Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tea Infusing Spoons

Okay, I am officially nuts. Feel free to say that if you want, but yes, I am about to rave about tea infusing spoons.

Over the years since I've become a tea drinker (favourite variety being the Murchies Orange Spice loose leaf variety), I've gone through more than a few different infusers: Tea balls, ceramic mug infusers, metal mug infusers, and my favorite has quickly become the tea infusing spoon when making single mugs of tea.

For pots of tea, you can't beat the old-fashioned tea ball - at least most of the time. I've had a run of bad luck with those lately, with my latest few leaking enough tea leaves into the pot that I practically have to pour through a strainer.

As I'm usually making my tea by the mug, I thought I'd try something else. I've had a couple of the ceramic-based infusers with silicone handles. They worked well enough, holding just enough tea leaves to make that mug of tea without wasting any, but there's one big downside to the lot of them:  getting the used tea leaves out when you're done. The opening's too small for fingers to pull the leaves out and they stick inside. Gravity's certainly not going to do the job! I've spent too much time trying to pry the drippy messes of leaves out with a spoon handle with mixed success - to the point where I was deliberately selecting other varieties of tea in bags rather than using the infuser.

Last year I saw one of these tea-infusing spoons for the first time and decided to give it a try. I haven't used the ceramic infuser since! No more spilled tea leaves when I'm trying to fill it - just pinch the handle and scoop the tea out with the spoon itself. No more spoon handle trying to scrape the used leaves out at the other end of the process either! Squeeze the handle open and give the whole thing a smart rap against the edge of the compost bucket and the wet leaves fall out in a mass. There are no edges for the leaves to get caught up on either or to make it difficult to clean.

After a year of use (including leaving the leaves in over several hours at a time while I re-steep them for new mugs of tea), there's no signs of rust either, which is more than I can say for some of the regular tea balls I've had over the years!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New arrival to add to my Tolkien Collection - There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale by Verlyn Flieger

Guess what arrived in the mail today! I'd actually forgotten I'd ordered it, so it was a nice surprise:

There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays On Tolkien - Verlyn FliegerThere Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays On Tolkien
Verlyn Flieger
Kent State University Press
Copyright Date: December 2017

The product description:
Devoted to Tolkien, the teller of tales and co-creator of the myths they brush against, these essays focus on his lifelong interest in and engagement with fairy stories, the special world that he called faërie, a world they both create and inhabit, and with the elements that make that world the special place it is. They cover a range of subjects, from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings and their place within the legendarium he called the Silmarillion to shorter works like “The Story of Kullervo” and “Smith of Wootton Major.”
From the pen of eminent Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger, the individual essays in this collection were written over a span of twenty years, each written to fit the parameters of a conference, an anthology, or both. They are revised slightly from their original versions to eliminate repetition and bring them up to date. Grouped loosely by theme, they present an unpatterned mosaic, depicting topics from myth to truth, from social manners to moral behavior, from textual history to the micro particles of Middle-earth.
Together these essays present a complete picture of a man as complicated as the books that bear his name―an independent and unorthodox thinker who was both a believer and a doubter able to maintain conflicting ideas in tension, a teller of tales both romantic and bitter, hopeful and pessimistic, in equal parts tragic and comedic. A man whose work does not seek for right or wrong answers so much as a way to accommodate both; a man of antitheses.
Scholars of fantasy literature generally and of Tolkien particularly will find much of value in this insightful collection by a seasoned explorer of Tolkien’s world of faërie.
I'm looking forward to reading Verlyn Flieger's newest book on Tolkien, and yet I have to admit that even though I own most of her other Tolkien books, I have yet to actually read them! Anyway, this one is destined for both my Unread Tolkien books list, and my latest Tolkien collection post. Hopefully I'll be able to get around to reading it (and some of her other books) in the near future.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Lick of Frost - Laurell K. Hamilton

A Lick of Frost - Laurell K. HamiltonA Lick of Frost (Merry Gentry #6)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2008

The product description:
I am Meredith Gentry, princess and heir apparent to the throne in the realm of faerie, onetime private investigator in the mortal world. To be crowned queen, I must first continue the royal bloodline and give birth to an heir of my own. If I fail, my aunt, Queen Andais, will be free to do what she most desires: install her twisted son, Cel, as monarch . . . and kill me.

My royal guards surround me, and my best loved–my Darkness and my Killing Frost–are always beside me, sworn to protect and make love to me. But still the threat grows greater. For despite all my carnal efforts, I remain childless, while the machinations of my sinister, sadistic Queen and her confederates remain tireless. So my bodyguards and I have slipped back into Los Angeles, hoping to outrun the gathering shadows of court intrigue. But even exile isn’t enough to escape the grasp of those with dark designs.

Now King Taranis, powerful and vainglorious ruler of faerie’s Seelie Court, has leveled accusations against my noble guards of a heinous crime–and has gone so far as to ask the mortal authorities to prosecute. If he succeeds, my men face extradition to faerie and the hideous penalties that await them there. But I know that Taranis’s charges are baseless, and I sense that his true target is me. He tried to kill me when I was a child. Now I fear his intentions are far more terrifying.
Remember when I was commenting on the lack of resolution a couple of books ago? They were all building up to this one! And what a resolution! I couldn't put A Lick of Frost down for long. I just had to come back and read some more.

This time, because I'm back-to-back reading the series, I found that I didn't have the problems I did reading it last time (probably with a year or so gap from reading the previous book).

A Lick of Frost is the sixth book in the Merry Gentry series, following on Mistral's Kiss. The first book in this series was A Kiss of Shadows.

Some of the many plot threads were tied up in A Lick of Frost, but not all of them, and I can't wait to get into the next book to find out how things are going to play out next. Intercourt politics are definitely becoming a big issue for Merry and her guards, and we're seeing how it plays out in the human world. It was rather nice being back in the human world for this one, after a couple of books that were almost entirely set in Faerie.

I also really enjoyed getting some more hints at the impact an openly known of magical world has had on history. There have been quite a few references to fears of another Seelie/Unseelie war, and now I know why. Apparently, somewhere in Europe in that world there is still a massive crater left from the last one! Yikes!

Not suited for everyone, but by now, that should be clear about almost all of Laurell K. Hamilton's books as she tends to be both explicit and graphic at times. However, if that's not going to bother you, these are turning into great reads for the most part.

I know I felt that Mistral's Kiss was too short in my last review, but this one didn't feel that way at all. It's not as long as the first four books in the series, but A Lick of Frost was still longer than Mistral's Kiss by a little bit. I think the difference might have also been due to the amount going on in the book.

Definitely a read that I enjoyed, and I'm looking forward to starting the next book in the series, Swallowing Darkness.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Mistral's Kiss - Laurell K. Hamilton

Mistral's Kiss - Laurell K. HamiltonMistral's Kiss (Merry Gentry #5)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2006

The product description:
I am Princess Meredith, heir to a throne of faerie. My day job, once upon a time, was as a private detective in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, princess has now become a full-time occupation.

My aunt, Queen Andais, will have it no other way. And so I am virtually a prisoner in faerie–trapped here with some of the realm’s most beautiful men to serve as my bodyguards . . . and my lovers. For I am compelled to conceive a child: an heir to succeed me on the throne. Yet after months of amazing sex with my consorts, there is still no baby. And no baby means no throne. The only certainty is death at the hands of my cousin Cel, or his followers, if I fail to conceive.

Now Mistral, Queen Andais’s new captain of the guard, has come to my bed–defying her and risking her terrible wrath in doing so. But even she will hesitate to punish him in jealous rage, because our joining has reawakened old magic, mystical power so ancient that no one stands against it and survives. Not even my strongest and most favored: my Darkness and my Killing Frost. Not even Mistral himself, my Storm Lord. But because Mistral has helped to bring this magic forth, he may live another day.

If I can reclaim control of the fey power that once was, there may be hope for me and my reign in faerie. I might yet quell the dark schemes and subterfuges surrounding me. Though shadows of obsession and conspiracy gather, I may survive.
Mistral's Kiss is the sequel to A Stroke of Midnight and is the fifth book in the Merry Gentry series. This one I remember reading before, back when it first came out. However, I don't remember much about it from that time other than my annoyance at how short the book was. When all the previous books were at around 400 pages or more each, and this one finishes up in only 330 (according to Amazon), it's quite noticeable! I also remember it being a very quick read (in that I was able to finish reading it in a couple of times waiting at the bookstore).

This time, I was reading Mistral's Kiss on my Kobo - and yes, I still found the book to be much shorter than the previous books. That's actually one of my frustrations with a few series - consistent book lengths, then the author starts sneaking in novellas (at the same price as the regular books), either as shorter books with the same size font or what looks to be regular length books but padded with large line-spacing, font-size and margins. I don't know if it's just me that feels cheated when I get a book and it turns out to be much shorter than it originally looked, but I do.

As I noted in my post on A Stroke of Midnight, very little time actually passes within this book. In fact, I think it's still the same day that was the subject of the last book! On the other hand, we do see more of the goblins and the Sluagh, and we learn a bit more about how magic works in this world. Also, this was another book that kept me turning the pages until the last page of the book.

Again, I noted in the previous book the quantity of sex to be found in the latest Merry Gentry books. That is a theme that holds true in this one as well. On the other hand, anyone surprised at the amount of sex needs to take another look at the end goal for these books (or at least one of the end goals) - which is for Merry to be pregnant. The only way for that to happen is via intercourse. Still, it seems like the major subject of the last two books has been sex.

I've noted in previous reviews the way the open existence of something like Faerie can impact the world's history - and we get some more hints at that in Mistral's Kiss - something I found to be quite fascinating.

No vampires, werewolves or other werecreatures that I'm aware of in this world - just Faerie (in all it's variations) and human psychics/magicians. It's one of the things that makes the world of Merry Gentry quite unique in my reading experience. The other is how widely known/unhidden the world of magic is. One of the main plot-points I know of in most urban fantasy novels is the need for secrecy, if not for all of the supernatural/magical elements, at least for some of them in varying amounts.

Overall, I'm definitely enjoying reading this series. I just hope the books get longer again.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Stroke of Midnight - Laurell K. Hamilton

A Stroke of Midnight - Laurell K. HamiltonA Stroke of Midnight (Merry Gentry #4)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2006

The product description:
I am Meredith Gentry, P.I., solving cases in Los Angeles, far from the peril and deception of my real home–because I am also Princess Meredith, heir to the darkest throne faerie has to offer. The Unseelie Court infuses me with its power. But at what price does such magic come? How much of my human side will I have to give up, and how much of the sinister side of faerie will I have to embrace? To sit on a throne that has ruled through bloodshed and violence for centuries, I might have to become that which I dread the most.

Enemies watch my every move. My cousin Cel strives to have me killed even now from his prison cell. But not all the assassination attempts are his. Some Unseelie nobles have waited centuries for my aunt Andais, Queen of Air and Darkness, to become weak enough that she might be toppled from her throne. Enemies unforeseen move against us–enemies who would murder the least among us.

The threat will drive us to allow human police into faerie for the first time in our history. I need my allies now more than ever, especially since fate will lead me into the arm of Mistral, Master of Storms, the queen’s new captain of her guard. Our passion will reawaken powers long forgotten among the warriors of the sidhe. Pain and pleasure await me–and danger, as well, for some at that court seek only death.

I will find new joys with the butterfly-winged demi-fey. My guards and I will show all of faerie that violence and sex are as popular among the sidhe as they are among the lesser fey of our court. The Darkness will weep, and Frost will comfort him. The gentlest of my guards will find new strength and break my heart. Passions undreamed of await us–and my enemies gather, for the future of both courts of faerie begins to unravel.
Another book by Laurell K. Hamilton that I more or less raced through - at least when I was actively reading it. I did stop part-way through to finish reading The Crown companion volume and review it. Still, this series has me captivated right now (I don't think I've been reading books at this kind of speed for a few years now, though I can't say for sure).

A Stroke of Midnight is the sequel to Seduced By Moonlight, and the first book in the series is A Kiss of Shadows.

By this point in this series, I don't think it'll be spoilers to say that there is a lot of sex in this book - and a fair bit of violence too. The fact that a 400+ page book covers only a few days (at best, some estimates I've seen suggest that it's less than a day in real time), rather says something along those lines. Nonetheless, I couldn't stop turning the pages, although I do agree with some of the reviews I've seen elsewhere suggesting that the wrap-up of the book came along a bit too fast at the end, and didn't really resolve anything either. However, that opinion comes along only after reading the book. While I was reading A Stroke of Midnight I wasn't thinking about any of that at all. I just wanted to know "what happens next?".

These days it's pretty rare for me to read more than about two books in a series without taking a break to read another author or book in between. I'm on to book five now - with the only break being to finish the last third of an already in-progress book. For a series to hold me this long, I really have to say  "Bravo!" to the author!

I also want to note that while I'm reading this series, I'm also wanting to read more on the "real-world" legends of Faerie in our world, to get a feeling for the way legends, fairy-tales and myths take on the Seelie/Unseelie divide and faerie magic. I do know that the other author/series that's used the two courts in novels have had a very different take on them (That being the SERRAted edge series co-written by Mercedes Lackey). I find - and this is probably more of a personal thing for me - that when I see different authors displaying very different takes on the same topic, I often want to know more about the reality/source materials and what they show.  Yeah, I'm an amateur historian, and maybe that shows in this tendency of mine.

Despite the muttering I did earlier in the review, I want to repeat that A Stroke of Midnight kept me turning the pages, and I'm heading right into Mistral's Kiss next.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Crown: The Official Companion Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen

The Crown: The Official Companion Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen - Robert LaceyThe Crown: The Official Companion Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen
Robert Lacey
Crown Archetype
Copyright Date: October 2017

The product description:
The official companion to the Emmy-winning Netflix drama chronicling the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and starring Claire Foy and John Lithgow, The Crown by Peter Morgan, featuring additional historical background and beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills

Elizabeth Mountbatten never expected her father to die so suddenly, so young, leaving her with a throne to fill and a global institution to govern. Crowned at twenty-five, she was already a wife and mother as she began her journey towards becoming a queen.

As Britain lifted itself out of the shadow of war, the new monarch faced her own challenges. Her mother doubted her marriage; her uncle-in-exile derided her abilities; her husband resented the sacrifice of his career and family name; and her rebellious sister embarked on a love affair that threatened the centuries-old links between the Church and the Crown. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of resolve to ensure that the Crown always came out on top.

Written by the show’s historical consultant, royal biographer Robert Lacey, and filled with beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills, The Crown: The Official Companion: Volume 1 adds expert and in-depth detail to the events of the series, painting an intimate portrait of life inside Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. Here is Elizabeth II as we’ve never seen her before.
This was a captivating book! That's honestly my gut reaction on turning the last page. It pairs with the series very well, being structured around the episodes of season one. Essentially, Robert Lacey has laid out the real events that formed each episode, giving more details and background information - including where the show-writers have chosen to make things up or condense them to a noticeable level.

There are a mixture of photos from the show and also the real archival photos of the Queen's life included in the book - in fact, that's where my only real grumble comes in with this book - the lack of captions on a lot of the inline photos in the text. That's something that I don't care for in a lot of books, the lack of captioning. Still, this book is definitely lavishly illustrated with many inline photos and also two sections of color photos on glossy pages.

Another helpful feature included in The Crown book are the numerous one and two page biographies of the secondary characters we see in the show - including who the actor/actress playing them was. Yes, of course the main focus of the book is Queen Elizabeth, but still, for those of us too young to remember the events Seasons One and Two are based around, this is a very helpful thing - especially when it comes to the various politicians in the show. I know I found myself scratching my head more than a few times on watching, going "who is this?" with some of the secondary politicians - Churchill, was of course, quite evident and I think John Lithgow did an amazing job portraying him - one of my favorites from Season One!

Well written, and not bogged down in the details at all, though there was plenty of detail - after all, this book only covers the first eight years of Queen Elizabeth's reign, I'm looking forward to whatever the author puts out to go with Season Two (which was outstanding to watch as well).

By the way, for those people not subscribed to Netflix, The Crown is now available on DVD/Blu-Ray, and it is very, very worth watching (really for me it was the only reason we subscribed to Netflix two years ago). Also available are the first two season soundtracks (I'm listening to Season One now and loving it a lot). I will admit to being a sucker for most of Hans Zimmer's music and he did the theme for The Crown - and I suspect had influence on the rest of the soundtrack, as there are parts of it that remind me of the music from The Last Samurai.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Seduced By Moonlight - Laurell K. Hamilton

Seduced By Moonlight - Laurell K. HamiltonSeduced By Moonlight (Merry Gentry #3)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2004

The product description:
 I am Meredith Gentry, P.I. and Princess Merry, heir to the throne of Fairie.
Now there are those among me who whisper I am more.
They fear me even as they protect me. And who can blame them?
I’ve awakened the dazzling magic that’s slumbered in them for
thousands of years. But the thing is, I can’t figure out why.

My aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, is no longer distracted by her usual sadistic hobbies. Her obsession has turned unwaveringly to me. The mission to get me pregnant and beat my cousin Prince Cel to the crown is taking longer than expected. Even though I spend each night with the Queen’s Ravens, my immortal guards, no child has come of our decadent pleasures. But something else is happening. My magic courses through me uncontrollably. And as I lock my half-mortal body with their full-Sidhe blooded ones, the power surges like never before.

It all began with the chalice. I dreamed of it, and it appeared, cool and hard, beside me when I awoke. My guards know the ancient relic well—its disappearance ages ago stripped them of their vital powers. But it is here with us now. My touch resonates with its force, and they’re consumed with it, their Sidhe essences lit up by it. But even as they cherish me for this unexpected gift, there are those who loathe me for it. Me, a mongrel, only half fey and part mortal. The Unseelie court has suffered for so long, and there are some who would not have it weakened further by an impure queen. My enemies grow in number every day. But they do not know what I am capable of. Nor, for that matter, do I. . . .

In Seduced by Moonlight, Laurell K. Hamilton brings the dark, erotic reign of the immortal fey to a startling new depth. Full of sensuality and the consuming anticipation of latent powers unleashed, this world of gods, shapeshifters, and immortal souls is unveiled in all of its supreme magnificence and its treacherous deceits. 
Remember back when I reviewed A Kiss of Shadows, the first book in this series and I noted the lack of violence compared with the Anita Blake books? Forget I said that. Forget I even thought it. I'm shaking my head at myself on that one after reading Seduced By Moonlight.

At any rate, Seduced By Moonlight, the third book in the Merry Gentry series, following on A Caress of Twilight was another "couldn't put it down" book - up to the point where I was forced to by the need to recharge my Kobo. Then it was right back into the read.

This book has very little to do with the "real" world as it were, being much more focused on the politics of the Seelie and Unseelie courts and also on the interpersonal relationships centering around Merry. And believe me, that is enough to keep the book going and fascinating! However, I'd say this series might not be for everyone. There are quite a few points where it gets pretty graphic - both sexually and in terms of violence. By this point though, that shouldn't be much of a surprise to fans of Laurell K. Hamilton's writing.

As I said, this book is quite focused on the interpersonal relationships and politics of the Faerie courts. On top of that though, there's other things and powers at work. Merry doesn't have a clue what's going on and neither do her guards - or us for that matter. That was one of the aspects of the book that really gripped me on this read through - watching the lot of them coping with the unexpected.

Lots of questions left for the next book too (A Stroke of Midnight). I really want to get into reading that one, but at the same time I'm kind of feeling like I should go back to some of the other books I've got on the go, so no idea of what I'm going to be reading next.

One thing I found really neat at the end of Seduced by Moonlight - this one may just be me and my love of research though - is that Laurell K. Hamilton has included a list of the books she's used in researching the Merry Gentry series. Given that I'm currently hunting (or trying to) down material on British mythological creatures and beings for an idea/project of my own, I'm very happy to see this right now. The next thing on my to-do list is going to be googling the various titles and finding more information on some of those books. Thanks!

Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to see in a novel (esp. historical fiction) is a listing of research sources when appropriate. All too often for me, reading a novel with a basis in fact (or mythology as in this case), I get quite curious about the reality of the situation - such as it is. Seeing what the author has used for source material can be quite intriguing.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Caress of Twilight - Laurell K. Hamilton

A Caress of Twilight - Laurell K. HamiltonA Caress of Twilight (Merry Gentry #2)
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2003

The product description:
“I am Princess Meredith, heir to a throne—if I can stay alive long enough to claim it.” After eluding relentless assassination attempts by Prince Cel, her cousin and rival for the Faerie crown, Meredith Gentry, Los Angeles private eye, has a whole new set of problems. To become queen, she must bear a child before Cel can father one of his own. But havoc lies on the horizon: people are dying in mysterious, frightening ways, and suddenly the very existence of the place known as Faerie is at grave risk. So now, while she enjoys the greatest pleasures of her life attempting to conceive a baby with the warriors of her royal guard, she must fend off an ancient evil that could destroy the very fabric of reality. And that’s just her day job. . . .
After finishing my read-through of A Kiss of Shadows the other day, I rolled right into A Caress of Twilight, ending up finishing this one in just over a day as well. Currently I'm well into the third book in the series, Seduced By Moonlight, with books four through seven waiting on my Kobo.

On this one I found myself comparing main characters - mostly Merry Gentry - to the lead characters in some other urban fantasy novels I've been reading lately: the Anita Blake books, Mercy Thompson from Patricia Brigg's books and to some of the female leads I remember from a few different paranormal romance novels. Of course, the one she's the most like is Anita Blake - it makes a lot of sense as both characters are written by the same author. And yet, in some ways the world Merry Gentry lives in feels closer to that of the Mercy Thompson books than the world Anita Blake lives in - probably the wider presence of the Faerie world.

The other things I kept thinking about as I was reading A Caress of Twilight were about how much the need for secrecy can change the story-plots. In most urban fantasy novels/series the supernatural is either completely secret or sometimes partly known about, but public knowledge is still a newer thing. The Merry Gentry novels are really the first series I've seen where it seems that the supernatural side of the story has been publicly known about from the distant past, and it's interesting how that knowledge changes the whole fabric of the story. Trust/distrust, politics (current and past) along with treaties, again current and past all shape the world the characters move through. However, much of the human politics is at a very very background level. Most of the politicking going on in these books - at least in these first ones - is inter-fey, and the lengths they'll go to can be quite shocking.

I'm also enjoying watching Merry figure things out about herself, her past, those around her and her ever-varying relationships - something I've grown rather used to from Laurell K. Hamilton is the variety of relationships her characters engage in - and what they're willing to do at need. However, I suspect that this aspect of her books is not for everybody.

Definitely though, I recommend reading A Kiss of Shadows before reading A Caress of Twilight or any of the later books in this series - the background knowledge is more or less a requirement.

Any book I've bought more than once has to be at the very least a decent read - and this is my second purchase of A Caress of Twilight. I last read it back when the book first came out. Long enough ago now that the read was almost as though I'd never read it before.

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Kiss of Shadows - Laurell K. Hamilton

Well, the first book read and reviewed in 2018 is not one I would have expected. I'd have thought the first book might have been either David Weber's The Honor of the Queen or the companion book to The Crown.

A Kiss of Shadows (Merry Gentry 1) - Laurell K. HamiltonA Kiss of Shadows
Laurell K. Hamilton
Ballantine Books
Copyright: 2002

The product description:
Meet Merry Gentry, paranormal P.I., and enter a thrilling, sensual world as dangerous as it is beautiful, full of earthly pleasures and dazzling magic, and ruled by the all-consuming passions of immortal beings once worshipped as gods . . . or demons.

Merry Gentry, princess of the high court of Faerie, is posing as a human in Los Angeles, working as a private investigator specializing in supernatural crime. But now the queen’s assassin has been dispatched to fetch her—whether she likes it or not. Suddenly Merry finds herself a pawn in her dreaded aunt’s plans. The job that awaits her: enjoy the constant company of the most beautiful immortal men in the world. The reward: the crown—and the opportunity to continue to live. The penalty for failure: death. 
I know I read this back when it first came out. I can't say if I ever reread it. It's definitely been a while though - there's no review for a previous read here. It's also been long enough that while I remembered the occasional scene from the book, I couldn't remember any of the story beyond the very broadest of strokes. At any rate, I got the itch to reread and bought the first two books in the series (A Kiss of Shadows and A Caress of Twilight) from Kobo a couple of days ago. I started reading yesterday and finished the last twenty pages or so today. In other words, I couldn't put the book down for long at all.

It's not as important with e-books but I remember the original cover, red and black, and I distinctly prefer it to the new cover shown here. It was a cover less likely to raise eyebrows and garner comments from those around I think (part of the reason I've gone e-book for Laurell K. Hamilton's books this time).

On this read I found myself comparing the world that Laurell K. Hamilton has created with the similar(ish) world created for the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Very similar, and yet very different. Both start from a similar mythological base but they take the worlds in such different directions. I do think that if you like the one you'll like the other however.

I'm definitely enjoying the window into a world generally viewed as the "bad guys" and "evil" in a lot of other books (Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge series comes to mind). A world where they're not entirely good, but not all evil, just trying to live as anyone else would be.

The one thing about this series (which is also true of the Anita Blake books by the same author) which might not be to everyone's tastes is that the books are very frank about  sex and relationships. Or maybe it's just me that found that a bit shocking the first time I read the series. On the other hand, at least with the first book there weren't quite as many "vivid/gruesome" scenes as I noted in my review of Guilty Pleasures (from the Anita Blake world).

Either way, I really enjoyed the read this time. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I more or less read a book in one day like that. I think it's been a while though, at least based on the last couple of years worth of reviews I've posted here. More often I've been having trouble finishing books - or if I do finish them, it's been after such long breaks that I've forgotten the first half of the story.

Laurell K. Hamilton has created an interesting world to go along with Meredeth Gentry, one where we've only just scraped the surface and there are depths yet to be discovered, both in the characters and the world they inhabit.

Almost immediately on finishing A Kiss of Shadows I've rolled into A Caress of Twilight, and also bought the third book in the series, Seduced by Moonlight. Definitely enjoying the re-reads.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

More new Tolkien books I've discovered!

Just what my poor budget needed - New Tolkien books (or at least new-to-me) to dream about buying. Yes, I've found a couple more books I'd love to add to my collection. First off is the newer of the two books:

I hadn't known that Verlyn Flieger was publishing another collection of her essays on Tolkien last month, but what a nice surprise!

There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays On Tolkien - Verlyn FliegerThere Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays On Tolkien
Verlyn Flieger
Kent State University Press
Copyright Date: December 2017

The product description:
Devoted to Tolkien, the teller of tales and co-creator of the myths they brush against, these essays focus on his lifelong interest in and engagement with fairy stories, the special world that he called faërie, a world they both create and inhabit, and with the elements that make that world the special place it is. They cover a range of subjects, from The Hobbit to The Lord of the Rings and their place within the legendarium he called the Silmarillion to shorter works like “The Story of Kullervo” and “Smith of Wootton Major.”
From the pen of eminent Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger, the individual essays in this collection were written over a span of twenty years, each written to fit the parameters of a conference, an anthology, or both. They are revised slightly from their original versions to eliminate repetition and bring them up to date. Grouped loosely by theme, they present an unpatterned mosaic, depicting topics from myth to truth, from social manners to moral behavior, from textual history to the micro particles of Middle-earth.
Together these essays present a complete picture of a man as complicated as the books that bear his name―an independent and unorthodox thinker who was both a believer and a doubter able to maintain conflicting ideas in tension, a teller of tales both romantic and bitter, hopeful and pessimistic, in equal parts tragic and comedic. A man whose work does not seek for right or wrong answers so much as a way to accommodate both; a man of antitheses.
Scholars of fantasy literature generally and of Tolkien particularly will find much of value in this insightful collection by a seasoned explorer of Tolkien’s world of faërie.
Verlyn Flieger has been a noted name in Tolkien scholarship for quite a few years now, having edited a number of editions of Tolkien's shorter works including On Fairy Stories, Smith of Wootton Major and The Story of Kullervo, as well as publishing quite a selection of books on Tolkien and his writings, including Splintered Light, Green Suns and Faerie, and Interrupted Music, most of which I have to admit I have yet to read (although all of the books listed here are in my collection).

The other book is the expensive one - but one I'd love to have nonetheless:

A Companion to J.R.R. TolkienA Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien
Ed. Stuart D. Lee
Copyright: 2014

The product description:
This is a complete resource for scholars and students of Tolkien, as well as avid fans, with coverage of his life, work, dominant themes, influences, and the critical reaction to his writing.
  • An in-depth examination of Tolkien’s entire work by a cadre of top scholars
  • Provides up-to-date discussion and analysis of Tolkien’s scholarly and literary works, including his latest posthumous book, The Fall of Arthur, as well as addressing contemporary adaptations, including the new Hobbit films
  • Investigates various themes across his body of work, such as mythmaking, medieval languages, nature, war, religion, and the defeat of evil
  • Discusses the impact of his work on art, film, music, gaming, and subsequent generations of fantasy writers
Looking through the table of contents on this one is like going through a "who's who" of Tolkien scholarship. There are chapters by John Garth, Tom Shippey, John Rateliff, Verlyn Flieger, Mark Atherton, and Dimitra Fimi among many others.

I think I'm going to class this one as "expensive, but worth the cost - eventually".

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Unread Tolkien Books - 2018

I'm a Tolkien collector - see the various Tolkien lists I have on my blog (here, here and here), but I've ended up buying the books faster than I can read them. There are unreviewed books on those lists that I have read, although they were read before I started All Booked Up.

 Unread Books 2018 - Tolkien List:

  1. Hobbitus Ille - J.R.R. Tolkien - Fiction
  2. The Annotated Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien - Fiction
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien: A Reader's Guide - Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - Non Fiction
  4. The History Of The Hobbit: Mr. Baggins - John Rateliff - Non Fiction
  5. The History Of The Hobbit: Return To Bag-End - John Rateliff - Non Fiction
  6.  Tolkien: A Celebration - Joseph Pearce - Non Fiction
  7. The Battle For Middle-Earth - Bonnie Rutledge - Non Fiction
  8. The Ring Of Words - Jeremy H. Marshall - Non Fiction
  9. The Children of Hurin - J.R.R. Tolkien - Fiction
  10. On Faerie Stories - Ed. Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  11. The Tolkien Legendarium - Ed. Carl Hostetter - Non Fiction
  12. Splintered Light: Logos And Language In Middle-Earth - Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  13. Green Suns and Faerie - Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  14. The Fall of Arthur - Ed. Christopher Tolkien - Poetry
  15. Beowulf - Ed. Christopher Tolkien - Fiction
  16. The Art of The Hobbit - Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - Non Fiction
  17. Interrupted Music: The Making Of Middle-Earth - Verilyn Flieger - Non Fiction
  18. Master of Middle Earth - Paul Koch - Non Fiction
  19. A Look Behind The Lord of the Rings - Lin Carter - Non Fiction
  20. A Tolkien Compass - Jared Lobdel - Non Fiction
  21. J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century - Tom Shippey - Non Fiction
  22. The Gospel According To Tolkien - Ralph Woods - Non Fiction
  23. There And Back Again: J.R.R. Tolkien And The Origins of The Hobbit - Mark Atherton - Non Fiction
  24. Tolkien: A Celebration - Joseph Pearce - Non Fiction 
  25. The Story of Kullervo - Ed. Christopher Tolkien
  26. The Art of the Lord of the Rings - Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull - Non Fiction 
  27. Tolkien - Raymond Edwards - Non Fiction
  28. The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun - J.R.R. Tolkien - Ed. Verlyn Flieger - Fiction (Poetry) 
  29. The Song of Middle-Earth: J.R.R. Tolkien's Themes, Symbols and Myths - David Harvey - Non Fiction 
  30. J. R. R. Tolkien: A Secret Vice - Tolkien on Invented Languages - Eds. Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins 
  31. The Oxford Inklings: Lewis, Tolkien and Their Circle - Colin Duriez - Non Fiction, Biography
  32. Tolkien, Race and Cultural History: From Fairies To Hobbits - Dimitra Fimi - Non Fiction 
  33. There Would Always Be A Fairy Tale: More Essays on Tolkien - Verlyn Flieger - Non Fiction

Non Fiction Unread Books of 2018

My Unread Books List 2018 - Non Fiction:

  1. Women In Medieval Society - Ed. Susan Mosher Stuard (History)
  2. The Lady In Medieval England 1000-1500 - Peter Coss (History)
  3. The History of the World in 100 Objects - Neil MacGregor (History)
  4. The Zero Mile Diet: A Year Round Guide To Growing Organic Food - Carolyn Herriot (Gardening)
  5.  The Crusader States - Malcolm Barber (History)
  6. Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades - Johnathan Phillips (History)
  7. Alexander The Great - Philip Freeman (History, Biography)
  8. The Rise And Fall of Ancient Egypt - Toby Wilkinson (History)
  9. The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History - James J. O'Donnell (History)
  10. Atlas of Medieval Europe (History)
  11. The Axe and the Oath - Robert Fossier (History)
  12. A Short History of the Middle Ages - Barbara Rosenwein (History)
  13. The Grand Design - Steven Hawking 
  14. The Last Apocalypse - James Reston Jr. (History)
  15. Medieval Households - David Herlihy (History)
  16. Special Sisters: Women In The European Middle Ages - Arthur Fredrick Ide (History)
  17. Medieval Costume And Fashion - Herbert Norris (History)
  18. Sex, Dissidence And Damnation: Minority Groups In The Middle Ages - Jeffrey Richards (History)
  19. Daily Living In The Twelfth Century (History)
  20. Cathedral, Forge And Waterwheel - Francis And Joseph Gies (History)
  21. Medicine And Society In Later Medieval England - Caroline Rawcliffe (History)
  22. Londinium - John Morris (History)
  23. The Archaeology Of Roman Britain - R. G. Collingwood (History)
  24. Londinium - John Morris (History)
  25. The Archaeology Of Roman Britain - R. G. Collingwood (History)
  26. Women in Early Medieval Europe 400-1100 - Lisa M. Bitel (History)
  27. An Illustrated History of its First 12000 Years: Toronto edited by Ronald F. Williamson (History)
  28. Becoming Modern In Toronto: The Industrial Exhibition - Keith Walden (History)
  29. The Complete World Of The Dead Sea Scrolls - Phillip R. Davies, George J. Brooke and Phillip R. Callaway (History)
  30. Dictionary Of Mythology
  31. Hadrian - Anthony Everitt (Biography)
  32. The Inheritance Of Rome - Chris Wickham (History)
  33. The Ties That Bound - Barbara Hanawalt (History)
  34. Making A Living In The Middle Ages - Christopher Dyer (History)
  35. The Art Of Medieval Hunting - John Cummins (History)
  36. Eleanor Of Aquitaine - Alison Weir (Biography)
  37. Growing Up In Medieval London - Barbara Hanawalt (History)
  38. The Lost Capital Of Byzantium - Steven Runciman (History)
  39.  Readings In Medieval History - Patrick Geary (History)
  40.  The Real Middle Earth - Brian Bates  (History)
  41. Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada - James Delgado (History)
  42. The Medieval World - Eds. Peter Linehan & Janet L. Nelson (History)
  43. Europe And The Middle Ages - Edward Peters (History)
  44. The Age of the Cathedrals - Georges Duby (History)
  45. A History Of Private Life I (History)
  46. A History Of Private Life II (History)
  47. The Peasantries Of Europe - Ed. Tom Scott (History)
  48. Law And Life of Rome - J. A. Crook (History)
  49. The Temple And the Lodge - Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
  50. The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception - Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
  51. The Battle Of Salamis - Barry Strauss (History)
  52. The Knights Templar - Piers Paul Read - Non Fiction (History)
  53. The Lost Tomb Of Alexander The Great - Andrew Michael Chugg (History)
  54. Rome And Jerusalem - Martin Goodman (History)
  55. The History of Britain - Simon Schama (History)
  56. Caesar - Adrian Goldworthy (History, Biography)
  57. The Fall Of The Roman Empire - Peter Heather (History)
  58. Xenophon's Retreat - Robin Waterfield (History)
  59. Isabella - Alison Weir (History, Biography)
  60. An Imperial Possession - David Mattingly (History)
  61. The Peloponnesian War - Donald Kagan (History)
  62. Augustus: The Life Of Rome's First Emperor - Anthony Everitt (History, Biography)
  63. Cicero - Anthony Everitt (History, Biography)
  64. God's War - Christopher Tyerman (History)
  65. Life In A Medieval City - Francis and Joseph Gies (History)
  66. Life In A Medieval Castle - Francis and Joseph Gies (History)
  67.  Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson (Biography)
  68. Armies Of Heaven - Jay Rubenstein (History)
  69. Sea of Faith - Stepehen O'Shea (History)
  70. Beyond Book Indexing - Ed. Dianne Brenner and Marilyn Rowland (Indexing)
  71. The Medieval World Europe 1100-1350 - Friedrich Heer (History)
  72. The City in the Greek and Roman World - E.J. Owens (History)
  73. The Greek World After Alexander 323-30 B.C. - Graham Shipley (History)
  74. A Great And Terrible King: Edward I And The Forging Of Britain - Mark Morris (History, Biography)
  75. Cleopatra - Stacy Schiff (Biography, E-book, History)
  76. Antony and Cleopatra - Adrian Goldsworthy (Biography, History)
  77. Cleopatra A Biography - Duane W. Roller (History, Biography)
  78. Cleopatra the Great The Woman Behind The Legend - Joann Fletcher (History, Biography)
  79. Cleopatra The Search For The Last Queen Of Egypt - Zahi Hawass and Franck Goddio (History, Archaeology, Biography)
  80. Cruelty and Civilization: The Roman Games - Roland Auguet (History)
  81. Nova Scotia Shaped By The Sea - Lesley Choyce (History)
  82. Ancient Cities - Charles Gates (History, Archaeology)
  83. Getting In TTouch With Your Horse - Linda Tellington-Jones (Animals)
  84. Greek Art and Archaeology - John Griffiths Pedley (History, Archaeology, Art)
  85. Roman Art - Nancy H. Ramage and Andrew Ramage (History, Art, Archaeology)
  86. Fighting For The Cross - Norman Housley (History)
  87. The Middle Ages: Everyday Life In Medieval Europe - Jeffrey L. Singman (History)
  88. A Medieval Miscelany - Judith Herrin (History)
  89. Gothic Art: Glorious Visions - Michael Camille (History, Art)
  90. Early Medieval Art - Lawrence Nees (History, Art)
  91. Great Harry's Navy - Geoffrey Moorhouse (History)
  92. Ghost On The Throne - James Romm (History)
  93. Blueprint Crochet Sweaters - Robyn Chachula (Crochet)
  94. Elizabeth The Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch - Sally Bedell Smith (Biography) 
  95. Dr. Radcliffe's Library: The Story of The Radcliffe Camera in Oxford - Stephen Hebron (History)
  96. The Material Culture of Daily Living in the Anglo-Saxon World - Ed. Maren Clegg Hyer and Gale R. Owen-Crocker (History, Archaeology)
  97. The Real Jane Austen: A Life In Small Things - Paula Byrne (Biography)
  98. The Iron Ship: The Story of Brunel's ss Great Britain - Ewan Corlett (History)
  99. Monastic Life in Anglo-Saxon England c. 600-900 - Sarah Foot (History)
  100. Women, Crusading And The Holy Land in Historical Narrative - Natasha R. Hodgson (History) 
  101. How To Plan A Crusade - Christopher Tyerman (History)
  102. The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen - Robert Lacey (History, Biography)
  103. The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender In Medieval Europe - Ed. Judith Bennett and Ruth Mazo Karras (History)  
  104. Victoria The Queen - Julia Baird (History, Biography) 
  105. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World - Peter Frankopan (History)

Unread Primary Sources - 2018

Unread Books 2017 - Primary Sources List:

  1. The Histories - Herodotus - Non Fiction (History)
  2. The Peloponnesian War - Thucydides - Non Fiction (History)
  3. Greek Lives - Plutarch - Non Fiction (History, Biography)
  4. Roman Lives - Plutarch - Non Fiction (History, Biography)
  5. Beowulf - Trans. Seamus Heany - Poetry
  6. Anthony And Cleopatra - Shakespeare - Fiction
  7. Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare - Fiction
  8. Richard III - Shakespeare - Fiction
  9. The Comedy Of Errors - Shakespeare - Fiction
  10. All's Well That Ends Well - Shakespeare - Fiction
  11. Troilus And Cressida - Shakespeare - Fiction
  12. Henry IV Part One - Shakespeare - Fiction
  13. The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer - Poetry
  14. The Saga of Grettir The Strong - Fiction
  15. The Conquest Of Gaul - Julius Caesar - Non Fiction (History)
  16. Metamorphosis - Ovid - Poetry
  17. Greek Lyric Poetry - Trans. Sherod Santos - Poetry
  18. On Sparta - Plutarch - Non Fiction (History)
  19. A History Of My Times - Xenophon - Non Fiction (History)
  20.  Roman Poets Of The Early Empire - Poetry
  21. Troilus And Criseyde - Geoffrey Chaucer - Poetry
  22. Medieval English Prose For Women - Eds. Bella Millett & Jocelyn Wogan-Browne - Non Fiction 
  23. Josephus - Non Fiction (History)
  24. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English - Non Fiction
  25. The Life Of Christina Of Markayte - Trans. C. H. Talbot - Non Fiction
  26. Lysistrata/The Clouds  - Aristophanes - Fiction (History, Play)
  27. Pausanias Guide to Greece Volume One Translated by Peter Levy - Non Fiction (History) 
  28. The Landmark Arrian - Non Fiction (History)
  29. The Crusades A Reader - Ed. S. J. Allen and Emilie Amt - Non Fiction (History)
  30. Women's Writing In Middle English - Ed. Alexandra Barratt - Non Fiction (History)
  31. The Landmark Hellenika - Ed. Robert Strassler - Non Fiction (History)
  32. Chronicles of the First Crusade - Ed. Christopher Tyerman - Non Fiction (History)
  33. Everyman And Medieval Miracle Plays - Ed. A. C. Crawley - Non Fiction
  34. Juvenal The Sixteen Satires - Trans. Peter Green - Poetry
  35. Aeschylus II - Play
  36. Euripides I - Play
  37. Sophocles II - Play
  38. Reading The Middle Ages - Ed. Barbara Rosenwein - Non Fiction (History)
  39. The Song of Roland - Poetry
  40. Rome And Italy - Livy - Non Fiction (History)
  41. The Early History of Rome - Livy - Non Fiction (History)
  42. Odes and Epodes - Horace - Poetry
  43. Joinville And Villehardouin Chronicles of the First Crusade - Non Fiction (History)
  44. The Book Of Contemplation: Islam and the Crusades - Usama Ibn Munqidh - Non Fiction (History)
  45. The Book of Margery Kempe - Non Fiction (Autobiography)
  46. Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management - Non Fiction (Cooking)

Unread Fiction Books - 2018

My Unread Fiction Books 2018:

  1. Star Wars: X-Wing Omnibus 3 - Michael Stackpole (Graphic Novel)
  2. A Flame In Hali - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Fantasy)
  3. The Fall of Neskaya - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Fantasy)
  4. Zandru's Forge - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Science Fiction)
  5. Masters of Fantasy (Anthology)
  6. Sword and Sorceress XV - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  7. Sword and Sorceress XIV - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  8. Sword and Sorceress X - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  9. Sword and Sorceress VI - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  10. Sword and Sorceress IX - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  11.  Rocket Ship Galileo - Robert Heinlein (Science Fiction)
  12. Falls The Shadow - Sharon Kay Penman (History)
  13. The Reckoning - Sharon Kay Penman (History)
  14. Sword and Sorceress I - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradey (Anthology)
  15. Sword and Sorceress V - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  16. Sword and Sorceress VII - Ed. Marion Zimmer Bradley (Anthology)
  17. Against The Odds - Elizabeth Moon (Science Fiction)
  18. Alexandria - Nick Bantock 
  19. Morningstar - Nick Bantock 
  20. Gryphon - Nick Bantock 
  21. Lord of the Two Lands - Judith Tarr (Fantasy)
  22. Variable Star - Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson (Science Fiction)
  23. Zoe's Tale - John Scalzi (Science Fiction)
  24. The Forgetting Room - Nick Bantock 
  25. The Venetian's Wife - Nick Bantock 
  26. The Museum At Purgatory - Nick Bantock
  27. Shadow Of The Swords - Kamran Pasha 
  28. The Forest Laird - Jack Whyte (Historical Fiction)
  29. American Vampire - Scott Snyder, Steven King (Graphic Novel)
  30. A Game Of Thrones - George R. R. Martin (Fantasy, e-book)
  31. Queen By Right - Anne Easter Smith (Historical Fiction)
  32. Dreams of Joy - Lisa See (Historical Fiction)
  33. Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire (Fantasy)
  34. By Fire By Water - Mitchell James Kaplan (History)
  35. Heaven To Wudang - Kylie Chan (Fantasy)
  36. Stalking Darkness - Lynn Flewelling (Fantasy)
  37. Traitor's Moon - Lynn Flewelling (Fantasy)
  38. The Empire At War Vol 1  (Graphic Novel, Science Fiction)
  39. The Empire At War Vol 2 (Graphic Novel, Science Fiction)
  40.  The X Factor - Andre Norton (Science Fiction)
  41. Star Gate - Andre Norton (Science Fiction)
  42. Stargate SG1 Do No Harm - Karen Miller (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  43. Stargate SG1 Relativity - James Swallow (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  44. Stargate SG1 The Morpheus Factor - Ashley McConnell (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  45. Stargate SG1 The Cost of Honor - Sally Malcom (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  46. Stargate SG1 A Matter of Honor - Sally Malcolm (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  47. Stargate SG1 Roswell - Sonny Whitelaw and Jennifer Fallon (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction)
  48. Stargate SG1 Alliances - Karen Miller (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction
  49. Masks of the Outcasts - Andre Norton (Science Fiction)
  50. Stargate SG1 The Price You Pay - Ashley McConnell (TV Tie-in, Science Fiction) 
  51. The Renegade - Jack Whyte (Historical Fiction)
  52. The Guardian - Jack Whyte (Historical Fiction)
  53. Written In My Own Heart's Blood - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  54. An Echo In The Bone - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  55. A Breath Of Snow And Ashes - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  56. In The Shadow Of The Banyan Tree - Vaddey Ratner
  57. The Light Between The Oceans - M. L. Stedman
  58. The Third Gate - Lincoln Child 
  59. Equal Of The Sun - Anita Amirrezvani (Historical Fiction)
  60. The Lake Of Dreams - Kim Edwards 
  61. The Forest - Edward Rutherfurd (Historical Fiction) 
  62. The Second Empress - Michelle Moran (Historical Fiction) 
  63. The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill (Historical Fiction)  
  64. Tempest: All New Tales of Valdemar - Mercedes Lackey (Fantasy) 
  65. Cold Welcome (Vatta's Peace) - Elizabeth Moon (Science Fiction) 
  66. Written In My Own Heart's Blood - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
  67. Seven Stones To Stand Or Fall - Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction) 
  68. The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane - Lisa See  
  69. A Bear Called Paddington - Michael Bond 
  70. Pathways: All New Tales of Valdemar - Mercedes Lackey (Fantasy) 
  71. Shifting Shadows: Stories from the World Of Mercy Thompson - Patricia Briggs (Fantasy) 
  72. Thunderlord - Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (Fantasy)
  73. Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs (Fantasy, Urban Fantasy)
  74. The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin (Science Fiction) 
  75. The Disposessed - Ursula K. Le Guin (Science Fiction)
  76. A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin (Fantasy)
  77. Into The Fire - Elizabeth Moon (Science Fiction) 
  78. The Emperor's Agent - Jo Graham (Fantasy, Historical Fiction)


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