The Bone Key is a collection of short stories by Sarah Monette, all focused on the supernatural trials of the socially awkward Kyle Murchison Booth. SThe Bone Key is a collection of short stories by Sarah Monette, all focused on the supernatural trials of the socially awkward Kyle Murchison Booth. Set in 1930s America, the stories carry with them a tense, near claustrophobic energy with them, much to the stylings of Lovecraft, but offering up a character with much more complexity and depth than many of the original Lovecraft tales failed to give.
The first story of the collection opens the unnatural world up to both the reader and the protagonist, giving reason for why Booth is put through the horrors he faces. The necromancy he takes part in tears what barriers stood between him and the Otherworldly aspects of the universe, leaving him vulnerable to its influences. It is amazingly well done, a very impressive start to a beautiful collection. More that that, we get to connect with Booth himself, who is so awkward and heartbreakingly lonely you cannot help but pity him. The story carries a sense of foreboding and foreshadowing, as if he knew even from the start of his cursed life he’d never find the peace he yearns for.
Continuing through the novel, Sarah Monette takes delight in creating a world so similar to ours but with such terrifying differences. The realism in her world building and character creation is without flaw, the plots all manage to spark fresh interest and deliver highly satisfying (if not always happy) endings. We get to know Booth intimately, become his friend without ever speaking to him, and that is a mark of a highly skillful author.
Each story can stand under its own weight, but some effects are felt throughout the stories that come after it. I feel like the horror aspects in the book are perhaps not horrifying enough to meet with today’s standards of the genre, but if you consider how short each story is, how little time the tension has to mount, and the fact that the style of writing is from closer to antiquity than not, I think Sarah Monette shows a masterful skill with this collection.
I adore her. I will never stop singing her praises until she gets the attention she deserves. And probably not even then.
The first book in the Sci-fi Regency series, this book mostly follows the developing relationship between the two main characters, Nate, a starship caThe first book in the Sci-fi Regency series, this book mostly follows the developing relationship between the two main characters, Nate, a starship captain, and Aiden, the youngest prince of a royal family. A friend highly recommended me the series and I decided to give it a go.
The mix of such diverse genres seems impossible to execute, but the author manages to do so with a surprising believability. While there is space travel and advanced technology infusing the universe, several planets decided to revert their culture back to Regency era. There are several gaping plotholes, however, that I wish had been noticed by the author or her publisher, but I was able to suspend my disbelief for most of the book. It got to the point 30 pages to the end when I couldn’t forgive and gave up trying.
The thing that I struggled with as a reader the most was the culture set up on the main planet the book was set on. Not only was it male dominated, it had been set up so that all the upper class were male, and all the children they produced were genetically altered to be attracted to men. This aspect made me feel sick. Sexuality is not a genetically programmable aspect. A reason that was given to support this is that before they settled on the planet, its hierarchy were a team of elite soldiers who were paired together and encouraged to be sexual with their fighting partner so they would be braver and more vicious on the battlefield. This holds no water as it could be used with any gender pairing. Another reason the author uses is that a male run society is safer than one with a female aspect. Ah, right. That’s why one of the main characters was almost kidnapped, raped and murdered in the second chapter. Really safe society you have there.
I hate it when books have almost no gender diversity. It aggravates me.
Sorry, I was meant to talk about the movement of the plot. Well, it’s a mystery, mostly. The royal children turn off the house computer and sneak out the house, and while they do that something kept on the grounds is stolen. No, I don’t understand how a computer elegant enough to understand vocal commands is so easy to turn off. Or why there isn’t a backup system for the royal palace. Urgh. Anyway – this thing that is stolen is something to do with a galactic peace keeping fleet who send a captain to discover who took the thing and where its gone. There is then more romance than investigation as the captain and the youngest prince circle each other. Then someone tries to assassinate Aiden (I don’t know why) which forces Aiden and Nate to get married. No, I don’t understand either.
All right, well, I made my grievance with the culture clear already. Now it’s the turn of the characters. They are very dull. There is no humour in any of them, nothing that spark any interest. It was the characters that were the reason I gave up so close to the end. I lost all interest I had in them. Even the sex scenes were boring.
I wish I could be sorry about stopping, but all I feel is a massive amount of indifference.
Bent is a contemporary M/m erotic novel that follows the relationship between Dr Jim Upton and Marcus Goodfellow, the first book written in the HammerBent is a contemporary M/m erotic novel that follows the relationship between Dr Jim Upton and Marcus Goodfellow, the first book written in the Hammer series, of which there are eleven books.
I’m not a fan of contemporary, but I decided to give this book a go because I liked the title, the cover and I was really, really bored. I really wish I hadn’t chosen it. The book is downright disturbing. The dom, Marcus (who is, of course, tall, muscle-bound and bald) stalks and kidnaps a stranger he saw in a bookshop – Jim. He then, despite repeated ‘No’s and ‘Let me go’s drags his victim into his house, spanks him and lets him go. He then stalks Jim some more.
Jim is in a very vulnerable state of mind, being on anxiety medication, living in a cramped apartment he hates, without support from his family or friends. He has no one to turn to. He can’t even go to the police because his trust in them was torn away.
What follows is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a thriller or horror. Marcus repeatedly harasses Jim, who is pressured into one date then taken back to Marcus’ home and spanked until he orgasms. All right, it was a hot, well written scene, but it was still very disturbing when the guy was screaming no at the top of his lungs. Magically, after orgasming, he’s all fine with whatever Marcus wants to do with him.
What really, really creeps me out about this book, it’s not trying to be scary or creepy or negative. It’s trying to show what a healthy BDSM lifestyle looks like. With a dom who can’t hear no, who doesn’t tell his sub to pick a safeword until after he’s raped him a few times, who cuts Jim off from his lawyer, his psychologist, hides his meds - who talks about pushing through Jim’s barriers. Any sub worth their salt knows that last is a trait that should send you running far and hard.
The storyline made me feel physically ill. The characters were cliché and annoying and had the depth of a puddle. The dialogue was repetitive and dull yet still terrifying. The sex scenes were hot... but not when they were surrounded by the casual disregard for the sub’s wellbeing. The structure degenerated about a third of the way in, falling away from being something like a novel to being a series of short stories randomly jumbled together.
First book of a currently five novel series titles ‘A Pyke Mystery’ which is set in 1800s London. The series follows an acutely unpleasant man calledFirst book of a currently five novel series titles ‘A Pyke Mystery’ which is set in 1800s London. The series follows an acutely unpleasant man called Pyke as he investigates a mystery.
I picked this up in a bookshop, as I had read a little of one of the later novels and liked it, and was interested in reading the series. It was a mistake. The only think that is commendable about this book is the cover. I only managed to read a little over a hundred pages, and it was absolute agony. The main character is a foul creature of a man who inspires no sympathy with the reader, his whole attitude repulsive and his personality stunted. The rest of the characters are ridiculously caricaturised with the only women worthy of his attention being the noble born women who are for some reason attracted to Pyke. It’s so frustrating, reading a book by someone with obvious skill but zero ability. I wanted to like this book, so badly. The time frame is fascinating, the murders intriguing, the social tensions well researched, but it doesn’t matter when the author can’t create one single character who is in the least bit interesting enough to make me care what happens to them.
Another issue I had with the book was the way the author refused to let the reader live in the moment. He constantly rammed home that this book was a tale being told, not a story to submerge into. He did this by cutting out huge chunks of conversation, and instead giving the condensed version. Over and over again, he would decide not to show that his characters had character and just give the highlights in a very dull paragraph. It was a highly alienating and boring method.
A third issue was the scene changes. The most clumsy effort was within the first three pages of the book where Pyke is first in a bar brawl, then dragging a man to jail and then arriving at a noble’s household. There was no grace to it, no pause or lingering so the reader could realise what was happening or why.
I couldn’t read any more. I can usually manage to, no matter what I’m presented with, but when a book is so unskilfully managed as this, and with no characters to keep me interested, I don’t see the point in trying.
The first book of the Sianim sequence, Masques follows Aralorn, a shape-shifting mercenary spy and Wolf, her lupine companioMasques by Patricia Briggs
The first book of the Sianim sequence, Masques follows Aralorn, a shape-shifting mercenary spy and Wolf, her lupine companion as they stumble into a rebellion against the great and outwardly good Archmage who has dethroned a king in his quest to attain… a plotpoint. It has recently been revamped and re-released – which is a mercy for Briggs fans – and with a spanking new sequel that I am drooling to pick up.
This fantasy romp is a huge, quivering cliché that somehow manages to weather its own predictive plot and blooms with a simplicity that I so enjoy with Briggs. Yes, the book has faults (and some ones that jar, such as a pair of overused turns-of-phrase that I wish she had adjusted) but for a début novel it is sweet and endearing.
This book holds so many of Brigg’s favourite tricks that come out in her later novels – a heroine of plain looks, a shapeshifter, a potential love triangle, a penchant to put action before romance, wit – oh, it is a treat to read witty dialogue – wolves, dragons, displaced kings and doublecrossings. As a fan of hers I adored it, though the weaknesses that have been skilfully patched are still apparent in the altered work.
We only get to know two of the characters very well, the rest are muted and somewhat bland by her standards (though by another measure they are still vibrant and unique) and a lot of interaction is rushed through. A pair of twins that appear in the start of the novel are barely met by the reader though have been known for years by Aralorn, come to some grief in the latter half. I was unsure what to do with it because while the protagonist suffered well I felt very little for them myself. I may be just use to her twisting heartstrings from her Mercedes Thompson series (it’s fabulous) and I can sense that her younger self was attempting to do the same – but it failed to stir much anguish. There were several other instances of the same attempt-and-failure because we come in on Aralorn’s life after she has made these bonds, or because the plot just plunges on without much interaction between the main characters with minor ones.
As a Brigg’s novel, it is very raw and very clumsy and yet still captures her style to a tee. Wolf is most defiantly a new favourite of mine, flaming Larry Stu that he is. Dragon Bones has not been displaced, but I am very pleased with this novel none-the-less.