twisted?

Traveller in Black

John Brunner

This collection of novellas is a fantasy work by an author better known for his science fiction.
In each story a powerful and anomalous being (the eponymous traveller in black) makes a journey around the cities in his domain and attempts to tip the universe ever further away from chaos and towards order.
These are densely written tales that seem incredibly apt given out current insane political climate.
Not the easiest read but it is short and repays the bit of effort required handsomely. I loved that it’ll give you a different take on the phrase “As you wish”.

Rating: B+

surgery?

Tell Me How You Really Feel

Aminah Mae Safi

Superior teen romance.
As the author admits this tale is heavily inspired by fanfic in which Rory Gilmore and Paris Geller end up together.
It’s a hugely enjoyable and incredibly fluffy tale about two people protecting themselves from the world by pretending to be not quite who they really are.
I finished it and immediately and went back into it to re-read the best bits. I suspect this is a future comfort read.

Rating: A-

stan?

This Is Uncool

Garry Mulholland

In this collection of reviews Mulholland picks the best singles from Punk to the Milennium.
Of course this is a highly subjective thing but writes persuadingly on the worth of Pop in general and specifically on critically derided musical genres like Disco.
I vehemently disagreed with some of his opinions (mainly about your more earnest 80’s rock acts) but learned enough to want to listen to a whole lot of music that I’d never even thought of checking out before.
It’s super cheap right now second hand but for the sake of your wrists don’t buy the hardback like I did!
If it matters I bought this because it came highly recommended by Kieron Gillen.

Rating: B+

family?

Rainy Day Friends

Jill Shalvis

Lanie starts a new job at a family run winery. Very vulnerable after the death of her cheating husband she’s deliberately avoiding relationships but with a bickering family and fellow new arrival River she finds herself making new bonds that could be the best thing or worst thing to happen to her.
I thoroughly enjoyed this well written and paced romance. The characters were all entertaining and believably drawn by the standards of contemporary romance.

Rating: B+

tank?

Head On

John Scalzi

This is the sequel to Lock In which set up a near future world where an illness called Haden’s Syndrome has left a significant percentage of the population locked into their physical bodies and only able to experience the world remotely via robot proxies.
The lead character is once again Haden FBI agent Chris Shane.
This one is set in the world of the fast-growing and ulraviolent Haden sport of Hilketa.
When a player dies in a pre-season match Shane and their partner uncover a web of lies that goes all the way to the heart of the sport.
As always Scalzi’s prose is easy to read and designed to draw you in. It’s a fast-paced ride of a read rather than something designed for depth.

Rating: B+

coop?

Lost and Found Sisters

Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis writes very enjoyable romance novels. She rarely writes a dud and while they’re not particularly memorable they are so much fun while you’re reading them.
This particular story follows Quinn – still reeling from the loss of her sister Beth.
In swift succession she learns she’s adopted, that her birth mother has died from cancer and that she has a teenage sister.
It’s got great female relationships and a half-decent romance.
Definitely worth checking out if you’re into contemporary romance.

Rating: B+

starter?

Sourdough

Robin Sloan

Stressed San Francisco based programmer Lois Clary finds comfort in takeaway sourdough and soup. When the proprietors have to leave the US they leave their sourdough starter with her and it leads to a transformation in her life.
A slight but enjoyable tale with a very likeable protagonist.

Rating: B+

eyes?

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs

Jake is a misfit teen in Florida. He grew up loving his Grandfather Abe’s fantastic tales from his childhood, stories filled with invisible boys, girls that can float or generate fire. When he finds his grandfather murdered, seemingly by a monster, it causes him so much trauma that he ends up going to a psychologist. In order to deal with his grandad’s death he’s advised to travel the Welsh island where Abe grew up to try and come to terms with things. Once there he discovers that the fantastic tales are all true and that he’s found himself not in an impossible new world of peculiar children and time travel but he is also in terrible danger from the monsters that killed Abe.
I’ve been meaning to read this for ages and when I caught the film on TV recently all it’s annoying flaws drove me to pick up the book to see if made more sense than the film. It certainly explains certain things better and there’s a lot of things that the film makers changed for no real reason that fit better tonally. I’m still not sure it actually completely makes sense. I liked it enough that I’ve picked up the second book in the series and I’ll give that go too.

Rating: B+

publisher?

Romancing Mister Bridgerton

Julia Quinn

This is a really enormously enjoyable piece of historical romantic comedy.
Penelope Featherington is the perpetual wallflower of the London Set and has had a lifelong crush on Colin Bridgerton – her best friend’s brother. When a scandal erupts around notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown the two are involved in the mystery and pushed together.
I’m not a huge fan of historical romances but this is a really well written and thoroughly entertaining slice of romantic fiction. Funny and emotionally involving I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes romantic comedies.

Rating: B+