Book Review – Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Hogfather

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett is the 20th novel in the author’s comic fantasy Discworld series, and the fourth in the Death sub-series. Susan Sto Helit, the granddaughter of Death himself, has settled into a life of education, living with a wealthy family as their astute and capable governess. Sure, she occasionally has to bash in the heads of monsters the kids imagine live under their beds or in the basement, but such things are old hat for someone like Susan. She knows all too well how powerful imagination and superstition can be on the Discworld. Aside from such hiccups, everything is perfectly normal, just the way she wants them to be.

But things take a turn for the stranger on Hogswatch Eve, a time when a jolly fat man is meant to be about delivering presents to all the good little girls and boys. He’s nowhere to be found, and in his place is Death, trying to fill the big man’s over-sized coat. With Death unwilling to inform Susan of what is going on, it’s up to her to learn the reason for her grandfather’s odd behaviour and uncover what has happened to the Hogfather. It’s a race against the clock as Hogswatch morning approaches. If she fails, the sun may never rise again.Read More »

Book Review – Bacchanal by Veronica G. Henry

Bacchanal

Bacchanal by Veronica G. Henry is the author’s newly published, debut novel. Set during the Great Depression in the Southern United States, the story follows Eliza Meeks, a young black woman barely getting by in Baton Rouge, abandoned by her family many years previously. Thanks to a latent, otherworldly power that allows her to communicate with animals, she is noticed by a talent prospector and hired by the G. B. Bacchanal Carnival as a new crowd-drawing oddity.

Among the other carnies and strange folk, Liza finds a place to call home, but Bacchanal is not entirely as it seems. Lurking behind the games, attractions, and sweet treats is a demonic being that feeds on innocent lives and imbues the carnival with the presence of spirits from beyond the veil. Only Liza has a chance at stopping her, if she can come to understand the true nature of her burgeoning powers.Read More »

Book Review – Courting Justice by R.L. Sommer

Courting Justice

Jake Lehman and his wife, Sydney, have left Washington D.C. for a fresh start in San Francisco. Their legal careers are on the rise, but so are tensions between them as they continually find themselves on opposing sides of cases concerning judicial ethics and gender equality. Their conflicting views on the topic―coupled with growing career obligations, social pressures, and constant travel―come to a head when both Jake and Sydney are recommended for a Supreme Court seat.

With rising pressure threatening to divide the Lehmans, an innocent encounter is misconstrued by prying eyes and puts their relationship and Jake’s career in jeopardy. Can Jake and Sydney’s relationship withstand the intricacies of these cases and the complications of their careers?

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Book Review – The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

Light of the Jedi

Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule is the first novel of The High Republic, a multimedia series of stories set in the Star Wars universe, 200 years before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It is a time of great prosperity for the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy. New systems are regularly coming into the fold and the Republic is looking to expand their outreach to the more overlooked corners of the galaxy. Central to this cause is Starlight Beacon, a new space station located in the Outer Rim territories that will soon act as a prominent Jedi outpost, safe haven, and literal beacon to aid travelers as they navigate these dangerous regions.

 All is not as well as it seems in the galaxy, however, as a seemingly freak accident in hyperspace has caused massive pieces of debris to enter the Hetzal system, travelling at near light speed and threatening death and destruction to anything in their path. With billions of lives on the line, only a contingent of Jedi and the fleet of the Republic Defense Coalition have a chance of mitigating this great disaster. As more and more systems eventually come under threat as well, attention turns to an infamous group of marauders known as the Nihil, who pose a greater threat than the Republic and the Jedi could possibly imagine.Read More »

Book Review – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology

With a title that obscures nothing, Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is a 2017 collection of old Norse myths, retold by the author, a longtime lover of these old stories and heavily influenced by them in his own writing. Using the best primary sources available to him, such as the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda, he regales readers with tales including the creation of the universe, the nature of the World Tree, the adventures of powerful gods like Thor and Odin, the misadventures and mischief of the giant Loki, and many more, weaving each tale into a loose narrative arc that starts with the beginning of all things and ends with their destruction.Read More »

Book Review – Where Have You Gone Without Me? by Peter Bonventre

Where Have You Gone Without Me

Where Have You Gone Without Me? is a recently published crime thriller novel by Peter Bonventre, a longtime journalist and award-winning sportswriter. The story follows Eddie Sabella, a 37-year-old hot shot reporter and columnist at a tabloid newspaper in New York City. The year is 2006, when a local church is rocked by a supposed miracle: their statue of St. Joseph appears to be crying real tears. Eddie gets an exclusive thanks to a tip and at first things play out like any other story for him, who is ever on the prowl for the next subject of his column. It soon becomes the story of a lifetime, however, after the statue is stolen, putting Eddie in contact with a colourful cast of characters including restaurateurs, aging mobsters, and a long lost love who up and disappeared on him 15 years before.Read More »

Book Review – Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett is the 19th novel in the author’s Discworld series and the third novel in the City Watch sub-series. There’s murder afoot, as the bodies of a priest and a baker have been found bludgeoned in their respective homes. Headed by Commander Vimes, Captain Carrot, werewolf Corporal Angua, and their new forensics expert Cheery Littlebottom, the City Watch is on the case. Despite the talents each bring to the case, however, it seems no other living thing was present for either murder, though a lot of clay was.

Golems are made of clay, but they’re just things that do as they’re told, not alive, and murder goes against the sacred scrolls that make them function. With the case only getting foggier, the Patrician of the city, Lord Vetinari, suddenly falls victim of poison from an unknown source, weakening him but not killing him outright. Vimes and the Watch’s policing skills are put to the test as they must uncover not only whodunit, but howdunit.Read More »

Book Review – To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

to-be-taught-if-fortunate

To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a 2019 science fiction novella by Becky Chambers. Close to the end of the 21st century, science has made a breakthrough in space exploration. Using a revolutionary method called “somaforming”, an astronaut’s biology is synthetically supplemented by a patch worn on the skin, allowing them to survive the harsh conditions of interstellar travel and other planets. Instead of trying to alter the destination, we alter ourselves.

With this bold new technology on hand, a number of manned missions have been launched to survey exoplanets suspected of harbouring life. Ariadne O’Neill is part of one such mission, Lawki 6, along with three other scientists, to explore four worlds in a system 15 light-years away from Earth. Arrival on each world brings unique changes to their bodies, alien landscapes, and news of an ever-changing Earth as the years back home pass them by.Read More »

Book Review – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is the author’s first novel, retelling the life of the ancient Greek hero Achilles and the events of The Iliad by Homer. The story is told from the perspective of Patroclus, a Greek prince from a relatively small yet proud kingdom. To his father, the boy is a disappointment: small, slight, and timid. His life with this cruel, unloving father is empty and cold. After accidentally killing another noble boy who tries to take something from him, Patroclus is exiled to the kingdom of Phthia, to be fostered by King Peleus.

Initially ostracized by the other boys for his crime, he attracts the attention of Peleus’s son Achilles, a demigod destined to become the greatest hero of his time, becoming his faithful companion. As the two grow up together and become lovers, however, destiny becomes a portent of doom for any prolonged peace and happiness in their future together. Nevertheless, the call of the greatest campaign in their history becomes too difficult for one such as Achilles to ignore, compelling the two to meet whatever destiny has in store for them on the plains of Troy.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Oddest Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Oddest Jobs

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs is the third book in the “odd jobs” trilogy of anthologies edited by Christopher Golden, telling stories about the comic book character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola. This book brings together 15 different authors of fantasy, horror, and mystery. Most notable among them is Joe R. Lansdale, the introduction proclaiming his story as the reason this book started coming together in the first place. Accompanying each tale is an original black and white illustration by Mike Mignola.Read More »