Moar #balisebooks

Where The Drowned Girls Go – Seanan McGuire

What happens in… the other school?

This is the book 7 of the Wayward Children series, and I still love that universe to infinity and beyond. Besides Miss Eleonor’s Home for Wayward Children, there exists another school for the kids who crossed a door, came back, and are trying to re-adjust to Earth life. Contrarily to the Home, the Whitethorn Institute is trying to re-adjust kids by trying to make them forget their adventures, and making them believe they never happened. And Cora, who we met in the previous books, just transferred there – because she believes life will be more bearable there. But then, obviously, it’s complicated. And the headmaster is kind of shady. A good addition to the series, although I kind of regretted not spending more time in beyond-the-doors universes.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab

What if living forever came with the curse of being forgotten by everyone?

At the beginning of the 18th century, Addie makes a deal for her freedom from a marriage she doesn’t want. The terms of the deal und up being an… interesting curse – she gets to live for as long a time as she can bear… and in exchange, she gets forgotten by anyone as soon as they leave the room. We follow Addie’s life until the 21st century, a time where she finally meets someone who recognizes her. The novel is written in the perspective of all the events and lives that Addie has lived, in different times, and crossing the paths of many people, and some people many times. I really enjoyed the journey of this book and the reflection it triggered for me about life, time, creativity, relationships and personal impact on the world.

Hunt the Stars – Jessie Mihalik

What can POSSIBLY go wrong when you’re a bounty hunter hired by your sworn enemy?

Yay, a new series by Jessie Mihalik! (I still need to read Rogue Queen, but Consortium Rebellion was very cool 🙂 ). The narrator of the series, Octavia “Tavi” Zarola, is a bounty hunter and captain of a small crew, who was her team when she was fighting in the war. Torran Fletcher was a general on The Other Side Of The War That Just Ended – with the telepathic race of that corner of the universe. He’s also very good looking, apparently, and he has enough credits to hire Tavi’s crew and ship for a mission behind ex-enemy lines to recover unknown precious cargo. All in all, a pretty cool story, a nice slow-burn romance, and interesting considerations around telepathy and consent.

This book also made me realize that I really, really enjoyed what I’d call “descriptions of domesticity in a group of adults living together” – this is also a strong background for many of Becky Chambers’ books, and possibly why I appreciate some post-apocalyptic settings where the protagonists kind of have to stick together to survive.

Again, Rachel – Marian Keyes

Twenty years after Rachel’s Holidays, Rachel has it mostly figured out, until…

Marian Keyes is one of my “auto-buy” authors. I like her blend of light and tough topics, and the fact that I can chuckle one page and wipe a tear on the next chapter. The Walsh family is pretty familiar by now (it’s the 7th book in that setting), and we’re going back to Rachel’s story. Twenty years ago, Rachel was entering rehab, “not because she has a problem, see, but…”. At the start of this book, she’s clean, in love, working as a counselor in her ex-rehab center and gardening on her free time. Until one day she gets a phone call that pulls her down memory lane.

It was a tough book at times – there are stories about addiction, and about what can drive people to that, and without spoiling things too much, you may want to have a look at content warnings if some themes are hard for you. But as it was, it was exactly what I expected from Keyes, and I immensely enjoyed reconnecting with Rachel.

For the Love of April French – Penny Aimes

A kinky romance between a Black millionaire and a trans woman; it’s actually sweeter than it is kinky, and it’s significantly kinky. Not going to say much about this one, because I’m self-conscious, but I really enjoyed it (both characters are fantastic), so it felt wrong to not even mention it 🙂

For We Are Many – Dennis E. Taylor

More Bobs, more adventures, oh my!

In the first book of the Bobiverse, we met Bob, who by a series of accidents ends up becoming the brain of a Von Neumann probe fighting against a theocracy and exploring the galaxy where no one has gone before (well, unless the apparent gazillion of other extraterrestrial lives that seem to exist in the galaxy). In For We Are Many, we follow the continued adventures of all the Bobs who, in the meantime, have solved multiple problems such as FTL communication (useful) but sometimes struggle with their different self-imposed missions. This stays a very enjoyable story, with a special mention to the audiobook narrator, Ray Porter, who gives a pretty recognizable tone and cadence to all the Bobs and all the other characters – very impressive. I am, however, not convinced by his rendition of women voices – of which there are, however, not that many (not that it’s a good thing in general, but in that case… mixed blessing, I guess 🙂 ). It made me laugh out loud more than a few times, and I’m looking forward to the third book.

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