I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Like many bibliophiles, I have a soft spot in my heart for libraries. Because of this, I am always intrigued by stories set in, around, or about these great storehouses of knowledge. The Great Library series, by Rachel Caine is no exception to that attraction.
Caine has built a world in which the great library of Alexandria did not burn, and where the library’s reach is far and deep. Not only does the Library give of its scholarly discoveries but it also hoards information and power. Here is the beauty of the series – an exploration of what happens when the Library loses sight of its mission to be a storehouse of knowledge and crosses the line into a perversion of that mission into the land of censorship. Once that line is crossed, what lengths will the Library go to in order to preserve its own power?
As dry as that idea may sound, Caine folds it into an addictive series with realistic well-crafted characters, a twisty plot, and a dash of romance. The story follows a group of former Library employees as they struggle against the Library’s machinations. At times the story feels a little predictable, but Caine makes up for it by dropping in surprising twists. The third installment doesn’t suffer from “middle-book syndrome” like other mid-series books sometimes can. The story clips along at a nice pace and has its own distinct goal to achieve and its own satisfying ending. A short-lived ending, of course, because the book must set up for the next installment in the series.
I read Ash and Quill in one evening and am very much looking forward to the next installment.
Ash and Quill is the third in The Great Library series by Rachel Caine and was published July 11, 2017.
I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.
Some of these recipes sound seriously delicious. Others, like the Hobbit Hollow, which features acorn and mushroom flavors sound like Radagast the Brown wrote them (as a friend commented when I read her the recipe) and I’m not entirely sure they’re flavors I’m willing to try. I’m enthusiastically waiting for the weather in the Pacific Northwest to warm up so that I may try foraging for some of the ingredients needed to make some of these tasty sounding cocktails and infusions!
I’ll be honest, foraging for some of the ingredients used in the book is more work than I’ll ever be willing to put in, but there’s a nice selection of recipes I can make from things I have easy enough access to in my own yard or friends’ yards. I haven’t yet made any of the recipes because the ones I want to try are out of season, but I’m looking forward to when they are in season and I can try them out! The recipes are easy enough to follow and I anticipate interesting tasting results!
This book was beautifully designed with lovely photographs and a fun Northwest style throughout the book, even though it’s inclusive of foraged foods from other regions of the country. My only gripe is that I wish recipes had some kind of visual cue as to what season to forage the ingredients in. So many of the foraged ingredients are seasonal, it would be nice to have an at-a-glance way to tell what recipes I can make in each season, rather than having to research every ingredient before I can decide what to make when. That aside, I appreciated the responsible foraging tips Zachos included throughout.
This review was first published to Goodreads on April 7, 2017.
I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Urban Enemies is an anthology containing 17 short stories from a slew of big-name authors in the Urban Fantasy genre.
The authors contributing to this collection had a fine line to walk. Each of their stories is set within their own larger universes, so they’re tasked with writing a story that will 1 – not alienate readers new to their universe (and maybe even convince them to pick it up?) and 2 – satisfy readers already familiar with their characters and storylines. I felt like most of the authors pulled this off. I will note, that I was somewhat disappointed that not all the stories were actually about villains – some were just anti-heroes.
I’m not going to do a story-by-story rating, as I might if these stories were standalone because it wouldn’t be fair. I’m already biased to prefer the stories from authors’ whose series I read – Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Kevin Hearne – over the authors who write series I haven’t even heard of.
Of the authors I’m already familiar with, I really enjoyed Kevin Hearne and Seanan McGuire’s contributions. Both were satisfying and added dimension to their universes. I was disappointed with Jim Butcher’s contribution – not because it was a bad story but because it’s a reprint. Not a new story, it’s been printed in earlier anthologies.
About half of the authors I wasn’t familiar with I was intrigued enough by their villain or worldbuilding that I plan to check out at least the first novel in the series. In particular the stories by Craig Shaeffer, Caitlin Kitteridge and the editor Joseph Nassise. Other stories were either major turnoffs or just not my thing.
Overall though, I enjoyed the collection. I didn’t read anything particularly standout in either direction as good or bad (it’s hard to like stories about unlikable characters.) If you’re a fan of any of these series, check this collection out. If not, these stories may not be the easiest entry point into these universes, but you might find one you like (or like to hate.)