Some #balisebooks

Spoiler Alert / All the Feels – Olivia Dade

Contemporary romances set in the world of a successful TV series… and the fanfiction around it.

Spoiler Alert and All the Feels are both set around the same fictional TV series called Gods of the Gates, in which the male protagonists of each book are both actors and best friends. In Spoiler Alert, Marcus is also a closeted fanfiction writer – and he meets April, who’s a cosplayer in that universe. In All The Feels, Alex has some PR issues after picking a fight in a bar; he’s assigned a minder, Lauren, to make sure that he doesn’t hurt the reputation of the production any further.

I loved both books, and I enjoyed seeing these two romances bloom at roughly the same time and seeing references to the other book in both books. I laughed out loud many times, and the handling of the fanfiction element was absolutely great. I also got a lot of warm fuzzy feelings when it came to the main characters starting to accept themselves and making real progress along the book – especially since I could identify pretty strongly with one of them.

Leviathan Falls – James S.A Corey

The last book of The Expanse series yields a very satisfying ending.

There’s always a bit of anxiety involved with starting the last book of a series that one loves – will the series end in a satisfying way that gives closure and a proper goodbye for characters that have existed in one’s mind for a few years at least? I’m happy to report that Leviathan Falls is absolutely in this category. The world presented in the first book evolved a lot during the few decades spanned by the books, and yet still feels very consistent. We started with some people, met new ones, lost some along the way, got emotionally involved with a lot of them… The Expanse, to me, is much more of a “character” series than a “plot” series – not that the plot is lacking (far from it), but I’m far more involved in the characters than in the plot. And in that regard, the ending was very satisfying to me. I still have a few novellas to read in that universe – this will probably happen this year; and I also still have a few episodes of the series to watch (I love the TV series as well!); in any case, I’m happy and grateful for the hours I got to spend with these books.

Across The Green Grass Fields – Seanan McGuire

Another book of the Wayward Children series – it has HORSES! Or, well, close enough.

Many of the Wayward Children stories follow the same narrative device: a child finds a door to another world and spends a few years there. In Across the Green Grass Fields, Regan loves horses, and “her” door leads to a world full of centaurs, unicorns, kelpies and other equine species. I very much appreciated the exploration of the world and of the social conventions of Regan’s world and, as usual with this series, the whimsy of the world and the delight of the language make it a pleasure to read. I was a bit disappointed by the ending, which felt a bit rushed to me, but I was still happy to have read this installment of the series.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals – Oliver Burkeman

Life is short, task lists WILL take all the time you give them – what to do with that?

In Four Thousand Weeks, Burkeman develops the sobering idea that time management is an illusion and that there is absolutely no way of “getting everything done” – partly because the “things that need to be done” will fill up the void anyway. He finds that liberating – since there’s no way to make it so that you will DO ALL THE THINGS anyway, give up, prioritize, and do what you can – if there is not enough time for you to do all the things that you must absolutely do, then your perception of what you must absolutely do is wrong, not the other way around.

I liked the book a lot and it feels like it has a lot of interesting/challenging things to say, but that I’m not necessarily ready to hear them yet because my brain goes into an anxious loop of “I… do agree with everything you’re saying, but I REALLY DON’T WANT TO, and I really don’t know what to make of that, and ‘now what'”. That said, it was for sure interesting food for thought and it did give me ideas and insights about how I could try to make my days work better – not because it gives plans for that in any way, but because it allowed me to take a step back and see the problem differently (… we’ll see how that goes 🙂 ). I would definitely have enjoyed it more if not for my own anxious relationship with time which made that book pretty challenging for me – but this may well be a re-read later down the road.

Catching up on #balisebooks

Well look at that, summer went and came and it’s been a while since I wrote a #balisebooks post… let’s fix that, shall we? The good thing is that I didn’t read that much during these past three months, so it’s still a reasonable-sized #balisebooks 🙂 I do have, like, four longer/more time consuming books still in progress in parallel, so the next one may also either be short or delayed 🙂

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding – Jennifer Robson

A historical novel that follows the story of embroiderers working for Norman Hartnell, designer of the wedding gown of (future) Queen Elizabeth II. I reaaaaally wanted to love everything about that book, and I almost did, except for a particularly unpleasant plot point that felt… avoidable. And it is a pity, really, because if not for that plot point, that book would probably have ended up in the (tiny) list of “to re-read when I need something comforting” books. I still really liked a lot of things about that book, and in particular all the details about the embroidery work!

Persepolis Rising / Tiamat’s Wrath – James S.A. Corey

Those are the books #7 and #8 of The Expanse, and they happen after a 30-ish-year leap after the end of #6. And there is not much more than I can say without the context of the first six books, soooo… I was a bit afraid at the “ah. 30 years later. Okayyyyy” bit, because I was afraid of “losing” something, in a way. But this was still very enjoyable, very emotional at times, and I cannot wait for book #9, planned for next year. And in the meantime, I have a few short stories/novellas from the universe that I haven’t read yet, which I’m looking forward to.

Beyond Addiction – Kit Rocha

Book #5 of the Beyond post-apo romance series. Finn and Trix knew each other when they both lived in Sector Five and were both addicts; Trix got out (and ended up with the O’Kanes in Sector Four), Finn thinks she’s dead… until she get kidnapped back to Sector Five. The backstory is still great, I liked the couple of this book, the steamy scenes are, well, exactly that (although I have some reservations about a specific one, but eh), what more do you want? 🙂

Radicalized – Cory Doctorow

These are four novellas set in societies that are juuuust different enough from ours to call them dystopias, and definitely close enough that they’re scary. In Unauthorized Bread, Salima, who’s a refugee, finds ends up needing to hack her toaster oven, because the company that makes it gets bankrupt. Trouble ensue. Model Minority is a re-take on Superman (vs police racism and brutality) – I must say I don’t remember much of that story, actually. In Radicalized, the lack of universal health care leads to people organizing and planning terrorist attacks. And The Masque of the Red Death is a story about a post-apocalyptic bunker community. All in all, four very solid stories – with enough humor that they are not thoroughly depressing. The politics are Not Subtle, but then you don’t read Doctorow if you have something against Not Subtle Politics 😉

The Headspace Guide to Meditation & Mindfulness – Andy Puddicombe

Headspace is one of the meditation apps I use (less often than I want to these days, but oh well), and Andy Puddicombe is the face (and voice) of that app. That book explains the approach and sprinkles it with a number of anecdotes, making it very approachable and funny. I probably would have benefited from this book more if not after hours of Headspace-the-app. Still – good reminders, pleasantry written, some funny anecdotes 🙂

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers

A chronicle about a long-term space mission – 4 people on a starship, exploring 4 very different planets. It has a solid, competent crew, and science, and feels, and it feels so much longer (in a good way!!) than the small amount of pages, and it’s lovely, and am I fangirling a little bit too hard here? naaaahhh…

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

That one is a (re-)re-read; Becky Chambers got a Hugo for the Wayfarers series, so I re-read that one for celebration. This is the third time I read it in less than three years (which is very rare in these days of book abundance), and I still love it a little bit more every time. I expect I’ll re-read the two others of the series before the end of the year.

And since apparently I haven’t talked about this book here yet, and it’s one of my favorite books of all times, let’s fix that! This is the story of the crew of the Wayfarer, a tunneling ship: they punch holes in space-time to make space travel shorter. And they get hired to go punch in a place that doesn’t have a tunnel yet, for a trip that’s roughly a year long. The whole thing reads like a VERY wholesome Firefly, and is my personal own equivalent of a cup of thick, hot chocolate in a pillow fort.

Lake Silence – Anne Bishop

I discovered Anne Bishop with her Others series – a urban fantasy series with shapeshifters and vampires and the like, but where the “usual” dynamics is flipped: the Others own the lands, the humans are barely tolerated, and they’d better not misbehave, unless they really want to end up Deceased, Location Unknown.

Lake Silence’s world is the same as the one from The Others, which I quite liked, but in a different community and with a different set of characters. And… I was not convinced. I still like the idea of the world, but I didn’t manage to get enthusiastic about that installment – I was actually quite bored (it felt repetitive), considered several times to not finish it, and all in all that was a disappointment.

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language – Gretchen McCulloch

A very neat book about the internet, as viewed by a linguist. It has chapters about the tone of writing, punctuation, emojis, memes, conversations… and it’s generally delightful, I learnt a ton of things, it made me giggle more than a few times, and it was all in all a great, informative read.

#balisebooks – April/June 2019

Version française ici : #balisebooks – Avril-Juin 2019

Two #balisebooks in one because of traveling and other adventures!

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe – Alex White

Protagonist 1, Nilah, a very pampered racing driver who ends up on the wrong side of a conspiracy. Protagonist 2, Boots, who sells creatively enhanced salvage/treasure maps. Both end up, because reasons, on a wild goose chase for a legendary warship, while being hunted by a Big Bad.

I kind of believe that I would have liked this more at a different time. There’s honestly a lot of good things in there, and a lot of things I’d enjoy normally – I quite liked the characters, and I think the story was pretty good, but…. I don’t know. I think it felt messy and rushed, for some reason, and I really had a hard time finishing it.

Tell Me Three Things – Julie Buxbaum

Jessie’s dad just moved to L.A., so Jessie is the new kid in a very intimidating high school. Luckily for her, she soon starts receiving anonymous e-mails from one of her schoolmates who decided to help her navigate the whole thing. Not hugely believable for a few reasons, but a fun, lighthearted and cute read that put me in a very good mood.

Dear Mrs. Bird – A.J. Pearce

During WW2 in London, Emmy accidentally becomes typist for a woman’s advice column. Said advice column is supposed to stay Proper and to not contain any Unpleasantness – but Emmy starts secretly writing back to the letters that are not to her boss’ liking but that she still feels require an answer.

This felt like a nice premise, but I was a bit disappointed. The story was mostly about Emmy and what would go wrong if she ever got discovered, whereas I was almost expecting an epistolary novel that would be more centered around the people writing to her. I may have liked it better with the right expectations, but I may not have read it with the right expectations 🙂

Bad Astronomy – Philip Plait

I mostly heard of Phil Plait because of his Astronomy Crash Course – which I haven’t taken the time to watch yet. Since books are more “my” medium than video, Bad Astronomy had been on my to-read list for a while too, but I eventually read it 🙂 Plait goes through a number of “myths” surrounding astronomy, from bad explanations of how tides actually work to astrology, and corrects them. I had never heard some of these myths, so it made for a somewhat bizarre read at times 🙂

Generally speaking, a very good pop science book. I would have appreciated a liiiittle BIT more maths/physics. Typical example – at some point he talks about orbital energy, and I ended up looking that up for myself – so, in a sense, good that it gave me the taste for it enough; in another, slightly frustrating that it wasn’t just a little bit more “here’s the equation” content. Still – I learnt stuff, and I want to dig more in the topic – so that’s definitely a good thing 🙂

Except the Dying – Maureen Jennings

I have a huge fondness for the Canadian series Murdoch Mysteries, and the series credits that series of books, so it was kind of a given that I’d end up digging into them. William Murdoch is an acting detective (detective, in the series) in Toronto in the late 1800s and, well, solves crimes. This one has to do with a young woman found dead, naked in the snow – who is she, how did she end up in that situation? While the book version of Murdoch is grittier and apparently far less nice, the book was still quite entertaining and enjoyable.

L’École des soignantes – Martin Winckler

(no English translation yet)

It had been a while since I had read Martin Winckler! L’École des soignantes takes place in 2039, and is essentially a medical utopia (with a touch of sci-fi), following the main character, Hannah, during their training in an unusual medical unit. A number of reviews reproach Winckler to lay it on thick with regards to his agendas (standards of care, feminism, medical training), but to me that’s expected and welcome. So, all in all: exceeded expectations (because I got what I came for, and on top of that I really liked the ending).

Say Yes to the Marquess – Tessa Dare

Clio has been engaged for 8 years, and decided she’s had enough and to break the engagement. Her betrothed is abroad, and left his business with his brother – so that’s the person Clio tries to convince to sign the papers to get her freedom back. Shenanigans ensue, including plans for a brewery.

This was exactly what I needed at that time – a nice story with likable protagonists, the promise of a Happily Ever After, and still enough tension to not be ENTIRELY SURE what the HAE actually will be. Really liked it!

Babylon’s Ashes – James S.A. Corey

6th book of The Expanse, where we deal with the aftermath of the previous book events, try to handle the politics (or lack thereof) of the new faction in play, and generally try to do the Right Thing™ at interplanetary scale.

I thought this one was a bit slow to start, and it took me a little while to warm to it, but eventually it picks up the pace and continues telling the story of the Rocinante, its crew, its friends and foes. (And I really kind of want to ship with these people. Yeah, despite all the unpleasant events.)

The Governess Game – Tessa Dare

Another Tessa Dare – I was in the mood for something lighthearted, and I got that in The Governess Game 🙂 Alexandra sets clocks to Greenwich time, and gets almost accidentally hired as a governess for two little girls that are wards of a duke, into whom she had bumped a few months earlier at the bookshop. This was a super fun read – the children were fun, Alex has somewhat of a Mary Poppins streak to her (and chases comets), but I think it lacked a bit of tension/conflict towards the end. Still, thoroughly enjoyable.

#balisebooks – March 2019

(Version française ici : #balisebooks – Mars 2019)

Wicked Sweet – Chelsea M. Cameron

Dove is a student in business school, and she has A Plan for what happens next – she works at developing her own personal brand, and she works as a media consultant to pay her bills. And then one day, her high school arch-nemesis, Seven, appears in the same college, and they end up needing to cooperate on a school project. Seven also has A Plan: she eventually wants to open a goth-themed bakery, and she needs a bit of help testing her creations. Wicked Sweet is a super cute romance book and I really enjoyed it – it may lack a bit in the “plot” and “tension” department, but I really liked the characters 🙂

Happiness for Humans – P.Z. Reizin

Jen works for a software company: she talks to their star AI, Aiden, to teach it (or him) how to interact with people. Tom is a writer, and he also gets the attention of Aiden. Eventually, they both receive a e-mail from a mysterious “common friend” suggesting they should meet. The whole concept of a rom-com where AIs play a large role is pretty fun, and it’s mostly well-implemented in Happiness for Humans. But I was very disappointed by a couple of clichés that annoyed me to no end (specifically, the fact that software engineers are considered as “not entirely humans”, and referring to women as “the opposite species”… ugh.), making my reading of the book far less enjoyable than it could have been.

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t – Nate Silver

I didn’t finish this one – mostly because I needed to look forward to my commute reading at that time, and I wasn’t looking forward to continue reading this, because it felt fairly dry and the chapters were longer than my attention span. I think this is mostly a timing issue for me.

Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

A story that starts with nine people gathering in a luxury health resort, all with their history and their hope for transformation and a better life. The owner of the health resort is convinced to be able to help them – as long as the customers follow her lead. I liked the setting and most characters (although I had a hard time not conflating a couple of them because I messed up the name/character associations in my head), some parts made me chuckle, and some parts got a tear. I’m not necessarily convinced by the major plot point, but generally speaking it was a very pleasant read, and probably exactly what I needed then. Also: I actually missed my train stop the other day because I was distracted by my reading, which is probably a good sign for the book.

Nemesis Games – James S.A. Corey

Fifth book of The Expanse, the series that keeps delivering, even after 2800+ pages. The book starts with the Rocinante crew all getting on their merry way for various (temporary) reasons, and all ending up getting involved in various adventures and catastrophes. Nemesis Games is more centered on the “original cast” than the previous book, which I liked, because it was nice to have a bit more familiarity with the characters considering the large dramatic scale of the plot. To me, this series of books stays very solid; not necessarily very original or mind-blowing, but consistently good and worth reading, which is a feat in itself.

Geek Girl – Holly Smale

Harriet is a (very) geeky/nerdy highschooler who gets unexpectedly hired to be a fashion model. This is not the kind of premise where you expect a very believable book – and even under this assumption, I found myself requiring a higher effort than usual at suspension of disbelief. It was still pretty fun, and there were a few funny moments and a few touching moments, but there was definitely too much eye-rolling from my side to consider reading the second one any time soon.

La Papeterie Tsubaki – Ito Ogawa

This one is a Japanese book, that I read in French translation (there’s no English translation that I know of). The narrator, Hatoko, is a young woman who runs a stationary shop and who works as a public writer/calligrapher for people who have a hard time expressing what they want to say on paper. Most of the book, over the span of a year, is about the encounters between Hatoko and her customers, and the relationship of Hatoko with her trade – how she chooses her paper, ink, writing style to make the written word come to life. It’s a very contemplative and slow book, and it’s quiet and soothing. On a slightly negative standpoint, I was surprised by a few turns of sentences and choices of words, and dialogues sometimes felt weird. But generally speaking I really, really loved this book.

#balisebooks – February 2019

(Version française ici : #balisebooks – Février 2019)

Short month, short #balisebooks!

Slayer – Kiersten White

I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer… the TV series, that is. I could never quite get into the comics – to my great dismay, because I really want to know the story, but comics are definitely not my medium of choice. So you’ll understand my excitement when I heard “this is a novel set in the canon timeline of BTVS, although with a different cast of characters”. The hype was real, and I was in the mood for a lighter read, so I picked Slayer pretty close to its publication date.

Besides the initial premise, we meet Nina and her twin sister Artemis, both part of a larger “Watcher Academy” that aims at training Watchers for Slayers, as well as providing some infrastructure and services. The plot then loosely follows the structure of a long BTVS episode, or maybe a long multi-episode arc. I had initial misgivings at the beginning of the book: Nina hates Buffy and Slayers in general, and I think that, if the tone there and the amount of repetitive brooding had stayed the same, it would have been a problem. But the pace eventually picked up, and gave way to what really felt like a multi-episode arc story, with demons, villains, libraries, family and friendly relationships, and a non-zero amount of wit.

All in all, I enjoyed Slayer, and I think it’s a good addition to the BTVS canon. Looking forward to the next one! (Also: in the meantime, I started re-watching Buffy :P)

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste – Bianca Bosker

Cork Dork is a memoir about the journey of Bianca Bosker, initially a tech reporter, who made her way through the world of wine tasting and wine serving. She recounts how she came to that idea, the people she met, all the things she learnt about wine, and how she went from basically “yup, that’s wine, and I think it’s white wine” to taking a Master Sommelier exam within a bit more than a year.

Bosker makes her journey memorable – she’s not afraid to show how clueless and clumsy she may have been, but she shows tremendous grit and a real passion for her topic. I’m thoroughly impressed and a little bit jealous 🙂 She also gives some actionable information about how to get better at smelling and tasting things, and I’m intrigued enough that I may give some of them a try. (Hell, I went to the restaurant the other day and I did choose the wine glass I really didn’t know on the menu, so there’s that 😉 ). Her writing is very engaging, although I found myself slightly distracted at times when I literally heard a few “transition questions” read in my mind by Carrie Bradshaw 😛

I thoroughly enjoyed Cork Dork: it opened the door to a world I do not know, and made me want to hazard a foot through it 🙂

Meet Me at the Museum – Anne Youngson

Tina, a farmer’s wife in England, writes a letter to a museum in Denmark, and the curator of the museum, Anders, answers her letter. It’s the start of a long correspondance that constitutes the whole book.

I haven’t read that many epistolary novels, but I seem to enjoy the form a lot – maybe I should read more of them 🙂 In this one, I liked the fact that the people involved are complete strangers at the beginning of the book and in pretty different places, which is a perfect justification for very vivid descriptions as the writers explain their environment to each other. Generally speaking, the writing is beautiful and the voices of Tina and Anders are pretty distinct. The first 80% felt very sweet and very restful to me, although by no mean boring. I was, however, not happy with the developments of the last 20% of the book (although I liked the very end), because I felt that the tone became suddenly more judgmental and I didn’t care for that; that part also felt more rushed and I didn’t care for that either.

Everything considered, it was still a “more than 80% positive read”, but I’m sad that the part I didn’t like really didn’t work for me.

Cibola Burn – James S.A. Corey

The titles of the Expanse books’ series are somewhat cryptic, and Cibola Burn is not an exception – and on top of that, I cannot read that and not think “cinnamon buns”. There, you’re welcome.

This is the fourth book of The Expanse, and the premise of it is very much a spoiler on the previous book – I don’t see how I can avoid that if I want to explain the premise. So, beware:


The Ring from the previous book ended up being an inter-solar system traveling gate, so we’re going to (larger) space today! I must admit I was a bit disappointed by that development in the previous book – I really liked, in the first three books, that the plot stayed in our solar system. Hence, I was afraid to not like this one as much as the previous ones. I shouldn’t have feared: I actually liked it better than the third one.

So, a bunch of people have rushed through the gate and started a colony on Ilus / New Earth; since the planet is rich in lithium, it is also very relevant to corporate interests. Said corporate interests are RCE, and they have a Proper Colonization Charter, and they’re not going to get stopped by a bunch of squatters on The Planet That’s Rightfully Theirs. The situation escalates, and Jim Holden and his crew are sent to try to de-escalate.


We get a fair amount of what made the first books memorable: the mix of old friends and new characters, the multiple point of views narration, the drama and action (although the scale seems reduced here). The setting is basically “frontier, but IN SPACE and with SCIENTISTS”, and it was very enjoyable. Cibola Burn was hard to put down (I may or may not have made the VERY BAD DECISION to finish it last night and to continue reading past midnight) and managed the transition to the larger setting flawlessly. It can feel somewhat formulaic at times, but the formula definitely works for me, so everything’s shiny.

#balisebooks – January 2019

Ce post est traduit en français ici : #balisebooks – Janvier 2019

Let’s try a new format where I try to write a #balisebooks a month (and to write it as I go so that I can publish it on the last day of the month 🙂 ).

Un Cowboy à Paris – Achdé and Jul (in English: A Cowboy in Paris) – the latest Lucky Luke album, where Luke meets Bartholdi and Eiffel (and, indeed, travels to Paris). A very entertaining read: I laughed out loud more than a couple of times 🙂

Glamour in Glass – Mary Robinette Kowal – second book of the Glamourist series. It’s in the direct continuity of the first one, so the general mood and characters are the same. I liked it more than the first one: there’s more exciting stuff happening around the magic system, there’s more action, there’s less “will they/won’t they”. And there’s a couple of tough decisions and tough situations that are, in my opinion, very well handled.

Factfulness – Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund – I wanted to start 2019 with an optimistic read, so I picked Factfulness just after midnight on January 1st. I had put Factfulness on my “to-read” list after reading Bill Gates writing about it (Why I want to stop talking about the “developing” world) – did I already mention that I quite enjoy Bill Gates book reviews? Factfulness is a nice, short read about “facts about the world you probably have wrong”. The main thesis of the book is “the world is actually getting better; it’s also been getting better for a while, and in particular since you’ve been taught about it in school.” Rosling is very careful to not say that things are not bad, but as he mentions several times, “being bad and getting better are not contradictory”. He also explains a number of biases and ways people react to things that can make them see the world as worse than it is, and getting worse. I did like that book, and it fulfilled its goal of “starting 2019 on an optimistic note”; it’s however probably a fairly short-lived book, because the data and facts that it relies on are probably getting old fairly quickly as well.

Caliban’s War – James S.A. Corey – the second book of the Expanse series. I watched the first season on Netflix, I read the first book, I watched the second season a while ago, I read the second book… and I started the third one just after that (note: this typically doesn’t happen, I usually like a small break between two books of a series, if only as a palate cleanser). The Expanse is a series of books that take place in a few hundreds of years: humanity has conquered the solar system and put bases in a fair amount of places. There’s basically three “factions”: Earth, Mars, and the Belters – who, for the most part, were born in low-gravity and can’t really expect to ever go planet-side. In that universe, we follow among others a team of people led by Jim Holden, idealistic to the point of clumsiness, who ends up at the core of a number of large-scale incidents involving events way beyond his pay grade. In Caliban’s War, he’s mostly busy with finding the kid daughter of a scientist, who disappeared during one of those large-scale incidents. I really, really liked Caliban’s War – for me it’s just the sweet spot between world building, politics and action; the writing is very engaging, and I like the multiple point-of-views structure. Highly recommended (but start with the first one – Leviathan Wakes).

Abaddon’s Gate – James S.A. Corey – the third book of the Expanse series. It starts a few months after the end of the second one, and a mysterious ring appeared somewhere on the orbit of Uranus. And circumstances conspire such that the Rocinante and its crew end up being part of a flotilla of ships that go study it – and get into unforeseen problems. This was still good, but I liked it somewhat less than the previous one. I liked the newly introduced characters, but I missed a few from the previous books. The plot rhythm stayed on par with the previous one, even if the plot itself was less to my liking – I was bothered by the “mysticism” that shrouded parts of the plot, and I literally flinched at some unpleasant parts of the it. The latest chapters did make me raise an interested eyebrow and I’m looking forward to the fourth book (I’ll have a break before I start with the fourth one, though 🙂 ).

Harry’s Trees – Jon Cohen – Harry is an employee of the US Forest Service – a job that, to his deep regret, doesn’t have much to do with trees. And his wife dies in a very sad freak accident. Amanda is a nurse who lives in a forest house – and her husband dies with a very sad aneurysm. Her daughter, Oriana, is still hoping that her dad will come back, and retreats in a world of fairy tales. Until Harry and Oriana meet – and the fairy tale becomes a little more real. This was such a beautiful book – I loved it. First, it has a lot of trees, and a lot of love for trees, and I like trees. Then, it has just enough magic to be magic enough without being completely unrealistic. And there are books, and a library (and its librarian), and fairy tales… and more trees.

And if you were to read only one of these… Harry’s Trees.