story well!
  • Margaret Powell is so interesting and her narrative of servants’ lives in the 1920’s and 1930’s is a great story.
  • Margaret starts as a kitchen maid and becomes a cook. The part where she works with Rose is at the beginning of the book and only a small part of the overall story.
  • Margaret doesn’t start as a very happy kitchen maid. She loves to read and wanted to continue with her schooling, but that wasn’t an option in her family. However, she continues to read and enjoys learning and ultimately goes to school and passes her O-levels and A-levels (after she was well into her 50’s), writes a number of books and becomes a TV personality. Quite an accomplishment.
  • Includes a discussion of class differences. There’s a definite pecking order among the servants just as there is “above stairs.”
  • I enjoyed the descriptions of the dances the young servants attend and the romances which sometimes occur. For many of the servants there may be a bit of romance, but never any “fairytale marriage.” Though some of the young maid’s think Rose’s elopement is like a fairytale, the older, more experienced and cynical servants insist it isn’t.
  • The story tells the poverty many servants lived through after they were too old to work.


  • This is advertised as story about a maid who elopes with her employer’s son. Yes, it does tell that story, but it’s not really the most interesting part of the book.
  • This is mostly the story of the 1920’s and 1930’s until the last few minutes–used to wrap up everyone’s lives after WWII. That was rather abrupt.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • Apparently Margaret Powell’s books were used for creating Upstairs, Downstairs (a British TV series in the 1970’s).
  • I had never heard of her before and was happy to find this book on sale at Audible.

About the author

  • Margaret Powell (1907 – 1984) was an English writer. Her book about her experiences in domestic service, Below Stairs, became a best-seller and she went on to write other books and became a television personality. Below Stairs was an impetus for Upstairs, Downstairs and the basis of Beryl’s Lot, and is one of the inspirations of Downton Abbey. (from Wikipedia)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (A memoir)
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (an audiobook–$4.95)

Sunday Post: Feb 22


The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I like this meme because it gives me an opportunity to take a look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also like to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading. This is a great meme to take part in every week and I thank Kimba for hosting it!


Last Week

Home & blog

It stayed cold all last week and we finally received some snow–about 7 inches on Monday night. However, we got snow, sleet, freezing rain and finally rain Saturday and into Sunday. Interesting weather!

My husband took Friday off and we had a fun day in DC looking at old buildings and exploring coffee shops, bakeries and an Irish pub!

We’re both enjoying Acorn TV. A new Foyle’s War was released this month on Acorn and it’s excellent. I’m watching Blue Murder (a British police procedural) and enjoying that. I’ve tried a few other shows and not every show is a keeper for me. I admit I don’t always “get” British humor!

Blog posts


What I’m reading

The Bloodbound by Erin Lindsey

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Audiobook)

What I read this week

Hot Iron, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell

Starpilot’s Grave by Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald 

New–Books, E-books, Audiobooks–purchased or free or from library




Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein

Clockwork by Phillip Pullman

The Martian by Andy Weir

Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore

Next Week

Home & blog

We’ll still have cold weather next week so I plan to read and sit by the fire drinking coffee or tea. And using my computer, too, of course!

Blog Posts

  • Review: Servant’s Hall by Margaret Powell
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Review: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
  • Review: A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
  • Wrap-up posts for Jan & Feb Reading Challenges
  • Sunday Post

What books did you collect last week? What are you planning next week?

Review: Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie

water-like-a-stoneWater Like a Stone
by Deborah Crombie
Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #11
Genre: Mystery (Procedural)
Published by Harper Collins, 2007
E-book, purchased
532 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: When Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid takes Gemma, Kit, and Toby for a holiday visit to his family in Cheshire, Gemma is soon entranced with Nantwich’s pretty buildings and the historic winding canal, and young Kit is instantly smitten with his cousin Lally.

But their visit is marred by family tensions exacerbated by the unraveling of Duncan’s sister Juliet’s marriage. And tensions are brought to the breaking point on Christmas Eve with Juliet’s discovery of a mummified infant’s body interred in the wall of an old dairy barn—a tragedy hauntingly echoed by the recent drowning of Peter Llewellyn, a schoolmate of Lally’s.

Meanwhile, on her narrowboat, former social worker Annie Lebow is living a life of self-imposed isolation and preparing for a lonely Christmas, made more troubling by her meeting earlier in the day with the Wains, a traditional boating family whose case precipitated Annie’s leaving her job.

As the police make their inquiries into the infant’s death, Kincaid discovers that life in the lovely market town of his childhood is far from idyllic and that the dreaming reaches of the Shropshire Union Canal hold dark and deadly secrets . . . secrets that may threaten everything and everyone he holds most dear.

She, on the other hand, found it difficult to compartmentalize the different aspects of her life. Even while concentrating on work, some part of her mind would be wondering what sort of day Kincaid was having, and whether there was something in the fridge for the children’s dinner. She’d seen it as a curse, this inability to shut down her emotional radar when she wanted so badly to succeed at her job.

But lately she’d begun to think that the feminine hardwiring of her brain might have its compensations. The personal ones were more obvious–God forbid that she had failed to turn up at Kit’s custody hearing–but there were professional blessings as well.


Hugh had gone up to his study, for “just a few minutes,” Rosemary informed Gemma with a roll of her eyes, adding, “He’s just acquired a rare edition of one of Dicken’s lesser-known Christmas stories, he’ll forget to eat if I don’t remind him. I suppose that sounds rather charming, but in reality it’s quite irritating.”


  • I whizzed through this book. Just couldn’t put it down.
  • I loved reading about Duncan’s family and the Christmas celebrations–even though things don’t turn out as everyone has planned or hoped.
  • I like that Duncan and Gemma and their families aren’t perfect, but Duncan and Gemma are in there trying to do the best they can.
  • The grown-ups all have insecurities–Duncan and Gemma about their relationship; Duncan’s sister and brother-in-law are fighting and heading toward a split; Duncan’s parents worried about their daughter, wanting a special Christmas for their family–especially the grandchildren.
  • The children–especially the teenagers (Kit and his cousin Lally)–are trying to learn how to live with the problems of growing up and sometimes the problems their parents or other adults cause.
  • Kit has nightmares about his mother’s murder. Lally is especially affected by her parents’ fighting and problems.
  • The mystery in this book is well done. Since Duncan’s sister finds a body on Christmas Eve just as Duncan and Gemma and family arrive at his parents, Duncan and Gemma both become involved in the investigation. The mysteries and confusion unfold and kept me guessing about exactly what happened for quite awhile.
  • I love the way Deborah Crombie uses the setting, the countryside around Cheshire in this case, in her books. It’s fascinating to read about Cheshire and the narrow boat canals. I love reading about the history and culture of the canals–how families lived and worked on these canals and how that life has gone away.


  • I’m ready for Duncan and Gemma to move their relationship forward.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is one of my favorites of the series so far. I’m ready for the next one, but I’m making myself wait a bit so I don’t run out of books in the series!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • COYER Winter Reading Challenge–hosted by Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun and Michelle @ Because Reading (e-book–$1.99)

TBR Review: Starpilot’s Grave by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald


Starpilot’s Grave
by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald
Series: Mageworlds #2
Genre: Science Fiction (space opera)
Published by Tor, 1993
E-book, purchased
448 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: A broken and drifting ship, its long-dead captain still strapped in the command seal: that’s what free-spacers call a starpilot’s grave. When one of these derelict craft appears in the Net, the artificial barrier zone separating the Republic from the Mageworlds, the discovery is no accident. It’s a sign, a warning that the Mageworlds have not forgotten the Republic – and the Magelords make long plans.

“Still no reply from the target,” she said. “Regular starpilot’s grave over there–no emanations of any kind.”

“Starpilot’s grave?”

“What the merchant spacers call a drifting wreck,” she said.


I’m not some kind of oracle, she felt like telling them, but she knew that the outburst wouldn’t do her any good.


  • An adventure science fiction. A space opera…my favorite type of science fiction. Very good.
  • Since I read the first book in the series a year and a half ago it took me a few pages to remember all the characters and places!
  • Seven or more threads with different groups’ stories. That makes the overall story complicated. When a thread begins I have to figure out whose story is being told. However, I wanted to find out what that person was doing so once I got into the rhythm of the story it was fine.
  • One of the threads is from a Magelord’s POV. That was interesting. That introduced a more nuanced view of the Mageworlds and Magelords.
  • Lots more to happen in the next book. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but looks like more of a continuation of the story.
  • The Republic and the Mageworlds is a large area of space. Lots going on especially in this book.
  • Most of the main characters in this book are from the Rosselin-Metadi family. That was more the case in the first book. Many of the characters we met in the first book are very important in this book.
  • The Rosselin-Metadi family is famous throughout the Republic and the Mageworlds. The father–Commanding General Jos Metadi; the mother Perada Rosselin, Domina of Lost Entibor and Councilor for Entibor-in-Exile and the Colonies Beyond (assassinated in book 1); the oldest son Lieutenant Ari Rosselin-Metadi; the daughter Beka Rosselin-Metadi; the youngest son Owen Rosselin-Metadi.
  • The event which caused most of the actions and reactions in book one–the assassination of Perada Rosselin–still moves some of the action in this book.


  •  I really enjoyed the book, but it’s definitely a middle book connecting the first and third books. The first book had more of a definite ending with shadows of things to come. This end of the book isn’t an end so much–more a lull in the action. Since the third book is written and I want to read it that’s not too much of a problem.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is my book for the February TBR Challenge hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The theme this month is a book someone recommended to me. Li @  Me and My Books recommended this book to me. I read the first book in the series–The Price of the Stars–based on her recommendation. Then she recommended the second book. And it took me a year and a half to get it read [hanging my head]
  • I am going to buy the third book and hope to get to it soon.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Book related problems?


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme I take part in when I can think up answers! It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

This week–My book related problems? Some people might think some of these are problems, but I actually don’t. I like having these problems…LOL

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1. I have to read books–when I’m not reading I get anxious.

2. Only the right book–I have lots of great books to read, but I have to find just the right one. Books take me to imaginary worlds and I have to find just the right book at the right time. I can get very cranky when I can’t find quite the one I want.

3. When I travel I must have books with me–This has gotten better since I started reading e-books. I used to take 10 – 15 books for a week-long trip and if we were driving I took a box of books!

4. I own too many books–When we moved here the movers said they’d never seen so many boxes of books! This past year I have culled my books and donated lots of them. Still need to do more . . .

5. My reading tastes change at times–When I was a young adult I read science fiction, fantasy and mysteries. Then I read mostly mysteries for a few years. I started reading fantasy and science fiction again a few years after that. Then, I read only romance for a while. Fantasy and science fiction came next. Now, it’s fantasy, science fiction and mysteries. I see I’m back to my young adult days! But my reading preferences may change anytime.

6. I get cranky when I’m reading and something (or someone) interrupts me–My husband tries to talk to me and I get very huffy or dinner doesn’t get made.

7. When I’m close to the end of a book I don’t want to interact with other people–Same as #6, but even worse when there’s lots of action and I want to see what happens and just want to read, Read, READ.

8. Conversely, sometimes I don’t want to finish a book because I’m loving it so much–I slow down my reading to savor the book.

9. Sometimes if a book feels too intense I have to put it down for a while–Especially when bad things are happening to people I like or the ending is not coming out the way I want.

10. I listen to most of my audiobooks while I’m making greeting cards for friends and family–I seem to use different parts of my brain while I’m creating a card and listening to a book! Who knew?

What are your book related problems?