Sideswiped by Kim Harrison

sideswiped-by-kim-harrison“Sideswiped” by Kim Harrison
Series: The Peri Reed Chronicles #.5
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Pocket Star, 2015
E-book, purchased
80 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Don’t miss this thrilling first look into the elite world of Peri Reed, government agency operative extraordinaire, and catch more of her character in The Drafter, the first book in the all-new suspense trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison, out September 1.

Every hero, even the accidental ones, have a beginning.

Silas’s radical theory that drafters are not replaying time as much as they are temporarily sliding into an alternate universe has never been well-received, but frankly, the darling of Opti’s research has enough clout not to care, until a professor with a grudge tries to put a permanent end to it. Love can’t alter time, and sometimes, even being able to rub out a single mistake isn’t enough…

Initial Impressions

  • This short story–even though confusing–makes me want to read The Drafter, book 1 in this series.


  • Excited to see a new series by Kim Harrison. I read a few of The Hollows series and liked them. I just couldn’t keep up with them!
  • With this new series I have a chance to get in at the beginning so I like that.
  • The story confused me, but the world Ms. Harrison wrote sounds really interesting and original so I’m willing to take the little bit I learned here and read the first book.
  • The world building is complex and looks like it has strict rules which is important. People pay the price for breaking the rules.
  • This story takes place in a school where students are learning to manipulate time–going back a short time to change something which has happened.


  • The story is confusing. I know the series is about Peri Reed, but she isn’t the main character of this story. (Silas is–I’m interested to see if he’s in the first book). I think I just need to read The Drafter and see what happens there.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • Published about a month before the first book in the series was published.
  • I’m hoping to read The Drafter soon.

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

Author info

  • “I’m Kim Harrison, best known for penning the Hollows series though I’ve tried my hand at YA, traditional fantasy, graphic novels, and a one-of-a-kind world book. I grew up reading science fiction and fairytales, which means my fairy garden has Daleks in it. Recently, I’ve moved back to my home state of Michigan after a ten year stint down in South Carolina, and it feels good to be home–even with the snow and cold. I’ve been traditionally published for almost twenty years, and a good day is still one where there is nothing to distract me from my keyboard.”

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge

TBR Review: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Lady Astronaut of Mars

“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: None
Genre: Science Fiction
Published by Tor
E-book, free
31 pages
Grade: A
Synopsis: A Finalist for the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novelette. Thirty years ago, Elma York led the expedition that paved the way to life on Mars. For years she’s been longing to go back up there, to once more explore the stars. But there are few opportunities for an aging astronaut, even the famous Lady Astronaut of Mars. When her chance finally comes, it may be too late. Elma must decide whether to stay with her sickening husband in what will surely be the final years of his life, or to have her final adventure and plunge deeper into the well of space.

Time was when I couldn’t walk anywhere on Mars without being recognized as the Lady Astronaut. Now, thirty years after the First Expedition, I was just another old lady, whose small stature showed my origin on Earth.


  • Won the 2014 Hugo for Best Novelette (not a term I’d heard before!) For the Hugo Award the novelette category is given to a science fiction or fantasy story between 7,500 – 17,500 words.
  • I love the cover!
  • The author packs a lot into a story of only 31 pages. This makes me want to read more short fiction!
  • This was an emotional read for me . . . maybe because my husband and I have been married 33 years and I can imagine this scenario.
  • I like how honest Elma and Nathaniel are. The story is told from Elma’s POV so we get more of her internal thoughts. And some of those thoughts she’s ashamed to have.
  • To me this was a perfect story . . . not too long and not too short. It told all it needed to in these few words.
  • For me this is the best kind of love story.
  • I like the addition of Dorothy into the story. The story’s opening paragraph:

Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife. She met me, she went on to say, when I was working next door to their farm under the shadow of the rocket gantry for the First Mars Expedition.


  • None

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I read this book for Wendy’s January TBR Challenge (Short Shorts).
  • I don’t usually read short fiction and I’ve had this book for a while so was glad for the impetus from the TBR Challenge to read this.

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

TBR Review: A Regency Christmas II by Putney, Mills, Balogh, Kelly & Walsh



A Regency Christmas II
Five Stories by Mary Jo Putney, Anita Mills, Mary Balogh, Carla Kelly, Sheila Walsh
Series: None
Genre: Historical Romance (Christmas)
Published by Signet, 1990
Paperback, purchased
347 pages
Overall grade: B
Synopsis: This warm and delightful collection brings together five all-new stories of Christmas by some of the most beloved and highly acclaimed Regency authors. Written especially for the new edition, these delightful tales capture the spirit of Christmas ritual and tradition, its hopes and heartbreaks, its joys and passions. These are stories that reflect happy reunions and homecomings, the fun and festivities, the pleasures of giving, and, of course, the love and goodwill that make life so special and comprise the true message of the holiday season. Here is a beautiful gift that touches the heart — a gift to be cherished now and all year ’round.


“Sunshine for Christmas” by Mary Jo Putney
Grade: B

He had also admired the handsome Neapolitan women, had even been tempted by one or two of the sloe-eyed streetwalkers. But he did not succumb to temptation, for the price might be too high: it was said that the prostitutes of Naples often gave men souvenirs that could be neither forgotten nor forgiven.

  • Two lonely people, Naples and Christmas create a sweet story.
  • Lord Randolph Lennox travels to Naples, Italy in search of sunshine and respite from loneliness. He meets a fellow Brit–Miss Elizabeth Walker, a governess working in Italy.

“Playing House” by Mary Balogh
Grade: B

There were candles and evergreen branches and the Nativity scene before the altar. And the church bells before the service, and the organ and the singing during it, and the Christmas readings. And the sermon. And the church packed with neighbors and friends and family. There were love and joy and peace.

It was Christmas.

Christmas as it always was–and never would be again.

  • I read this story a few years ago.
  • I like the characters in the story.
  • Lilias, a little too proud for her own good, and the Marquess of Bedford, cynical and angry.
  • I do enjoy the three children in the story–Lilias’ sister and brother, Megan and Andrew–and Bedford’s daughter, Dora. Megan and Andrew are a little too perfect, but it’s Christmas so I don’t mind. Dora is often portrayed as petulant which gets a little old, but at least she isn’t perfect!
  • Mary Balogh does a good job showing an English country Christmas–and that it’s not the same as the Christmases the Marquess of Bedford thinks he remembers!

“The Three Kings” by Carla Kelly
Grade: A-

Dink passed a hand in front of his eyes. “Can’t believe how easy it is to forget the social graces in this scummy country. Luis Sotomayor, and there’s more, of course,” he whispered back. “how these garlic-eaters tack on name after name and then use the middle one baffles me.”

“Alargosa de Menem,” said the voice through the fire, not even raising his chin from his chest. “And it is not a scummy country, my lord. Devil take you Englishmen.”

  • My favorite story in the collection.
  • Takes place in Spain during the Napoleonic War. Illustrates the horror of war.
  • The Spanish Colonel is an interesting character–practical, pragmatic and sympathetic.
  • I like the details Ms. Kelly adds about the customs in Spain surrounding Christmas and the way she’s able to weave it into the story.

“The Last Wish” by Anita Mills
Grade: B-

“What an uncommonly sensible female you are, my dear.”

“I hope so. Good night, sir,” she repeated firmly.

After she left, he finished his brandy. One hundred pounds per year. He spent more that for his gloves, for almost everything, in fact. One hundred pounds per year. It made him wonder if perhaps in his own way he were not as useless a fellow as George….

  • A cute little girl and her impoverished aunt, a dying grandfather, three nephews gathered at the old man’s deathbed and it’s almost Christmas.
  • Story lacks some content and has some improbable character changes, but all-in-all a nice story.

“The Christmas Star” by Sheila Walsh
Grade: B-

“Oh, governesses don’t count,” Philip averred offhandedly, and did not notice how quiet Louise had become.

A companion is not so demeaning as a governess, she thought, swallowing a rather horrid lump in her throat. But there were times when she seemed to be in a kind of limbo–caught between upstairs and downstairs, not quite knowing her place.

  • A Russian Prince, a young woman from an impoverished family, a frightened new mother with her baby all come together in this story.
  • It’s a cute story, but very unrealistic. I didn’t really understand why the Prince fell in love with Louise. But it’s Christmas so I give it a break!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • These are Christmas stories so I don’t read them very critically. I mostly just enjoy them–especially historical romances.
  • I read this book as part of the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-Thon, but also as part of the TBR Challenge. Each month we post a TBR review on the third Wednesday of the month. This month we were challenged to read a historical romance. I have had this book for a number of years. I found it at a used bookstore and the pages are quite brittle and the cover is starting to come apart.
  • Anita Mills is a new author to me as is Sheila Walsh so I’ll be adding them to my New Author Challenge.

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

TBR Review: Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James

seduced-by-a-pirateSeduced by a Pirate (novella)
by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tales #4.5
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Avon Impulse, 2012
E-book, Purchased
100 pages
Grade: C+
Synopsis: Sir Griffin Barry leapt out of the bedchamber window at age seventeen after a very disappointing wedding night, drank a bit too much at the pub and woke to find that he’d joined the crew of a pirate ship! Years later, he has become one of the most feared pirates on the high seas, piloting the Flying Poppy, a ship he named after the wife whom he fondly (if vaguely) remembers.

What happens when a pirate decides to come home to his wife — if she is his wife — given that the marriage was never consummated? And what happens when that pirate strolls through his front door and is met by… well, that’s a surprise!

No one knew that Griffin’s ship was named for his wife, whose name was Poppy. He had even tattooed a small blue poppy high on one cheekbone in her honor, although he had known her for only one day–and ever consummated the marriage.


  • Griffin accepts Phoebe’s three children when he returns and is willing to raise them as his own. He realizes he was gone for 14 years and she didn’t know if he would ever return or if she would ever have children. She’s 34 when he returns.


  • I didn’t feel I really knew the characters, because of the short number of pages.
  • They only meet each other on their wedding night when Griffin was 17 years old and Phoebe was 20. He was unable to consummate the marriage. He comes back to his wife 14 years later. They almost instantly fall in love when he returns.
  • Griffin names his ship the Flying Poppy in honor of his wife, but that isn’t even her name! Her name is Phoebe.

And a few thoughts

  • The book isn’t long enough to really get to know the characters. It is connected to Ms. James’ Fairy Tale series since the other pirate in the beginning of the book is the hero of The Ugly Duckling.
  • I usually like Ms. James’ books, but I think the short length of this book makes it hard to connect to the characters.
  • This novella won the RITA award in 2013 for best novella. This month’s TBR challenge is to read a RITA award book.

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

This is my TBR review for the month of July. This challenge is hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The review for this challenge is posted on the third Wednesday each month. I’m also participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

Reviews: Christmas novellas

A set of three short reviews of three Christmas novellas.

a-kiss-for-midwinterA Kiss for Midwinter
by Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister, #1.5
Genre: Historical Romance (Victorian England)
Published by Courtney Milan, 2012
E-book, Purchased
121 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time. But no matter how hard she smiles, she can’t forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation. Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham. She wants nothing to do with him…or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He’s been in love with Lydia for more than a year. This winter, he’s determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own. It all starts with a wager and a kiss…

» » » » » »

the-night-before-christmasThe Night Before Christmas
by Kelly Hunter
Series: The West Family prequel novella
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin Kiss, 2013
E-book, Purchased
51 pages
Grade: C-
Synopsis: Hardworking and independent Jess Turner has come home from the bustle of Sydney to enjoy a quiet Christmas. But after running into an old school friend, she finds herself talked into attending a lavish Christmas Eve party—and running straight into the only man to ever break her heart.

Rebel with a heart Boyd Webber thrives on the adrenaline rush of riding motorbikes for a living, but giving into love has never been a risk worth taking. Until he sees Jess again…

» » » » » »

mistletoe-kisses“A Gift of Light
by Jo Beverley
Series: None
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency England)
One of three short stories in Mistletoe Kisses and Yuletide Joy, 2013 (originally published 1996 in The Christmas Cat)
E-book, Purchased
about 60 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: Miss Kitty Mayhew is spending the first Christmas since her parents’ deaths quietly, but she ventures out to find the owner of a raucous tom that is keeping her awake with his caterwauling serenades to her own cat. When she encounters a half-dressed manservant she’s shaken, especially as he’s impudent and far too handsome for his own good. When she learns he’s the Earl of Felstowe hiding from Christmas revelries she knows she’s bitten off more than she can chew. But the earl is now in determined pursuit of her.

What worked for me:

  • I loved A Kiss for Midwinter. The story was emotional and the two main characters–Lydia and Jonas–were very real to me. There was humor, angst and caring in this story. I liked that the story is mainly told from Jonas’ point of view.
  • The Night Before Christmas was okay, but there really wasn’t enough of it.
  • “A Gift of Light” was a cute story. I especially enjoyed the latter part of the story and the two cats were a lot of fun. The way they matched their owners was a nice touch.

What didn’t work:

  • The Night Before Christmas suffers because it was very short. The two main characters aren’t fully fleshed out. The prequel felt like it was merely a device to briefly introduce the West family.
  • I didn’t enjoy A Gift of Light very much to begin with. Then there’s a twist in the second half of the story and I liked the rest it.

» » » » » »

  • Courtney Milan’s novella is a winner for me. It’s a story which could be read anytime. There isn’t too much about Christmas…though the story did talk a bit negatively about the new Christmas trees introduced by Prince Albert from Germany (as opposed to the yule log and ivy)!
  • The shortness of The Night Before Christmas made this short story unsatisfying for me. Kelly Hunter is one of my favorite Harlequin authors, but this isn’t a favorites for me.
  • “A Gift of Light” was a cute story. Jo Beverley is one of my favorite historical romance authors and though I didn’t enjoy this as much as her full length novels it was still a nice story.

» » » » » »

Have you read any of these stories? How did you like them?