2018 releases

Hell's Bell
Scent of the Jaguar
His Outback Nanny
The Queen's Game
366 Days of Flash Fiction
On the Horizon: Simple worlds of speculative adventure
Lusting the Enemy

Friday, June 17, 2011

What We Are Reading

Welcome to June's What We Are Reading column. Today, we have Jenny Schwartz, C.T Green, Bec Skrabl, Gemma Kettley and Eleni Konstantine.

Jenny Schwartz

I'm reading Phoenix Rising. A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris Amazon

It's steampunk and riotous action, full of fun and pop culture references appropriate to the late Victorian age. I adore secret societies and impossible science, not to mention kick ass heroines and a very interesting hero. Great reading.

C.T. Green
~ Skulduggery Pleasant ~ Derek Landy

I’m not normally a fan of Young Adult fiction, but I recently picked up Skulduggery Pleasant. My son was attempting to read it (he’s only ten and it was a bit beyond him).

Feeling I should make a vague attempt at parenting, I read a chapter to see whether it really was beyond him or he whether he had been lured away by Zac Power (which is definitely his age group).

Of course I started at the beginning of the book and hours later found I was still reading. Skulduggery Pleasant is a detective. He’s also a skeleton. He and Stephanie, the heroine, embark on a wild adventure involving magic and ahem, skulduggery. Landy weaves a good tale with plenty of action and all sorts of fascinating world building without it becoming complicated or confusing or oversimplified.

Pleasant reminds me at times of V from V for Vendetta (one of my favourite movies) and Landy has a dry irony that, while not laugh out loud funny, is definitely worth a grin.

The other characters are rather fascinating and have equally wonderful names – like China Sorrows and Ghastly Bespoke, (Skulduggery’s nemesis and friend in that order).

The blurb on the book compares it to Harry Potter – having never read that series, I can’t say. What I can state is that for both mid-teens and adults, this is a thoroughly entertaining read, as good overcomes evil and Stephanie finds her true name. (Which is a damn good one!).

The only problem I face now is convincing my son he needs the next book in the series. : P

Bec Skrabl
~ MAGIC SLAYS ~ Ilona Andrews

I’ve just finished Magic Slays, book five of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Whilst the first four books dealt with Kate’s attraction to Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta, and the explosive courtship they shared, Slays deals with the aftermath of agreeing to be a couple. I loved how Andrews keeps the tension between the pair high, even though they’re together now. There’s also a plot involving a magical doomsday device that must be found and destroyed, but the real enjoyment for me is all the characters that I get to hang out with again; smart-ass Andrea, handsome but scarred Derek and Julie, Kate’s ward, who’s run away from school again.

Magic Slays is great fun, with the familiar snark from Kate, but also a heart-wrenching discovery about her parents. And the cliff-hanger, oh boy, what a set up for a confrontation that’s been building from book one! Ilona Andrews is my all-time favourite author and she doesn’t disappoint in her latest.

Gemma Kettley
~ Master of None ~ by Sonya Bateman

Gavyn Donatti is the world unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he has lost over the years. When he misplaces and irreplaceable item he was hired to steal things with his employer go from bad to worse. That is when a djinn (otherwise known as a genie) by the name of Ian appears to save him. But what can go wrong when you have a djinn who seem to hate you at first sight but is bound to help you to fulfil your life purpose (not that anyone knows what that is). This novel has a great sense of humour - it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The story is well paced and the plot doesn’t try to cram too much into itself. The characters are well written – the good guys have you barracking for them and the bad booing. All in all a good start to what looks like developing into a nice series.

~ Bitten in two ~ by Jennifer Rardin

This is the seventh book in the Jaz parks series. Go to Morocco and secure an ancient artifact, doesn’t sound that had to do. But when you partner (a vampire) wakes up and starts calling you by another woman’s name things go from bad to worse. This novel has a well paced story line. The characters have a nice development, with some nice interactions. My one complaint – a plot line from the previous book was alluded to but not expanded upon enough for me to know what happened and its relationship with the current happenings. Having said that – Bitten in two was well written enough that I could work my way round that short fall. Whilst I have only dipped in and out of this series, it is developing nicely and I am enjoying where the journey is currently going.

Eleni Konstantine
As usual, I have a mishmash of different books when I’m reading. The three I’ve just finished are:

Sean Williams’ The Stone Mage and The Sea (Book One of The Change)

A fantasy story. When I started this originally, while I enjoyed it, I couldn't get into it. A few months later, and reborrowing it from the library, and I was immersed of the world of The Strand, where the Sky Wardens rule. Sal and his father are on the run, and avoid these Sky Wardens, but Sal has no idea why. Until they come to a town, where an old man resides, and he finds out more about himself than he bargained for.

Same book, same person, different time = able to really get into it. Looking forward to Book Two of The Change: The Sky Warden & The Sun.

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich

A between the numbers novella, where Diesel makes a reappearance. Grandma has found some lucky money, and as you do in Jersey, she heads for Atlantic City. So the gang - Stephanie, Lula, and Connie - go to find grandma. I laughed out loud in so many scenes. I needed a pick me up, and this was definitely the right book for it. I think I also liked it because there wasn't too much angst over the Morelli / Ranger triangle, which after 13 books is getting a little stale.

M if for Magic by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman is a real storyteller. In this collection of short stories aimed for children, he mixes genres and styles, but always there is a fascinating story there. Whether it be funny, more creepy, or just weird. I loved the NurseRhymeLand story in the detective noir style, the old lady who found the Holy Grail in her local Oxfam shop, and the story of the stray cat who has more power than it seems.

Currently reading

George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1)

I am slowly reading this, devouring each page, but relishing it at the same time. I read a few chapters, then leave it, and let the story live in the back of my mind. I love the complexity of the world and characters, and I’m just halfway through book one. I know there is so much more ahead of me and I’m approaching it with glee. I should get a little move on before TV show hits Australian screens. Sean Bean as Ned Star = brilliant casting.

Cover is the original one available in Australia. 1996. Yes, it has been on my shelves for THAT long.

Happy reading, all!

Thank you for the reviews.

There’s lots of great books to check out and add to the TBR pile.


  1. I read "Magic Slays", too -- and loved it. Book 5 in a series and as strong (or stronger than) ever.

  2. Thanks ladies for all the great ideas for my already overflowing TBR pile LOL!

  3. A lot of great reads there.

    Gemma - it will be a shame with Jennifer Rardin's books when book eight is released as it is the last in the series and there will be no more great works from this author because of her death last year.

    Anyway, thanks all for the variety of books there are so many to choose from.