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The Secret Books of Venus by Tanith Lee

 

All four books are set in Paradys, an imaginary city based on real life Paris, France. The Book of the Dead has vampires and cross-dressing. The Book of the Beast is my favorite (and if you only read one book in this series, you’ll want to read this one). This book follows demon possession in an old family of Paradys. The demon is awakened in a victim when they have sex for the first time and the demon can be passed to a new victim via sex. Our protagonist happens upon this curse by accident and… gets possessed! Can he be saved? Or will he die passing the demon on to a new victim? The Book of the Dead is a collection of tragic short stories. This one tends to be most readers least favorite and I think that’s because not everyone prefers short stories in general and not all short stories are created equal. I enjoyed a good portion of them but I have to agree that this is my least favorite in the series. The Book of the Mad is kind of hard to summarize. There are two dimensions of Paradys connected by a maze of ice. One dimension is deliberately crazy and the other dimension has crazy people but it isn’t really socially acceptable. At the center is this mysterious uncle who built the ice maze.

This series has some fantastical elements but it is mostly in the gothic horror genre. I recommend this series if you like (or are just in the mood for) the darker, lyrical side of character driven literature.

Top Ten Tuesday: So tell me about your mother…

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s a mom freebie! So I thought I’d write about what my mom likes to read.

First, my mom reads a ton more nonfiction than I do. Her favorite subjects, right now, include: nutrition, psychology, and religion (mostly the history).

Second, my mom reads historical romance written by Christian authors.

Third (combining the two previous), she is obsessed with nonfiction about and historical fiction set during WWII. She mostly watches documentaries but in between she’ll read books.

Fourth, there are subjects that she isn’t into right now but she will probably come back to them. Some of these subjects include: art history, travel, and beauty products.

Fifth, she read the Harry Potter series and she liked it.

The Silver Metal Lover & Metallic Love by Tanith Lee

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The Silver Metal Lover focuses on Jane, a spoiled little rich girl with a domineering mother. Jane is lonely. She has friends but she doesn’t feel close to them. Her mother is her only family and they have a complicated relationship. She also lives in a house that floats above the city.

One day she meets Silver, the robot minstrel. She becomes obsessed with him. As the story progresses she has to decide if she is really in love with a robot and whether or not he can actually love her in return.

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I can’t say too much about Metallic Love or I will spoil The Silver Metal Lover. There is a different protagonist, Loren. She grows up in the opposite situation from Jane. She’s an orphan and lives in the slums. Her personality is also different. Loren is independent, sassy. Personally, Jane was easier for me to sympathize with but Loren’s perspective was more entertaining.

I recommend this duology to people who like thought-provoking romance and would like to add science fiction to their lives.

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Wishlist

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is a reading wishlist. This topic is about what you want to see more of in books. But my mind doesn’t work like that. So I selected ten books that aren’t in my currently reading piles but I’d like to get to them soon (optimistically, by the end of this month).

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

A bunch of people have been talking about this one since it came out. From what I understand, it sounds like magical realism. There is a couple fleeing a war-torn country through magical doors. They have to face living in new countries and growing and changing as individuals. But does that mean they grow apart?

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Marlena by Julie Buntin

This one has also been very talked of since it came out. But this one is about a toxic friendship and a murder mystery?

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The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

I wasn’t blown away by her Inheritance Trilogy but a bunch of people say that this one is amazing so I want to at least give it a try.

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Delirium’s Mistress by Tanith Lee

I just finished Delusion’s Master so I’m excited to get into this one.

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The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

This one came out this year, I think. This one is about two friends who are animators and that sounds interesting to me.

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The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

I just got this in my May Book of the Month Box. I picked this one because the gal who picked it said so many glowing things about the love triangle trope being flipped on its head. I want to see what this writer chooses to do.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens and How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

These are the classics I’d like to get to soon.

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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

I’ve been more and more tempted to reread this because I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it.

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Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto

I haven’t read this one by her yet. I’m curious to see if I’ll like it. She is most famous for Kitchen but I actually like NP more.

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

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I’ll try not to spoil anything for the first book, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet but proceed with caution if you haven’t read that one yet.

Sidra is an AI programmed to handle running a space vessel and taking care of a crew but she’s been put into a mechanical body that passes for human. This is illegal.

Jane is a young girl working in a factory with multiple other girls who are named in batches and all of them are closely supervised by robots.

Sidra’s narrative is happening in the present and Jane’s narrative is set well before the present.

The Wayfarer isn’t part of either narrative. The two characters being focused on appeared in The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet but weren’t main characters.

I did like Jane’s narrative more because Sidra spends a lot of time adjusting to being in a body and not liking it. I didn’t feel like that narrative took off until the third part of the book. Jane’s narrative is about how she lives in the factory and then what she does after an accident occurs and a hole is blown through one of the walls. That story felt a lot more dynamic and compelling.

I will admit, I cried twice and I was shocked that I had that reaction but I did because I did get very attached to these characters and their relationships meant a lot to me.

But I did miss the crew of the Wayfarer.

I do recommend this book if you’ve read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet because there is a lot of heart and humor to be found here but don’t expect it to be a continuation of the Wayfarer’s journey.

Biting the Sun by Tanith Lee

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Biting the Sun is set in the future. Most of the land is an inhospitable desert except for a few cities carefully maintained, mostly, by robots. The heroine of this tale is living like a regular teenager. She’s dying to change bodies, has a robot pet that falls on her at regular intervals, gets married by the hour to have sex in floating bubbles… that sort of thing. But she isn’t really satisfied with that existence and she tries a bunch of new things seeking a purpose in life. Unfortunately, she spectacularly fails each time.

This book discusses the concepts of gender and love, even the nature of the human soul. Everything is so crazy in this futuristic world and yet it was easy for me to connect with the main character because she’s trying to figure things out and there isn’t an easy answer. It gave me a lot to think about and there were times when I wanted to cry but it also made me laugh out loud.

I highly recommend this for fans of sci-fi (or if you want to add more sci-fi to your life that isn’t dystopian). This book makes you think, as good sci-fi should, but it’s also entertaining and tends more to the positive side of human existence (without ignoring the bad).

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Tanith Lee Book Covers

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The Tanith Lee fun begins with this Top Ten Tuesday (created by the Broke and the Bookish) theme: cover freebie!

First, I love the covers by Kinuko Craft. They immediately make me think of fairy tales and epic stories.

Then I love these covers for the individual books of the Secret Books of Paradys series. They are creepy and sexy, just like the books.

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And this is one of the new covers for the new editions of this series. It kinda freaks me out, to be honest, but I do like this Impressionist-inspired style.

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This cover is super pretty and I just bought this book today… Yay!

Retro Reread #4: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

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The first time I read this, I was in elementary school and my mom was going through her collection of old books and she told me to read this one and if I liked it, I could keep it. The most emotional connection I made was with Hannah, Kit, and Prudence’s friendship. Hannah is lonely and has been regularly persecuted for being a Quaker and then she is regularly accused of being a witch. Kit has lost her grandfather and her home and has come to this harsh new place. Prudence has been badly treated by her mom and her dad doesn’t have a spine. They are all a bit different than the people around them but together they are able to be themselves and find comfort. Prudence becomes a lot stronger and happier.

The second time I read it, I did it for school. I got even more out of it then because we were discussing things as a class. That reading did focus more on how Hannah Tupper and Kit were treated especially amidst the accusations of witchcraft. Both of their lives are saved because there are people willing to stand up for what is right. That court scene still gets me in the feels.

Speaking of feels: I do like the romances in this book. I was totally rooting for Kit and Nat. I think they are fabulous individually and together. But Mercy and John’s romance grabbed at my heartstrings the most. That dramatic scene in winter between them gets me every single time.

Status: still one of my favorites. I loved it as an elementary school kid and it’s lost none of its power even though I’m reading it as an adult this time.

Top Ten Tuesday: I will be awkwardly repulsed by these things

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish. Last week the topic was centered around things that make me want to read a book. This week is the opposite: things that will make me NOT want to read a book.

Number One: I massively dislike the writing. (Passive voice, the writer can’t seem to figure out what tense their verbs should be in, their characters don’t sound like people… the list goes on and on. I want to call their editor and copy editor and give them a piece of my mind.)

Number Two: I’m just not into it right now. There isn’t anything wrong with the writing, characters, etc. I’m just not in the mood for this category, genre, or story. But I may come back to these books at a later date. This tends to happen with YA contemporary romance, sometimes the YA category in general, literary fiction (because tough subjects are a common attribute), and classics (they either need my full attention or at least a primary focus so I can comprehend what’s going on and get the deeper messages and stuff).

Three: The first chapter is a flash forward.

Four: Characters are consistently whining about something.

Five: Disturbing model covers. (Those clothes do not look lived in. That body position is unnatural. This book is about pioneers and yet somehow you have a French manicure and a spray tan… So many negative thoughts. My mom tends to read these books and I flip them over so I can’t see the front.)

Six: People describe it as being a “dystopian” or a “frightening representation of what our future is going to look like.”

Seven: “This book is the next – insert name of popular novel or series here – .”

Eight: Mention of the Fae, Sidhe, Seelie, or by any other name.

Nine: World War II

Ten: Nowadays I may hesitate if the description says it is set in Russia or an alternate Russia.

Weekly Pieces: The Classics Book Tag

Weekly Pieces Spring

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In honor of finishing Anna Karenina and my second draft I’ve decided to do this tag! (Also, I saw The Orangutan Librarian do this tag earlier this month.) (Finishing my second draft doesn’t have anything to do with this tag but I really wanted to tell you that anyway.)

First question: an over-hyped classic you really didn’t like

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Number 2: Favorite time period to read about

Heian to early Meiji Japan; The Sun King: Louis XIV, French Revolution, and Napoleon; ancient Egypt

3: Favorite fairy-tale

“The Little Mermaid” and “The Nightingale” by Hans Christian Andersen

4: Classic you are most embarrassed you haven’t read

Since I’ve finally read Anna Karenina, I had to come up with a new answer! I’m a little sad I haven’t read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall or Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte because I’ve read books by Charlotte and Emily but not either of hers.

5: Top 5 classics you would like to read soon

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (I keep meaning to read this one but I’m a little afraid of it because I know I’m going to love it.)

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (I want to read this one for a Popsugar Reading Challenge task.)

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (Love the operetta but I haven’t managed to read the book yet.)

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (The beginning of my epic reread of Dickens!)

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (This one was strongly recommended to me by a person who feels that I need to read more modern classics from across The Pond. This is one of their favorite books of all time. I will be picking it up on Monday from the library, my dear.)

6: Favorite modern book or series based on a classic

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is awesome and has some Romeo and Juliet vibes.

7: Favorite movie/TV series based on a classic

I love the BBC miniseries of Bleak House and Pride and Prejudice. I also really like the movie Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, and Hugh Grant.

8: Worst classic to movie adaptation

I do not like the movie version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley.

9: Favorite editions you’d like to collect more classics from

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I love these editions of Jane Austen’s books because they have a bunch of annotations and pictures.

I’m also intrigued by the Splinter classics with the watercolor covers.

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10: An under-hyped classic you’d recommend to everyone

I haven’t seen too many people talk about The Pickwick Papers by Dickens but I think it is super funny.

I wasn’t tagged to do this but if you want to do it… TAG YOU’RE IT!