Review: Spindle by W.R. Gingell

Spindle by W.R. GingellSpindle by W.R. Gingell

Series: Two Monarchies Sequence #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2015

377 pages

Synopsis: She’s not a princess . . . but then, he’s no prince. 

Polyhymnia is deep in enchanted sleep. High in a tower, behind an impenetrable barrier of magical thorns, she sleeps, dreams, and falls ever deeper into her curse. 

Woken by a kiss, Poly finds herself in an alien world where three hundred years have passed and everyone she has ever known is dead. Luck, the enchanter who woke her, seems to think she is the princess. Understandable, since he found her asleep on the princess’ bed, in the royal suite, and dressed in the princess’ clothes. 

Who cursed Poly? Why is someone trying to kill her and Luck? Why can’t she stop falling asleep? 
And why does her hair keep growing? 

Sometimes breaking the curse is just the beginning of the journey.

My thoughts

I loved this fantasy! W.R. Gingell is fast becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. Several of the books and series I’ve read are a fairytale retelling which is what this book also is. It uses the Sleeping Beauty fairytale as its basis and then turns it all around.

I really enjoyed the story and the characters. The author often adds some romance without that taking over the story and I like that. She also has lots of humor in the book which is always fun. The world building is also interesting. Polyhymnia is woken from a very deep sleep and she doesn’t have much memory of why she fell asleep or exactly who she is. And she keeps falling asleep. Luck is the enchanter who woke her up with a kiss. He thinks she’s a princess and she keeps insisting she isn’t and that she doesn’t have any magic. Luck and Poly bicker and disagree about lots of things, but they also have each other’s back. The two of them embark on a journey and face many adventures. A very good book!

I’ve still got a lot of questions which is great since there are more books in this series. The book has a very satisfying ending, but lots of room for the next book to start where this left off. And it has different main characters. And lots of cats!

I’ve already got the next book in the series–Blackfoot–and will read it soon.

Have you read any books by this author?

My Rating: B+

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook–A fantasy book inspired by a fairytale

Review: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca RoanhorseTrail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Series: The Sixth World #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Dystopia

Setting: Navajo Indian Reservation–called Dinétah in this future

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

304 pages

Synopsis: While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World. 

My thoughts

I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels. I usually find them sad and depressing. This is a dystopian future, but the urban fantasy aspects make the book more hopeful.

I love the setting for this book–Dinétah (what was the Navajo Indian Reservation). The book is set in a dystopian future where much of the Midwest is under water. The Navajos had built a wall to keep out people who wanted to steal their land so they survived.

However, the Navajo lands have problems of their own–severe drought, monsters, Navajo gods coming back, some Navajos manifesting powers depending on their clans. Maggie Hoskie is a monster hunter. She uses her clan powers to hunt the monsters in the Dinétah lands. However, as the book opens she has spent nearly a year mourning the disappearance of her mentor. She goes on her first monster hunt since his disappearance and discovers a monster she’s never seen before. The rest of the book is a search for the Diné witch that must be making these monsters. Lots of action, Diné gods, twists and surprises.

The world building is just wonderful in this book. Ms. Roanhorse uses Navajo myths, legends and stories to create the new Dinétah world. I love the Tony Hillerman Leaphorn and Chee mysteries set on the Navajo Indian Reservation and think he does a good job showing how the Navajo myths affect the police work Chee and Leaphorn do. Ms. Roanhorse takes that even further. I highly recommend this book!

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a book that has a weapon on the cover

Mini-Reviews: Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy by W.R. Gingell

I read the Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy in February and March and am doing mini reviews for each book. I’m also excited because this is the first time I’ve read a book by an author from Tasmania (as far as I know). I’ve always thought Tasmania sounds like such an intriguing place to visit.

twelve days of faery by w.r. gingellTwelve Days of Faery by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #1

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

150 pages

My thoughts

This is the first book I’ve read by W.R. Gingell, but it isn’t the last book by Ms. Gingell I will read. So far this year I’ve read six of her books! I really enjoy her writing.

I liked that this book turned some of the fairy tale tropes on their head. For example, a prince is cursed instead of a princess. A woman comes to save him, but maybe after the curse is gone she’s not interested in the prince, but in his father the king. This is a short book (a novella), but it’s lots of fun and filled with intrigue, magic, some romance and trips into Faery. A good start for a trilogy.

My Rating: B+

fire-in-the-blood-by-w-r-gingellFire in the Blood by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #2

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

123 pages

My thoughts

This is the second novella in this fantasy trilogy called Shards of a Broken Sword. The first two books are about different characters. They are set in the same world and both about shards from a broken sword that hold a great deal of magic. The books are short (from about 120 to 220 pages), but the stories are satisfying and complete.

This story about a prince, a dragon, a maid and a sleeping princess in a tower is humorous and exciting as the prince along with his dragon try to complete challenges in seven circles to find the princess. And there is even some romance!

My Rating: B

the first chill of autumn by w.r. gingellThe First Chill of Autumn by W.R. Gingell

Series: Shards of a Broken Sword #3

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Ebook, purchased

220 pages

My thoughts

I like how this ties up the loose ends in the trilogy. Each book is about different characters, but in this book all the characters are brought together by the end. I like that. There is magic galore in the book as well as dragons, royalty, enchanters and enchantresses, romances, lots of Fae! And we finally find out what the shards of the broken sword are for.

I recommend this trilogy to anyone who likes fairy tale retellings, a little romance in their stories (that doesn’t take over the story), magic, dragons, fantasy.

My Rating: B+

Trilogy Rating: B+

About the Author

W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She loves to rewrite fairy tales with a twist or two–and a murder or three–and original fantasy where dragons, enchantresses, and other magical creatures abound. Occasionally she will also dip her toes into the waters of SciFi.

W.R. spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.

Reading Challenges

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book with a weather element in the title (The First Chill of Autumn)

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a sequel (Fire in the Blood)

April & May Wrap-Up

I’ve decided to do a monthly wrap-up post each month to see how I’m doing on my blog and what’s going on in my personal life. I plan to link-up to a couple of blogs that host wrap-ups and reviews of their months. The Month in Review is hosted at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

Personal life

The first part of May we  got a call that my father-in-law had had a massive stroke. My husband and I quickly got ready and left to drive the 3+ hours to the hospital. My FIL didn’t want extreme measures taken to keep him alive and the doctors said he wouldn’t regain consciousness due to bleeding in his brain. He died the next day. It’s hard when a loved one dies, but he was nearly 90 and had lived a good life. We tried to celebrate his life and remember the good times we had with him. He loved his family including his extended family and many were able to come to his funeral. He was a veteran and we had a military ceremony at the graveside. It was all very moving and right for him. My husband is the executor of his estate so we stayed longer to sort out the papers he needs and so he could visit local people and businesses. We’ve made more trips as things move along. It’s a big job, but many people are helping.

My daughter who lives in the same city as I do interviewed for another job in her company. She got the job and moves to Indianapolis at the end of June. I will miss her so much, but it’s a great job and a promotion so I’m also very happy for her. She got the job offer at the end of May so she’s very busy getting her house ready to sell and getting ready to move. That means we’re busy, too, helping her when we can.

TV & Movies

We saw a couple of movies in the theater–Ready Player One and Solo–and enjoyed them both. We’re happy Elementary is back with another season and we’ve watched some of that. We watched the short season of Dancing With the Stars, but I was disappointed the season was so short. I hope they don’t have another four-week season. I feel like I didn’t get to know the people at all.

Yard & Garden

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After a very cold spring–we even had a little snow in April–we have gone straight to summer. In May we had a number of 90+ degree days. We’ve planted new plants this spring and the bulbs I planted last fall came up. Yay!  The daffodils bloomed and now Allium is blooming and my lilies will bloom later in the summer. We also planted a few new plants during May.

I love our yard and the crabapple trees are especially beautiful when they bloom in spring. Daffodils are my favorite spring bulb since deer, squirrels and bunnies leave them alone. Plus they are such cheerful plants.

Blog life

I read quite a few books in April and May and am ahead of my Goodreads goal which makes me happy. However, I didn’t get many books reviewed or other posts done and during May about the only things done were posts that I’d scheduled. I had the April wrap-up mostly written when we received the call about my father-in-law.

Thanks to all the people who comment on blog posts. I owe many people comments and hope to visit many blogs during June to see what you all are doing and then leave comments.

I still have to finish a privacy policy for my blog, but it may take a few more days since my husband and I are taking care of more estate business at the end of this week.

Books read in April

The Green Man’s Heir by Juliet E. McKenna (ebook)

Red Bones by Ann Cleeves (audiobook)

Hive Mind: Perilous by Janet Edwards (ebook)

This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (library ebook)

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves (library audiobook)

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (library ebook) — (new author)

Catseye by Andre Norton (ebook)

Hive Mind: Defender by Janet Edwards (ebook)

Dry Bones by Peter May (audiobook) — (new author)

Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell (ebook)

The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein (library audiobook)

Books read in May

Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren (ebook) — (new author)

The Darkest Thread by Jen Blood (ebook) — (new author)

Dog With a Bone by Hailey Edwards (ebook)

Inside the Echo by Jen Blood (ebook)

Spindle by W.R. Gingell (ebook)

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman (library audiobook) — (new author)

The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh (ebook) — (new author)

Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes (library ebook) — (new author)

Books reviewed

Review

White Nights by Ann Cleeves (ebook) — B+

Mini Reviews

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff (ebook) — B-

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch — (ebook) B+

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel (graphic novel/library) — B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) — B-

My Challenges update

Goodreads Challenge

Goal–90 books read

By the end of May I’ve read 46 books toward my goal. I am 10 books ahead of schedule! Yay!

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

Goal–read 26-35 mysteries 

I’ve read 22 mysteries so far, but have only reviewed six of those mysteries so far.

Discussion Challenge

Goal — 1 -10 discussion posts

I haven’t written any discussion posts yet. I have a couple started so I hope to get one done in June.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Goal — 40 prompts to the challenge

I’ve read seven books which match prompts

Swords & Stars Reading Challenge

Goal — 20 prompts for the challenge

I’ve read and reviewed three books which match this challenge

What were April and May like for you?

Mini reviews: from Ben Arronovitch’s Peter Grant series

I read several stories in Ben Arronovitch’s Peter Grant series since the first of the year. I’ve grouped them together since they are all short works. One is a novella, one a graphic novel and the other a short audiobook. I’ve also only written mini reviews for each work.

The Furthest Station by Ben Arronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #5.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Police Procedural, Novella

Setting: England

129 pages

Synopsis: There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

My thoughts

This is short, but the author tells a complete story. I enjoyed reading about ghosts on the London Underground. Mostly the ghosts on the Underground are harmless, but now there are more ghosts appearing and they’re very aggressive. They’re scaring passengers so PC Peter Grant is sent to investigate. This is a quick read and a good one for Peter Grant fans.

My Rating: B+

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Setting: England

Synopsis: Peter Grant having become the first English Apprentice wizard in fifty years must immediately deal with two different but ultimately inter-related cases.In one he must find what is possessing ordinary people and turning them into vicious killers and in the second he must broker a peace between the two warring gods of the River Thames.

My thoughts

This is the first graphic novel I’ve read in a while and I enjoyed it. I think the fact that I read the Peter Grant print series helped me understand the characters better in the graphic novel–especially since I don’t read graphic novels very often. This graphic novel is a new story, not just a retelling of a story in the print series. I like that a lot. It’s always fun to read a new Peter Grant story and the illustrations gave the story a different dimension. I still like print stories better than a graphic novel since I like to picture the events in my head as I’m reading. However, it’s always nice to broaden my horizons a bit.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Length: 29 minutes

Setting: The British Library

Synopsis: Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss – and we’re not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn’t looking forward to finding out….

My thoughts

This is very short–only 29 minutes–but it’s fun and I enjoyed listening to the audio. I haven’t listened to any of the other books in this series. The narrator is excellent and makes me want to listen to the next book in the series rather than read it.

Within a minute or two of the start of the story something larger than Peter’s dog Toby and with lots of legs runs past and the librarian asks “Tell me that wasn’t a spider?” When Peter reassures her it wasn’t, the librarian comments, “Thank God for that. I can’t stand spiders.” This is funny and a bit of a creepy story!

My Rating: B

Have you read any of the Peter Grant series? How do you like it?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! — The Furthest Station

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read an SFF graphic novel 

Review: Starman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein

Starman Jones by Robert A HeinleinStarman Jones by Robert A. Heinlein

Series: None

Genre: Science Fiction (one of Heinlein’s Juveniles)

Source: Audiobook, purchased

Narrated by Paul Michael Garcia

Published by Blackstone Audiobooks, 2008, (original publication date: 1953)

252 pages; 8 hours, 29 minutes

Synopsis: The stars were closed to Max Jones. To get into space you either needed connections, a membership in the Guild, or a whole lot more money than Max, the son of a widowed, poor mother, was every going to have. What Max does have going for him are his uncle’s prized astrogation manuals—book on star navigation that Max literally commits to memory word for word, equation for equation. When Max’s mother decides to remarry a bullying oaf, Max takes to the road, only to discover that his uncle Chet’s manuals, and Max’s near complete memorization of them, is a ticket to the stars. But serving on a spaceship is no easy task. Duty is everything, and a mistake can mean you and all aboard are lost forever. Max loves every minute of his new life, and he steadily grows in the trust of his superior officers, and seems to be on course for a command track position. But then disaster strikes, and it’s going to take every trick Max ever learned from his tough life and his uncle’s manuals to save himself and the ship from a doom beyond extinction itself.

My thoughts

Starman Jones is part of the Heinlein Juveniles series. Heinlein wrote twelve novels between 1947 and 1958 which were published as the juvenile series.  These books are all standalone books. The first book was Rocket Ship Galileo and the last was Have Space Suit — Will Travel. I guess these would be considered young adult books today though in many ways they’re simpler more straightforward stories than many young adult books written today. I read these (and many of Heinlein’s adult novels) as a teenager. I loved the adventure in these books as well as so many of the characters. It’s been years since I read most of these books, but I think the main characters were all boys. That didn’t bother me when I was reading them. I don’t think I thought about it! I still related to the main characters and wanted to have those adventures. Heinlein wrote about characters who were intelligent, hardworking and honest and showed that was the way to get ahead in the world. I took that to heart and still believe that today. However, I am also really happy there are more books written with female main characters and more female authors.

This was a good science fiction adventure story. Max Jones is a teenager who always wanted to be an astrogator and since his uncle was an astrogator and talked of naming Max as his heir Max hopes he did that before he died. Many occupations–including astrogation–are hereditary and managed by guilds and since Max doesn’t come from an important family and doesn’t have any money he won’t have a chance to become an astrogator if he wasn’t named an heir by his uncle.

Max runs away from home after his stepmother remarries soon after Max’s father dies. Max does manage to get himself onto a passenger spaceship (but with forged documents). Even though his job is taking care of the animals on the ship–cleaning their cages–he’s ecstatic that he’s in space. During the course of the book Max manages to come to the attention of the spaceship’s captain and other officers and is given a chance to learn about the running of the ship. However, he not only has the deception that got him onto the ship, but a number of other disasters await him and the ship.

Jones is a smart, but naive young man at the beginning of this story. He learns a lot and grows up a lot by the end of the book. The book didn’t end quite as I thought it would. It’s always nice when a book surprises me. I thought this ending was good and wished that Heinlein had written more books about Max!

I read and reviewed Have Spaceship – Will Travel a couple of years ago, but of the two I like Starman Jones better. I own a number of the other Juvenile Series books so I may try to read them this year.

My Rating: A-

Narrator Rating: A

Have you read any of Robert Heinlein’s books?

Reading Challenges

2018 Swords & Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read a book whose cover has stars in it or whose title has any variation of the word star in it.

2018 Reading Challenges

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I’m participating in the Goodreads challenge again this year. Last year my goal was to read 100 books and I read exactly that! This year I decreased my goal to 90 books. I feel like I have lots more going on in 2018 and I want to read books because I love reading not to meet a challenge. (However, if I read more than 90 books I will be very happy!)

Other challenges

I’ve decided to participate in a few other challenges this year. Last year I didn’t take part in any reading challenges so I’m ready this year to jump in. It’s always fun and I usually read books I might not read otherwise. Some of these challenges need me to not only read the book, but also post a review. Thus, I’ve decided to do at least a mini review of the books I read. Hopefully this will get me to write a little about the books I’m reading.

Cloak and Dagger Challenge

Hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

I can read any type of mystery for this challenge. I like that about the challenge. I had a lot of fun when I did this challenge a couple of years ago.

Goal: Inspector Level–26-35 books

Monthly Link-up for mysteries read each month.

Discussion Challenge

Hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

Discuss books and book blogging. Talk about whatever you want as long as it’s relevant to book blogging. Discussions can be book related or book blogging related (or generally blogging related).

Goal: Discussion Dabbler–1-10 discussions

Monthly Link-up for discussion posts each month for giveaways and see what discussions other people post.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Hosted on the POPSUGAR website.

I participated in this challenge two or three years ago and it was lots of fun. I did read types of books I don’t often read by doing this challenge last time so I hope to do the same this year. There’s also a Goodreads group that I can join. (I’ll think about that for now.)

Goal: to broaden my reading horizons by trying to read all 40 of the book prompts plus there are 10 extra book prompts in a more advanced listing. I hope I can complete at least 80% of the list.

Swords & Stars Reading Challenge

Hosted by MsNoseinaBook

This is a new challenge and it sounds fun. There’s a list of twenty science fiction & fantasy prompts. I’m looking forward to how many books I will find to fit the different prompts.

Goal: I would like to read a book for each challenge on this list, but would be happy with finishing 80% of the list.

…………………………

I plan to create a page on my blog for each of these challenges so that I can keep track of my progress.

Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? Do you like reading challenges? What are your favorite challenges?