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ctboeheim

ctboeheim

Joined July 2018

SF Author: https://amazon.com/author/chuckboeheim || Newsletter and reviews of SF & Fantasy books: https://lamp.works
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ctboeheim
Red Thunder | John Varley
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In this homage to Robert A Heinlein, four teenagers and a washed up astronaut build a homemade spaceship to make the trip to Mars. This will be a delight for any Heinlein fans and just for anyone who likes a classic sci-fi tale.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B08CZJFQ81

TheSpineView Love classic Sci-Fi. Stacked📚 4mo
7 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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ctboeheim
What Moves the Dead | T. Kingfisher
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A retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher with interestingly quirky characters and a plausible scientific reason for the decay of the house and family. Also: mad hares!

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B09FHGRWQ4

12 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
Nettle & Bone | T. Kingfisher
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A quirky, wry fairy tale from T. Kingfisher. My favorite book of the year so far.

Full review https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B08QGL9BZD

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ctboeheim
Harmony Lost | Stella Jorette
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The writing reflects the raw, chaotic London music scene and the cultural turmoil of that era, even though it's not quite our 1969 either. The caricatures of British bands and their denizens are good fun, and their antics are appropriately madcap. Overall, a very enjoyable read.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B0854B45J6
#scifi #timetravel

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ctboeheim
Homebody: A Novel | Orson Scott Card
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Don Lark buys houses, renovates them, and resells them at a profit, and the parallels with his life journey are not lost on him. His latest project comes with very sweet but odd neighbors who warn him about the house, and a squatter living in the attic. But then it seems that the house itself wants to object to his renovation plans...

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B00B72CFN0
#fantasy #occult

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ctboeheim
A Desolation Called Peace | Arkady Martine
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In book two of the Teixcalaan saga, Ambassador Dzmare of Lsel and Three Seagrass of Teixcalaan are summoned to attempt the impossible task of negotiating with an enemy that doesn't talk. Existential threats don't stop the eternal jockeying for power at home and in the fleet. Only someone with nothing left to lose can make the right choices.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B07QPJHNSM
#sciencefiction #LGBTQ

Zoes_Human Absolutely loved this, and the sequel is just as good! 8mo
10 likes1 comment
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ctboeheim
Memory Called Empire | Arkady Martine
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An inexperienced ambassador from a backwater station is posted to the glittering seat of Teixcalaan. Political intrigue, a potential friend in a court that considers her, at best, a barbarian, and the unreliable voice of the past ambassador in her head. She may have even been set up to fail by her own people. A story of identity on many levels: personal, cultural, and political.

Full review at https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B07C7BCB88
#sciencefiction

8 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
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A man surfaces in a London mental hospital, confused and disoriented. His doctor encourages him to write down his memories to aid his recovery. But the tale he writes, of being an MI6 agent in an England that signed a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, doesn't match the world outside the asylum.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B07ZH5P84C
#scifi #alternatehistory

6 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
Isolate | L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
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This novel is set in a gaslamp fantasy world that has transitioned from the feudal age to the steam age, and a unique political system that has become unbalanced by that transition after a millennium of stability. The book starts with a political assassination attempt via an Empath and builds to an all-out clandestine war to shift the balance of power, or stop it at any cost.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B08QGMY3X8

#gaslamp #fantasy

wanderinglynn That sounds intriguing. 9mo
7 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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ctboeheim
Prosper's Demon | K.J. Parker
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The unnamed (and probably untrustworthy) narrator has a calling. He can see and speak to demons, and he can cast them from a person they've possessed. He finds an old enemy possessing a member of a royal household and is persuaded to go along. For now. Plenty of room here for Parker's signature black wit and social commentary.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B07W3DTYSS
#occult #humor

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ctboeheim
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Ori dreads holiday dinners with her blended family (blended is far too mild a word for it). The only thing Grandma Elving can talk about is a Christmas season in the 1950s, a habit that annoys everyone but catches the attention of Ori's step-sister's date, a neurology student. It's probably not a good idea to help him with a research project, but Ori isn't known for good ideas. Humorous and sweet.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B08MDB4CC7

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ctboeheim
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What a coincidence! I just finished reading Endurance a few weeks ago, and now we get the news that his ship was found, over 100 years after it was lost.

Shackleton might be the modern-day Odysseus, enduring the trials set by an angry sea god. Yet, this is thoroughly-researched and documented history, taken from the party's log books and journals and from eye-witness accounts. Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B00IC8VF10

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ctboeheim
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Addie La Rue makes a deal with a devil in the woods the night before her wedding, and comes out to find the entire village has forgotten her. Then, in the beginning of the new millenium, she finds someone who can remember her name...

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B084357H23
#fantasy #occult #historical

8 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
A Master of Djinn | P. Djeli Clark
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In an alternate Cairo, a young female police inspector follows the trail of clues from the supernatural murders of a seemingly harmless cult of idolaters. This is a richly detailed setting, a mixture of the real and the fantastic, with believable characters and a satisfying plot. I'll be looking for more from Clark in the future.

Full review at https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B08HKXS84X
#scifi #occult

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ctboeheim
The Incrementalists | Steven Brust, Skyler White
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A secret society of effectively immortal people make it their business to improve society if they can. After all, they have to live in it. They occasionally recruit a new member to replace an old one, but this last one hasn't gone according to plan.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B00CQY7TNO

8 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
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In an alternate London, a medium and a psychic have a meeting in a flat on Baker Street. They‘ve come to consult with Dr. John Watson and his famous friend. Not as clients. Watson and his wife Mary want them to assist with some of their more occult cases, though Sherlock is dubious.

Full review https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B015DLUT1A

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ctboeheim
Bryony and Roses | T. Kingfisher
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Bryony, lost in the woods, finds a strange mansion inhabited by a cursed … yes, this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. (Though Bryony is really rather plain.) It's a fresh retelling, with Kingfisher's humor. Bryony is more of a gardener than a bookworm, and sets about what she does best — growing things. Her nemesis is a nasty and bloodthirsty rose bush, and she has an unexpected ally. You'll enjoy the twists and the thorns.

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ctboeheim
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Cowboy Feng's Bar is adrift in cultures and in time. You can call it eclectic and know that you're in need of a heavier-duty word. It starts out with cowboys, matzo ball soup, tamales, and an Irish band. and gets stranger from there I had fun reading this and figuring out what was going on.

Full review: https://lamp.works/bwl?s=B003L1ZZFK

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ctboeheim
Fuzzy Nation | John Scalzi
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When is it appropriate to re-imagine a much-loved science fiction novel? Scalzi has updated H. Beam Piper's story for a new generation of readers. I read both to compare.
Scalzi has updated a golden-age story with big ideas and cardboard characters to a more modern drama. He cut the cast from thirty to about six and concentrated on backstory and character development. The peril was amped up and the ending was dramatic. A worthwhile #scifi read.

Ruthiella I‘ve not read the original but I really enjoyed Scalzi‘s version. 😀 2y
6 likes1 comment
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ctboeheim
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Redshirts starts off like a bad SciFi novel. And that's the point. Why does the bridge crew always lead the away teams personally, and why does some low-ranking ensign always end up dead? Why do officers' decisions make no sense, other than being dramatically appropriate? And why are the laws of physics suspended just in time to save the ship?
Redshirts is a wickedly funny satirical sendup of popular but flawed SciFi shows of today and yesteryear.

13 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
Jackalope Wives | Ursula Vernon
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Jackalope Wives is a collection of short stories, the first of which won the Nebula. This is a collection of homey, quirky, and downright funny stories set on the edges of backcountry legends. What happens if you catch a Jackalope without its skin on? (They take them off to dance in the moonlight.) What if Cinderella was a much more sensible girl? What about unicorns? Are we certain they have the same definition of virginity that we do?

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ctboeheim
The Last Continent | Terry Pratchett
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It's a Discworld novel, so anything's fair game, including all the tropes from Down Under. (No, a trope is not a marsupial.) The Wizards have gone through a portal to Fourecks on the edge of the Rim, and Rincewind has taken the long way around. They'll meet, eventually. On the way, Pratchett skewers all the popular cultural images of Australia, from crocodiles and their hunters, to the beer, the opera hall, and more. It's a grand romp. No worries.

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ctboeheim
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Book four of the Otherland draws the saga to a satisfying conclusion. Renie, !Xabbu and the rest are stranded in a strange land with terrifying gods. There's no way out; the only way is forward or die. And if they die, so do all the children the Brotherhood has used to build their simulated world. The book had a cast of nearly thirty major characters, each of which had a distinctive voice. And every single one of them contributed to their success.

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ctboeheim
River of Stars | Guy Gavriel Kay
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Not quite a sequel to Under Heaven; the characters of the first book have passed into legend. The first book told the story of the beginning of the fall of the Tong Dynasty. This one tells the end of the fall of the Sung Dynasty. The first was more heroic, the second more elegiac. Ren Daiyan, an outlaw who rises to army general, and Lin Shan, the best poet of the generation when women don't write poetry, save what they can from history's river.

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ctboeheim
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Panpan

The only mystery is who wrote this. Yarbro writes elegant, descriptive prose of memorable and multifaceted characters. This is none of those. It says “based on the stage play of the same name by Chelsea Quinn Yabro,“ so I can only assume some hack transcribed the stage directions into novel form. It wasn't even proofread.

The mystery is given away before the 50% mark, and the ending is deeply unsatisfying. This is the dullest-edged Holmes of all.

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ctboeheim
Under Heaven | Guy Gavriel Kay
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This is now my favorite book this year. Set in a fantasy realm analog to Tang Dynasty China, minor noble Shen Tai carries out a two-year vigil and is rewarded by a princess with a gift of 250 magnificent horses. The question is whether he will survive the gift. The assassin arrives two pages later. Tai navigates the undercurrents of the court, the ambition of powerful men and women, and the enmity of his brother. If he doesn't keep his balance ...

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ctboeheim
Seven of Infinities | Aliette de Bodard
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Sunless Woods is a mindship that has made a long and illustrious career of being a thief. Vân is a poor tutor with a scandalous secret. When a visitor dies in the quarters of Vân's student, Sunless Woods is drawn to the mystery, which might lead to more corpses. Much larger corpses. In this extrapolation of Vietnamese culture into space, memory implants are the honored ancestors and mindships are dragons - vast, ancient, wise, and unpredictable.

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ctboeheim
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Otherland starts out with threads that are each fascinating, but seem unrelated. The main one follows a professor in a South African university, whose brother is comatose after an encounter in virtual reality, launching her into an investigation of powerful forces shaping the world for their own gain. Hang on, because some of these threads don't tie together until nearly the end, but tie in they do, in unsuspected ways.

TiminCalifornia Great review. 2y
9 likes1 stack add1 comment
quote
ctboeheim

I tend to think of the past as compost; drifts of dead yesterdays rotting down into a fine mulch, in which all sorts of weeds germinate, sprout and flourish.
- The actor Notker

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ctboeheim
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In the sequel to “Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City,“ it is five years later and the City is still under siege. It has become a way of life, even the subject of plays. One night Notker, an actor and avowedly NOT a playwright, is drafted to play the part of the ruler of the City, who is most inconveniently dead. Once he takes up the part, he finds it hard to let go.
#satire

ctboeheim Notker is the ultimate unreliable narrator. He tells lies for a living. He's a disappointment to his mother (“She wanted me to be a murderer and an extortionist, like my father.“) And he knows the power of narrative (“Rumour is the ultimate oyster, building layer upon layer of glittering shiny stuff round a tiny speck of fact.“) In the end, he gets so wound up in giving everyone what they want, he almost forgets what he wants. Almost. 2y
7 likes1 comment
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ctboeheim
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In a future America — The United Corporations of America, that is — Aidan Headly is given the Wildcards as his first command. A famously unconventional band of misfits in the resistance forces, the Wildcards are now dysfunctional and insubordinate. As a new commander and a closet trans, is it a good idea to be drawn into a romance with a subordinate? Of course not, but this is the Wildcards, who specialize in taking bad ideas and making them work.

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ctboeheim
Swordheart | T Kingfisher
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This story is a near neighbor of the Clocktaur War books. I came for the inventive settings, the amusing dialog, and the fun characters. I was ambushed by a Romance plot. (I'm not overly fond of romances; I think they're tedious.) I still had a great time. The best part for me was the heroine's superpower: the ability to confuse and confound any foe (and most friends) with stream-of-consciousness absurdities that almost make sense.

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ctboeheim
Marvel 1602 | Neil Gaiman, Andy Kubert
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The year is 1602. Steven Strange is physician to the Queen of England; Sir Nicholas Fury is her master of spies. But her hold on the realm is tenuous, and King James of Scotland is poised to take it from her. Gaiman brings together his favorite Marvel ensemble from the comics of his childhood in this paean to the Silver Age. See how many Marvel heroes you recognize in 17th century clothes. I'll wager you miss a few.

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ctboeheim
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The army and the navy are away from the city when the invasion force shows up. Standing between them and the ruin of the city: an engineer, a liar, a crook, and a forger. These all happen to be the same man. Orhan, a milkface who cannot be a citizen in this land, rallies his corps of engineers to the defense. A fascinating look at a siege from the engineers who make all the defenses and the siege weapons, as well as wicked social satire.

#Fantasy

10 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
Junkyard Cats | Faith Hunter
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In the ruins of America after WWIII, there is a scrapyard, guarded over by the woman formerly known as Shining Smith. She's more than she seems, as are most things in the scrapyard, including the cats. Mess with them at your peril, as a biker gang finds out.

#sciencefiction #dystopian

wanderinglynn I liked this story. I listened to the audiobook. 👍🏻 2y
9 likes1 comment
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ctboeheim
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This is entertaining, didactic, funny, snobbish, elitist, and workman-like. Lynne takes us through the history and usage (and mis-usage — oh, the mis-usages!) of punctuation. Great for writers and for anyone who can remember typing period - backspace - apostrophe to get an exclamation point on an old typewriter. “Sticklers unite, you have nothing to lose but your sense of proportion, and arguably you didn‘t have a lot of that to begin with.“

8 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
Brokedown Palace | Steven Brust
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The Palace is falling apart; the King and his three brothers are at odds what to do with it. The youngest brother journeys to Faery to seek his path, and finds an enigmatic talking horse as a guide. The Palace is an allegory: the house divided against itself, the old that stands in the way of the new, the death that must occur for new life to begin. The writing is haunting, and the little folk tales are gems throughout. Highly recommended.

10 likes3 stack adds
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ctboeheim
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I haven't had this much fun with a book since the last Terry Pratchett novel I read.

Mona is a wizard who works in a bakery. Her one skill is to get bread dough to do what she wants. But when the city comes under attack and almost all the other wizards are assassinated, Mona rises to the challenge.

With smart, slightly dark writing, witty characters, and a homicidal sourdough starter, this is a joy from start to finish.

wanderinglynn Sounds like fun! 2y
Texreader Well that one is a must-stack! 2y
9 likes3 stack adds2 comments
blurb
ctboeheim
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M Resche crossed a bridge and can't go back. He can't even find the bridge. He was in Geneva, but now he's in a quaint town from a century past. A geomantic game gone wrong four centuries in the past has scrambled the map. A local mage wants him dead and a rival wants him as a pawn. The Fractalist priest is enigmatic and the Jeweler may not be what he seems. And his cat just makes wisecracks about it.

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ctboeheim
Pepperharrow | Natasha Pulley
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After enjoying The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, I had to read the sequel. It did not disappoint. Thaniel and Keita travel to Meiji-era Japan, to witness the struggle of the newly-opened nation with the forces of colonialization. Keita's clairvoyance, strange electrical experiments on the cliffs of Yokohama, and ghosts in the Embassy are a fantastical plot layered on the rich tapestry of a Japan just emerging from feudalism.

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ctboeheim
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This is a beautifully-told tale of an exploration ship sent out to find new habitable worlds that Earth could settle, who continue long after their mission has been forgotten back home. There isn't much plot, what there is is more of a meditation on why we explore the universe.

6 likes2 stack adds
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ctboeheim
Bedlam Stacks | Natasha Pulley
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Before the events of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (*****), Merrick Tremayne is sent to Peru to attempt to smuggle cuttings that produce quinine out of the country, to break their stranglehold on this life-saving drug. Among the remains of the Incan culture and the Spanish conquest, Merrick finds old legends, stone men, and an impossibly old priest with a secret that involves generations of Merrick's own family.

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ctboeheim
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In the first full-length novel in the Murderbot series, Wells gives us relatable, human characters in the crews of two ships that are drawn into a land grab for alien technology, then makes the ship's AI and Murderbot, the sentient Security Unit, the beings with the biggest, most caring hearts of all. Despite the fact that neither one possesses, you know, a heart.

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ctboeheim
Gideon the Ninth | Tamsyn Muir
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Mehso-so

I now know several hundred more ways to express gloom, despair, and decay than I did before I started this book.

The premise is interesting enough: the necromancer and cavalier of eight houses gather to compete for the rank of Lyctor for the Emperor. Backstabbing and sabotage ensue, with lovingly crafted swordfighting scenes.

The unremitting gloom got to me, though, and the constant punctuation of current-day teenage snarkiness seemed misplaced.

6 likes1 stack add
blurb
ctboeheim
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ARC copies available; releasing on June 1.

An art thief is trapped in a land not his own, where mages play a great Game with tiles the size of nations.

Get a review copy here: https://storyoriginapp.com/reviewcopies/41bde1f8-b14d-477b-a023-076cd72b8f69

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ctboeheim
How To | Randall Munroe
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This is a very funny book. Along the way, you might gently, painlessly, learn something about the world. That stuff called science. You'll even be offered a side-dish of math, though you can decline that if you wish. Even people like Serena Williams and astronaut Chris Hadfield have contributed. As the author says, all the advice in this book is spectacularly bad, and that's the point. Rumplethumpkin says you should read it.

6 likes1 stack add
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ctboeheim
Agency | William Gibson
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This is what you read Gibson for: cyberpunk, post-singularity, augmented humans, AI, up-to-the-minute world events, seasoned with an eye for characters who are at least two standard deviations away from average. As expected, he pays attention to the role that information, branding, media, form and function play with our perceptions of the world. This continues from his novel The Peripheral, which was probably a stronger story.

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ctboeheim
Quillifer the Knight | Walter Jon Williams
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Rogue, womanizer, son of butcher, and now knight of the realm. Quillifer carves himself a life in the court of the queen that he helped to the throne, and holds it against those who were born to the court and resent his intrusion. Quillifer will take on any challenge, but never in the way his opponents expect, preferring to win by wit rather than force. But will that work against his worst enemy, the goddess he offended who has sworn his ruin?

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ctboeheim
City of Blades | Robert Jackson Bennett
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In the sequel to City of Stairs, General Mulahgesh is sent to the country of Voortystan to determine if their dead god is really as dead as legend says. And if so, just who is raising an army of the dead in her place? Not as lyrical in language as the first book, perhaps appropriately, being about a much more practical main character. The tale says a lot about what being a soldier in a time of war really means.

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ctboeheim
Snapshot | Brandon Sanderson
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A short read – especially for Sanderson. A near-future police agency has the ability to replay a day in the life of the city in minute detail, and insert detectives to investigate crimes that happened in the past. On this day, a troubled detective is assigned two cases with his partner, but he has an agenda beyond what he's been assigned.

Not my favorite by Sanderson, but an interesting read nonetheless.