Sea of Tranquility

Title: Sea of Tranquility

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Format: e-book

Genre: Fiction

Sub Genre(s):  Science-Fiction


Summary: Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal–an experience that shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.  -From Goodreads


What I Liked: Like most of Mandel’s books, the story in “Sea of Tranquility” is told from the viewpoint of multiple characters. In the hands of a less talented author, this could lead to confusion and an inability to keep track of the characters or when the action is taking place. Not so with Mandel, who manages to tell a cohesive story over the span of hundreds of years. I was never confused about who was who or what was going on, a testament to her storytelling capabilities. She has the unique ability to write a pandemic novel that’s not really about a pandemic, a science-fiction story that doesn’t get bogged down with too much science, and a hopeful story that isn’t too sweet. I love books that can entertain me while also making me think and this book is full of big ideas. I will be thinking about this book for a while.

What I Didn’t Like: Mandel is one of the few authors that could write a door stopper of a book and I would still read it, and “Sea of Tranquility” is a book that I think could have benefited from a few more pages. It would have allowed us to learn more about some of the characters and delve more into their motivations.

Who Should Read It: This is a pandemic novel so while I would recommend this book to anyone, you do have to be in the mood to read about a pandemic….while living through one. There is a connection (that I loved) to her previous novel, “The Glass Hotel,” but it’s not necessary to have read that book before this one.

Review Wrap Up: As is typical of Mandel, there were moments that left my jaw hanging open in this book, especially when all the storylines converged, and I was left with a feeling of awe when I was finished. Those looking for a book that will keep you guessing while also making you think will find much to enjoy here.

Favorite Quote(s): “Look…the thing is, it’s possible to be grateful for extraordinary circumstances and simultaneously long to be with the people you love.”

“It’s been a while since anyone’s told me anything magnificent.”


thespinsterlibrarian

Electric Idol

Title: Electric Idol

Author: Katee Robert

Series: Dark Olympus

Publication Date: January 18th, 2022

Format: e-book

Genre: Romance

Sub Genre(s):  Fantasy


What I Liked:  The chemistry between Eros and Psyche was incredible and writing love scenes is clearly one of Roberts’ strong suits. The tension between them was amazing and one of the highlights of the story. The enemies to lovers and fake marriage tropes can be hard to pull off but the circumstances here work and the need to protect each other, from outside influences and themselves, was a really great way to show Psyche and Eros growing closer. I really love when heroes in romance novels feel like they don’t deserve the heroine so Eros was my dream romance lead. Only in romance novels can a damaged, flawed man be changed by love which is what I loved about this story. In real life, you will never change that man so don’t even try, haha! Psyche is how I wish all plus-sized heroines would be written. She is confident and sexy but also fully aware of the world she lives in, how she is viewed, and the limitations she has based on her size. She doesn’t let anyone talk down to her but knows how people judge her and it’s one of the most realistic portrayals of a plus-sized heroine I’ve read in a long time. One of my issues with Neon Gods was the lack of world-building so I liked learning more about the hierarchy of the leaders in Olympus and the insight into how the Thirteen are chosen.

What I Didn’t Like: Even though Roberts’ shares a little bit more about Olympus in this book, I feel like I still don’t know much about this world outside of its leaders so sometimes it felt like I was only getting part of the story. Who are the people these leaders are leading? Why are there Gods in the first place? I wish there was a more time taken to expand what we know about Olympus. For me, I don’t mind that this is not so much a retelling of Greek mythology as it is taking characters from the myths and writing about them, but I could see other readers being upset by that. Don’t expect this to be a classic retelling.

Who Should Read It: Fans of hot, fun, fake marriage romances that don’t mind a story that bends the definition of “modern retelling.’ You don’t need to have read the first book, Neon Gods, to enjoy this one but it would help as this one features characters that are in both books.

Review Wrap Up: Electric Idol was a fun read that highlighted Katee Roberts’ gift for writing steamy love scenes and builds upon the world she created in Neon Gods quite nicely. While there is nothing new here in terms of the tropes, I loved Eros and Psyche and I will continue reading this series.

Favorite Quote: “You might be a monster, Eros, but you’re my monster.”


thespinsterlibrarian

*Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca, Katee Robert, and Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

The Midnight Library

Sometimes, books get a lot of buzz, show up on numerous “best of lists,” get recommended by everyone you know and don’t live up to the hype.  At the end of last year it seemed I couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Matt Haig’s newest book, and as much as I wanted to read it, I was worried the buildup would be too much and I would be left disappointed.  I am happy to say that this book was everything I had hoped it would be. 

Continue reading “The Midnight Library”

Cemetery Boys

How I adored this book!  I am not the intended audience for Aiden Thomas’s book but still found myself being swept up in his tale of young people searching for the place they belong and fighting for the respect they deserve.  This book has a bit of everything: family, friendship, humor, and romance and I think anyone who reads this would like it.  This book is especially important for young trans people who may be struggling to find acceptance among their family and friends.  I highly recommend this book.

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This Is How You Lose the Time War

 Oh my heart.  This. Book.  The best way I can describe this book is gorgeous, flowery writing mixed with a sense of unending doom.  While I can understand some of the negative reviews of this book (you need to enjoy romantic language), I found this to be an engaging, thoughtful, and emotional book about the power of love and the all-encompassing hold it can have on us.  I highly recommend this book.

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Dragon Bound

I read this book as part of my Adult Reading Round Table’s paranormal romance meeting.   I wanted to pick something a bit different from the vampire and werewolf books that have been very popular over the past few years….and I came across a whole sub-genre called dragon shifting.  I had no idea what to expect and overall was surprised by this book.

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Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew v

Werewolves?  Baristas? Magic? Gay best friend? Young Adult?  I had been wanting to read Moonstruck for a while, ever since I heard about it really, because of all the awesome things I had heard about it and the themes it explored.   While I am glad I finally got to experience, I found that the idea and concept turned out better than the reality.  I thought it was fun and a quick read but ultimately wanted more.

Continue reading “Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew v”

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