hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: A Queer Trade (Rag and Bone #0.5), by K.J. Charles. This is a short story set in the same world as the Magpie Lord, and takes place I think sometime in the last 2 books of the Magpie trilogy. Returning to London after visiting family, apprentice practitioner Crispin Tredarloe finds his master is dead, and the landlord has sold off his possessions, save those specified in his will, but including piles of paper that could prove very dangerous in the hands of anyone other than Crispin. He tracks down the papers and finds them in the possession of waste paper dealer Ned Hall, and together they try to prevent a disaster.

I like the ideas, the characters, and the overall story, though I quibble with the idea that Crispin, having just learned of his master's death that morning and in the midst of a desperate search for dangerous magical items, would pause in his frantic search to briefly fantasize about Ned, let alone make out with him in public, however briefly. Grief can make people do strange things, and sex is definitely a way of dealing with it, but it was jarring here. Still, it was a nice setup for the Rag and Bone, the full novel featuring Crispin and Ned.

Jackdaw, by K.J. Charles. Also set in the world of the Magpie Lord, Jackdaw picks up the story of Jonah Pastern (the young windwalker from Flight of Magpies, and this book will not make sense if you haven't read that) and his former lover, Ben. This didn't really have a plot the way the other books in the 'verse do, it's more of a 'slice of life' type of thing, though at times a fearful one (Jonah) and an angry one (Ben, and damn justifiably too), fraught with worry about being caught, both by society and the justiciars.

Rag and Bone (Rag and Bone #1), by K.J. Charles. This overlaps with both Flight of Magpies and Jackdaw and if the series continues in that vein I may have to start drawing diagrams to figure out who's doing what where and when. After the events of A Queer Trade, Crispin is now apprenticed at the justiciary, trying to learn how to use his powers properly and it's not going well. Graphomancy may not be viewed as legitimate magic, but more and more it seems to be the only kind he can use. He's viewed with suspicion by other practitioners and his relationship with Ned is under strain. Worst of all, old, wild magic is stirring in London, and there are no justiciars to handle it, or even hear about it, meaning it's all up to Crispin and Ned.

Sadly, there was no Saint, although there was more of Mrs. Gold. I enjoyed it, and I definitely felt the relationship between Ned and Crispin was slightly better done than Lucien and Stephen. I also definitely picked up on the feeling of trying to get something DONE when everyone above you is busy with something else and this is important too. (Granted in my case it was 'this software change will completely nuke 90% if our procedures, we need a workaround', while everyone else was worrying about budgets or something, but...)

SPECTR: Series 1, by Jordan L. Hawk. I opened it up to do a search on something for a discussion I was having with [livejournal.com profile] hamsterwoman and, um, ended up reading it again, though not from the beginning. Oops?

What I'm Reading Now: Hellebore & Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic, by JoSelle Vanderhooft. This short story collection is working better for me than the last few I tried. It's another of the ones I picked up during Lethe Press's sale. With just one exception so far the shorts tell complete stories all of which, well, do what they say on the tin. :) You've got women dealing with problems without being defined either by their orientation or their relationship with a man. You've got urban fantasy mixed wtih regular fantasy mixed with science-fantasy and while I'm not reading it straight through I am pleased to come back to it, unlike the last two collections that I felt I was just slogging through.

Still going with The Writer's Guide to Everyday Life in Regency and Victorian England too. (It's my upstairs book and I haven't been upstairs much.)

What I'm Reading Next: I haven't decided yet. I've still got a lot of the Lethe Press stuff to get through, plus physical books.

I also already hit the goal for the Goodreads reading challenge I set up at the beginning of the year! Probably because I've had the space I used to use for work filled up with time to read instead. So I just upped the number, we'll see how that goes.
hoursgoneby: (Hourglass)
What I Just Finished Reading: Spiritride (SERRAted Edge #7), by Mark Shepherd. Well, if Elvendude was a fantasy anti-drug PSA, this tried to be a cautionary tale set during the Satanic Panic of the late 80s/early 90s. It just didn't work for me.

Death by Silver, by Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold. A gaslamp fantasy with an intriguing murder mystery, metaphysicians working as detectives, magic as a part of everyday life, well-developed characters (even minor ones!), and a slowly blossoming love story between the main leads.  The worldbuilding is just fantastic; not a single thing feels forced or info-dumped, and it blends so very well with the Victorian age. Murder, mystery, and scandal. Lovely! I'm so glad I finally picked this up.

Dangerous Spirits (Spirits #2), by Jordan L. Hawk. (I talk about the 1st one here.) See how I was talking about Henry having room for growth on that first entry? He hasn't hit it yet. If you read Whyborne & Griffin and had times where you wanted to tell Whyborne to get his head out of his ass, you'll probably want to slap Henry. We did get more of Vincent and Lizzie's background, which was nice, but I didn't think there was nearly enough of Jo. The ghost story is very interesting but doesn't feel as well fleshed out as it could have been. I'm waiting till book 3 - where I really fell for Whyborne & Griffin and SPECTR - but so far it's average.

Mocker of Ravens (SPECTR 2, #1), by Jordan L. Hawk. SPECTR series 2 picks up a few months after series 1 ends. Sadly, Kaniyar and Tiffany have both moved off-page (hey, Tiffany grows on you, really) but Caleb, Gray, and John wind up with a new partner, Zahira, who I just adored from the start. (It's that thing I have for smart women again.) Gray likes her too, actually. On the down side, Caleb and John are experiencing workplace harrassment - garlic oil on the doorknob of their office for Caleb, an ass of a new boss who thinks John should go back in the closet - and no one but Zahira is willing to work with them, largely because of her fascination with Gray. So that, and the scent Caleb and Gray pick up of an unknown NHE that also isn't a demon, seem to be the arc for this series.

Heart of the Dragon, by Jordan L. Hawk. Short story, threesome porn, about a virgin set to be sacrificed to a dragon and the knight who comes to save him. Turns out that while the dragon doesn't eat people, he does shift into a handsome man and invite the virgin to stay the night. It was OK. I did like this quote though:

"...so let me get this straight. They dressed you up – the silk shirt is very nice, by the way, quite fetching – dragged you here, and chained you to this post. Which they planted in my doorway, thank you very much – with the expectation I would eat you. And this is supposed to make me less upset? Is logic a foreign concept to you people?"

Dancer of Death (SPECTR 2, #2), by Jordan L. Hawk. Set on desk duty by the aforementioned asshole boss, Caleb, Gray, John, and Zahira (henceforth referred to by initials, because OMG so many names) are sent back to the field when the bodies of people who have been danced to death start showing up. The plot in this one is possibly the tightest of the series, and includes another instance of world-building that might not actually hit you unless you're familiar with the ballet Giselle. (There's a handy author's note at the back if you're not.) Oh, and Gray starts referring to C, J, and Z as 'his' mortals.

You know, just in case he hadn't been compared to a cat enough already. :P

What I'm Reading Next: Still working on that annoying problem where my library loan isn't recognized on my Kobo with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I think I'll just bring my knitting up here and read it on the computer, it's probably easiest. Then Hainted, by Jordan L. Hawk, and then possibly The Inheritance Trilogy, which has only been staring at me across the living room for, like, a month.


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