Noisy Deadlines

readinglist

1. I Didn't Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt to Embrace the Hidden Value in Daily Life by Madeleine Dore, 304p: This was a nice read to start off the year. There were some good things to think about, the main message being: it's okay to not be perfect, we don't have to do it all. It was a nice reminder, although I felt the ideas were quite repetitive throughout the book. It's full of the author's own ruminations about productivity and her discoveries. It doesn't have anything too ground-breaking if you've been reading the most recent productivity books (such as Four Thousand Weeks). Nice read focusing on not feeling productivity guilt.

2. When Beauty Tamed the Beast (Fairy Tales #2) by Eloisa James, 384p: The first time I heard about this book I thought it was going to have some fantasy elements, since it's supposed to be a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale.  It's more like a re-imagined version in Victorian England:  Piers Yelverton (Earl of Marchan) lives secluded in this castle, he has an injured leg, he is grumpy and works as a doctor (very much like  Dr. House from the TV show); and Linnet Thrynne our heroine, is extremely beautiful but disgraced in the ton because there are rumours saying she is pregnant (outside of a married relationship). Long story short, Linnet becomes betrothed to Piers (who actually doesn't want to marry) but Piers father thinks her “pregnancy” will solve the heir problem. And then it's all about banter between Linnet and Piers and how they fall for each other against all odds. Fun and lighthearted.

3. The Ex Hex (Ex Hex #1) by Erin Sterling, 322p: This is a cozy-spooky book: a nice comfort read with witches. I liked the premise: witches trying to counteract a hex placed years ago with some hilarious consequences. I loved the cat “Sir Purrcival” and I wish there was more going on with it. The resolution felt too easy. The plot made me believe the curse had high stake consequences but by the end it was too easily solved, I think. A light, fun read with a second chance witchy romance.

4. Capture the Sun (Starlight's Shadow #3) by Jessie Mihalik, 432p: This is the third of this series, and I wasn't too thrilled about it. I think it has the same formula as the previous books and it was the weakest of the series. There was a lot of unnecessary info-dump, as I felt some world building elements were already explained in previous books. It's a fun series overall, with sci-fi and romance, but the ending in this one was kinda meh.

5. Artemis by Andy Weir, 335p: I had fun with this book! The main character (Jazz) is very resourceful, and she is not afraid of taking risks. Sometimes I would think to myself “No, Jazz, that's too risky, don' t do that!” but she has a way of analytically thinking through a situation and concocts a plan that might work (with pros and cons). I loved the maps showing Artemis and how the bubbles were connected. Andy Weir has a way of skilfully explaining scientific ideas within the characters dialogues, it's super well done!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

The Storygraph generates a Reading Wrap-Up every year with some cool stats. Here is the summary:

In 2023, I was into plot-driven relaxing, hopeful and funny reads with loveable, diverse and well-developed characters. This year I became more romance-curious, and I found out that light-hearted books made me relax.

I decided not to finish 12 of the books I picked up this year. This is an all-time record! It means I know myself a bit better, and it was easier to make the decision to dump a book without feeling guilty. I discovered I can be a mood reader sometimes, and certain types of books will not work for me in those moments. And that’s okay!

Embrace the new year with an open book! Happy 2024!! 🎉🥳

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

🎉 As the year comes to an end, I've reflected on the books that have stood out to me in 2023, particularly those I rated with five stars. Among all my 5 star books, romance novels seemed to dominate my favourites this year:

  1. Before Mars (Planetfall #3) by Emma Newman: The whole Planetfall series is amazing, but this book grabbed my attention so much that I kept thinking about it months after I finished it. This is the less cozy read of this list, but I loved the emotional and psychological depth of this book.

  2. Legends & Lattes (Legends & Lattes #1) by Travis Baldree: “A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes”. It provided a cozy and sweet escape. It was a joy to read, I felt literally hugged.

  3. Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros: Romantasy with dragons in a military school academy? I’m in! I had so much fun reading it!

  4. Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #1) by Kit Rocha: This one was a fast-paced post-apocalyptic story with romance, and I dived into this series. I enjoyed all the 3 books in the Mercenary Librarians series.

  5. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood: STEM romance at its best. Real academic background, lots of physics dad jokes, supportive relationships. I love anything this author writes, she has become a must-read for me.

  6. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg: This was my favourite non-fiction book of the year. It was filled with insightful essays that reignited my passion for writing.

In the midst of a challenging year, diving into some lighthearted romance reads was like a lifeline. With everything going on, those stories of love and connection brought some much-needed joy and simplicity into my life. It was like hitting pause on the craziness and escaping to worlds where I found joy.

These reads weren't just books; they were like a cozy hug, reminding me that even when things get tough, there's always room for a little sweetness and laughter. They were my go-to therapy, proving that, no matter what, a good book can lift the spirits and make everything feel a bit brighter.

🥳 Happy New Year!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

🍵 I took some time off from work for the Holidays, so I managed to dive into a bunch of books! These last weeks of the December brought a lot of rain (instead of snow), and I enjoyed having quiet mornings sitting in my cozy corner with a cup of tea and my e-reader. It was basically my idea of pure bliss – raindrops, good book, and zero stress.

  1. The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare, 384p: I didn’t like the main characters. The female character seemed like she didn’t have her own agency or maybe her opinions weren’t openly expressed (even in self monologues) and I missed that. I wasn’t too much into the sense of sarcastic humour in this one. It's the whole marriage-of-convenience trope, and it didn’t work that well for me.

  2. The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood And Ash #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 645p: I feel like this third book could have closed the arc with the war between Solis and Atlantia, but the author leaves the conflict for the next book. I think I got enough of this world already, and this book reveals and explains Poppy's background, and we finally discover who she really is. The world building keeps on adding more creatures and beings that were supposedly legend, but they turn out to still exist. The good thing about this one is that there are some relaxing moments where Poppy and Casteel are just having a great time together and enjoying life a little. So it's less dark than the previous ones for a while. The ending is again shocking, but this time I didn't want to continue to the next one just yet.

  3. White Trash Warlock (Adam Binder #1) by David R. Slayton, 307p: This was an easy, quick read and decent for a debut novel. It incorporates all the urban fantasy tropes I'm familiar with.  The book carries a similar vibe to The Dresden Files but with more diverse characters and a gay romance, which is refreshing.  Although there are interesting plot twists, the overall story didn't grab me too much by the end. I felt the lack of character development for Annie; we were not given insight into what she was feeling, making her seem like a voiceless character.  The book explores some dark themes, such as forced institutionalization and child abuse, which I found pulled me out of the intended joyful tone of the story. I wasn't too familiar with the whole “white trash” topic, so I learned a little bit.

  4. The Ghost Brigades (Old Man's War #2) by John Scalzi, 356p: Getting back to this series a few years after I read the first one. I enjoyed the thought experiment about transfer of consciousness and identity. It gets into these themes in an easy-to-understand way, and I had fun reading it. I want to read the next book, I think there are interesting things to be explored in this universe.

  5. Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood, 392p: A S.T.E.M. romance at its best. Real academic background, lots of physics dad jokes, slow burn romance and supportive relationships. I devoured this book in 2 days: theoretical versus experimental physics shenanigans. I think the relationship development was deep and masterfully done. A theme that spoke close to my heart was the “people pleaser” identity that Elsie was dealing with. I cried and laughed with this book. I love anything this author writes, she has become a must-read for me.

  6. The Last Colony (Old Man's War #3) by John Scalzi, 337p: I liked that this third book in the series takes us back to the protagonist of Old Man's War (John Perry) and characters from the second book (Jane Sagan and Zoe). We follow the characters in the process of starting a new colony in another planet: Roanoke. I think John Perry has always been my favourite character because of his human traits. I missed some more development about the race inhabiting the planet: it seems it could develop into a main plot issue, but it's totally forgotten at some point. There are some interesting discussions about the costs of war, colonization rights and genocide in the name of peace. These themes are never explored too deeply, making it a light and interesting read overall.

  7. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen, 352p (re-read): This is my third time reading this book, and I’ve written a series of posts with reading notes. I started my re-read back in September, I took my time, and now I’m done. I still learn a lot each time I read this book. It’s timeless!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I ended up getting into “Romantasy” vibes this month. It started with the first book of the “Blood And Ash” series, then I was intrigued to read the second book, and then I got into “The Fourth Wing” sensation. I listened to a non-fiction audiobook, and there was one fiction book I read for my book club that I didn’t enjoy. But overall, I had lots of fun with dragons and vampire-like folks!

  1. Still Distracted After All These Years: Help and Support for Older Adults with ADHD by Kathleen G. Nadeau, 288p (Audiobook): Good information, it brings successful examples of how to make life adjustments after retirement for people with ADHD. It mentions the importance of keeping a simple life, reaching out for help or support groups, exercising, diet, practising mindfulness and having social support. It gave me some insights on the difficulties adults with ADHD can face when getting older.

  2. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, 320p: The premise is beautiful, it hints at deep reflections about being human, but it didn't work for me. The dialogues were super weird and unnatural, they really bothered me. I missed more exploration of the technology behind the Artificial Friends (AF) and how they worked. Was Klara all mechanical? Was she an android? I wasn't convinced that AF's would find mystical significance in the Sun. The story hints at several themes but never really goes deep: environmental pollution, empathy, robots taking over human jobs, loneliness, gene editing, social class privilege. The plot is super simple and predictable, and the ending was very bleh.

  3. From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 613p: I just couldn't put this book down! Twisty tale. I enjoyed following the story through only one point of view (the female main character). I liked the level of suspense and how aspects of the world building are unveiled slowly. All is told through the point of view of The Maiden, our main character Poppy. She is a guarded figure in the realm, nobody can interact with her. So she doesn't know the world outside and we as readers are there with her discovering nasty secrets about the kingdom. The romance was interesting. It's not really enemies to lovers in the beginning, it's more like stranger-bodyguard romance (Hawke) that turns into enemies to lovers. [SPOILERS AHEAD! ] ===> This book had some plot twists that got me by surprise. I was expecting a typical “enemies to lovers” romance trope plot, but it actually had some surprising elements I was not expecting. The romance is not “happily ever after” in this one. I was not fully prepared for the ending. I was shocked by the final plot twist. We discover there are vampire-like and werewolf-like people in this world. Hawke was disguised as a royal guard all this time just to capture Poppy, and he is an Atlantian, aka “The Dark One” who basically wants to destroy Poppy's kingdom. Hawke turns out to be a ruthless, brutal killer. It's a very complicated relationship, and it got me curious to read the second book in the series. But I still enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would.

  4. A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood And Ash #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, 531p: This second book continues right off where the first one ends. There is a lot of world building info dump as it explains a lot more about the Atlantians, wolven bonds and Vamprys. The world of politics and magic just continues to get more complex and nuanced. The pace slows down halfway through as there is a lot of travelling and lodging. [SPOILERS AHEAD! ] ===> The main characters are on their way to Atlantia and there is time for Poppy and Casteel to reconcile, so their “reunion” didn't feel rushed or forced. I was surprised at how I changed my mind about Casteel: he turned out to be a nice guy in light of all the terrible things happening in this world. Poppy discovers that her whole life was a lie, and we see her growing, regaining her confidence and being able to express her true self. It felt to me like a “second chance” type of romance, because now Poppy knows Casteel's true identity and there is relationship development all over again. It ends with a bang, and it seems the explanation of exactly what happened in the end is in the next book. I was intrigued again!

  5. Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros, 512p: Another book that I enjoyed more than I thought I would! We follow Violet SorrengaiI when she joins the Basgiath War College to become a dragonrider in the kingdom of Navarre. All she wanted was to become a scribe, but her mother, who is a war General, forces her to join the Dragonriders Quadrant, instead of the Scribe Quadrant. Just to keep family tradition (her older siblings were also dragonriders). I feel bad about the ruthlessness nature of this military school (there are zero concerns with safety and well-being of the cadets) but I got past that. Cadets die if they make mistakes or fail the crazy challenges and tests assigned to them. They are prepared to bond with a dragon and become a rider. The bond is strong, rider and dragons can telepathically communicate. And if you're a rider and your dragon dies, you die! I'm loving the mental banter-dialogues between the riders and the dragons. The romance is a slow burn, well-developed enemies-to-lovers. It's over the top and I loved it! I definitely want to check out the second book in the series.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

What I read in October 2023

  1. Babel by R.F. Kuang, 556p: This is probably the first Dark Academia genre book I've read and although the theme is indeed dark, I'm enjoying it. It's a mixture of alternate history with fantasy and serious criticism of colonialism. It's very well written, using England's Oxford University in the 1800s as background. I liked it, even though it’s a sad book. It's sad, but it was a page turner for me (which doesn't usually happen with sad books for me). I loved the writing style, and I cared about the characters, I wanted to know what would happen to them, and that kept me going. I also enjoyed the discussions about origin of words and how they relate in different languages (etymology). I didn't think the “magic” system (silver working) was super exciting. It was subtle, and it was interesting that the author used the concept of “missed translation” between languages to create power. Cool to see a magical version of the industrial revolution, explaining why the British Empire was so much more powerful than the rest of the world. The author's time and effort put into research was obvious. It goes deep into racism and colonialism. It goes deep into privilege and wealth and power over oppressed people. Inequality. Cultural appropriation. Xenophobia.  It’s heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

  2. A Perfect Equation (The Secret Scientists of London #2) by Elizabeth Everett, 322p: Another historical romance with some modern twist. This one is about the lady mathematician Letty, and Lord Greycliff. I thought Lord Greycliff was super annoying at the beginning, although he gets better by the end. There were some fun banter moments between the two. The plot of this one was not as interesting as the first book.

  3. A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove #1) by Tessa Dare, 400p: I loved the setting: a place by the sea where unmarried women can go to restore and explore their interests, like a summer camp. They go on country walks, they go sea-bathing, they garden, they even shoot firearms! No men allowed until a group of military men reaches Spindle Cove. This was a super fun and lighthearted enemies-to-lovers trope book. I loved the writing style. This is the second romance book I read by this author (I read “Romancing the Duke” years ago) and I forgot how delightfully fun and sexy her writing was. It was the perfect fluffy read with a strong red-haired female lead (Susanna Finch) and an alpha hero who was not cringy (Bram, or the new Earl of Rycliff).

  4. The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World by Max Fisher, 389p: This is a very in depth presentation of facts on how technology can impact society and social movements. It describes in detail how Facebook aimed to increase the number of friends users had (they wanted to surpass the Dunbar limit of 150) by enforcing it through changes in their algorithms. Then it discusses the Trump election and the rise of right-wing posts, videos and groups in social media. Chapters 4 and 5 covers the rise of machine learning algorithms and how all platforms started promoting and amplifying more outrageous/radical content. And how the average user's time on these platforms skyrocketed around 2016. And then, Trump's and Bolsonaro's election in the USA and Brazil respectively, which were fuelled by social media. The rise of alt-right movements. The pandemic and all the misinformation campaigns during that period. It’s a full exposition of how social media had (and still has) real life dire consequences.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10) by Jim Butcher, 420p: I wasn't as invested in this book as the previous ones. It sure is fun and full of action, but I guess I wasn’t in the mood for so much action all at once. I can see that this book will bring serious repercussions for the plot in the future. Harry Dresden is again pushed to his limits, with overpowering supernatural entities. I was worried about a particular character's future health, something I'll have to discover in the next book.

  2. Finder (Finder Chronicles #1) by Suzanne Palmer, 400p: Space adventures of Fergus Ferguson, a finder. He just wants to find a ship and bring it back to the owner, but he ends up entangled in local affairs. Fun, light space adventure. Excellent to sit back and relax. I continued on the next in the series.

  3. Driving the Deep (Finder Chronicles #2) by Suzanne Palmer, 400p: Nice follow-up! It was cool to know more about the Shipmakers of Pluto. Interesting setting as well, deep into Enceladus thick ice sheet ocean. Fergus becomes an undercover deep ocean hauler pilot to investigate things. I thought the plot was more tidy than the first book, and it has a very satisfying ending.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

  1. Torn (The Unraveled Kingdom #1) by Rowenna Miller, 480p: This was not the book I was looking for. The blurb mentions it is French Revolution-inspired in a fictional world with magic. The magic system is interesting: a few seamstresses can cast charms into their stitches, making charm protected garments. The protagonist, Sophie, is one of those expert seamstresses and has her own business. Her brother, Kristos, is a revolutionary that wants to overthrow the monarchy (hence the French Revolution inspiration). But the revolution didn’t seem convincing. It was a bit of a slow burn towards political revolution from the POV of someone who is connected to it (Sophie) but doesn’t really want to get involved. Sophie was so reactive and her lack of agency annoyed me at times. There was not enough texture in the story to make it a compelling revolution inspired story.

  2. Bringing Down the Duke (A League of Extraordinary Women #1) by Evie Dunmore, 356p: I’m truly enjoying these historical romances with a modern twist. In this one the main character, Annabelle, is a bluestocking in 1879 studying in Oxford, who joins the suffragette movement. They are fighting to get the “Married Women’s Property Act” amended, so that women can keep their own property after marriage. Annabelle is tasked with getting the Duke of Montgomery to back the cause, and romance ensues! It has a rich plot with believable political background. Beautiful romance story with a strong female character.

  3. Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly #1) by Gail Carriger, 180p: a stand-alone romance novella set in Gail Carriger’s steampunk universe. Lady Preshea Villentia, a deadly, accomplished assassin, is hired for a job in a country house party. The plot is simple, so the story is self-contained, and the focus is the romance between Lady Villentia and Captain Gavin. Delightfully entertaining and cute.

  4. Time Surfing: The Zen Approach to Keeping Time on Your Side (Stressontknoping #1) by Paul Loomans, 176p: This book discusses how we can concentrate on doing our work intuitively. The approach suggests using to-do list as merely checklists to see if we are forgetting something. The author says he doesn’t even use lists anymore, unless he’s very busy. I liked the idea that we have to face the “gnawing rats”: all the things in our lives that we put off and which then start to “gnaw” at us. He suggests we visualize the next actions of what is worrying us, identifying what we find difficult or scary to make the solution real, and leave it to our intuition to carry out the task later. Also, lots of good ideas: do one thing at a time, give things your full attention (no multitasking), take short breaks often to recharge, practice mindfulness. Some of the ideas were familiar to me, but he manages to present them in a fresh and simple way. The illustrations are gorgeous!

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

This month I finally finished reading the Planetfall series by Emma Newman. The interesting thing about this series is that the 4 books can be read in any order because each book is set in different places and timelines. It's sci-fi with touches of thriller, mystery, psychological themes, very engaging.

If you are interested, I'd only recommend reading “After Atlas (Planetfall #2)” before “Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4)” as these two books are the only ones that are very close together in terms of timeline (Atlas Alone is a close continuation of After Atlas). My reading order was:

1. After Atlas (Planetfall #2) – Nov, 2022

2. Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4) – Apr, 2023

3. Planetfall (Planetfall #1) – Jun, 2023

4. Before Mars (Planetfall #3) – Jul, 2023

And here goes all the books I read this month:

  1. Axiom's End (Noumena #1) by Lindsay Ellis, 336p: This one is an alt-history first contact story set in 2007. I kinda liked it, it's action packed, the writing is good. The focus was more on the relationship between the main alien and the protagonist, which was well done. There is lots of focus on the communication aspect: how to develop something that translates totally different language structures and alien sounds. That was cool. I thought that the CIA agency was too nice to be true in terms of letting outsiders in and treating people nicely (for the most part). It is a page turner with cinematic action scenes.

  2. Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman, 338p: Planetfall is the first novel in the Planetfall series but I read it after “After Atlas” and “Atlas Alone”, since it is set some 20 years after “After Atlas” in the universe's timeline. It focuses on the colonists who left Earth  on a mission to find God and landed on this new planet, where there is a bio-mechanical alien structure they named “God's City”. Things get complicated when one day the grandson of the missions' leader wanders into the colony from the wilderness, having survived all these years far from the colony. The main character is Renata Ghali, an engineer knowledgeable in 3D printing. The books features anxiety disorders and extreme hoarding themes in an intimate way, all through the lens of the main character. Big secrets are revealed, with a more mystical ending than the other books in the series.  It's the slower paced book of the series.

  3. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg, 171p: I heard about this book when I was researching about a technique called free writing. This author developed this method of “writing practice” where you set a timer and free write whatever is in your mind, nonstop, flow-of-consciousness style. The book is a compilation of fun small essays about writing. It's light and amusing!

  4. Duchess by Night (Desperate Duchesses #3) by Eloisa James, 384p: This book had some interesting elements, like the main character cross-dressing pretending to be a man. That had some hilarious dialogues and situations. But romance wise, I didn't find the couple attraction convincing enough. It's a light and fun read, but I found it a bit tedious towards the end. Also, it has the very predictable trope of happily ever after with kids, which may just be in all this author's books. I picked it up because I wanted to get back into this series, but I feel like it's not my thing anymore.

  5. Before Mars (Planetfall #3) by Emma Newman, 352p: A brilliant sci-fi book with emotional and psychological depth. Set on a base on Mars, it's  a mysterious thriller with untrustworthy AI's, conspiracies, personal trauma and complex characters. We get a lot of the main character's thought process, it's very intimate. The main character is a geologist and a painter, and she struggles with her decision to leave behind her husband and her daughter on Earth to pursue a one-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. Weird things happen at the base and from the first chapter I was totally into the mystery, wanting to know what happened. It features excellent mental health representation, it's raw and real. I had tears in my eyes when I finished it.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.

I have not read any non-fiction this month! Well, I actually started an audio book called “A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence” by Jeff Hawkins but I stopped at 42% because it wasn’t catching my attention anymore. It could be I didn’t like the narrator’s voice. I’ll give up trying audio books, it’s not really my favorite format.

  1. Legendborn (The Legendborn Cycle #1) by Tracy Deonn, 511p: This one was intriguing: a secret society that hunts creatures from another dimension, in which the members are descendants of King Arthur’s knights, with magic. The Arthurian legend lore of the book was the least interesting to me. It had a well done representation of feeling of grief by the main character (Bree), who is a smart black young lady. She has just gone to university and she experiences a lot of stuff: joining a secret society, fighting demonic creatures, magic powers, discrimination, grief, learning about her ancestors struggles. I didn't see the plot twist at the end coming and it actually a delightful surprise! But it is still a YA book with its genre tropes, so it felt a tad longer than it should be to me.

  2. A.I. Apocalypse (Singularity #2) by William Hertling, 262p: I didn't like this one as much as the first one in the series. It is still a sci-fi thriller, with lots of insights into how a virus that turns into a powerful A.I.  would start evolving and basically take over all digital systems in the world, from smart devices to cars and computers. The chapters describing how the virus developed intelligence and its communication with each other were a bit boring.

  3. A Lady's Formula for Love (The Secret Scientists of London #1) by Elizabeth Everett, 336p: This was a perfect summer read. Delightful romance with a smart scientist protagonist in Victorian 1800's trying to fight patriarchy. Lady Violet Hughes is a widow who founded a secret society composed of brilliant female scientists. I love women in STEM stories! It was super fun with all these women in their 30's/40's blowing things up and inventing new things! Lady Violet is working on a confidential mission for the Crown and she needs some professional protection. That's where the body guard romance comes in: Arthur Kneland, hot scottish dude. It's more of an instant attraction trope, not slow burn at all, and it was great.  They were both mature and open with each other, I enjoyed that! There were some fun dialogues of Lady Violet explaining Avogadro's law to Arthur (or whoever was close by). I want to read more from this author.

  4. The Mimicking of Known Successes (Mossa & Pleiti #1) by Malka Ann Older, 169p: Cozy space mystery set in Jupiter. The setting is interesting: humanity has fled a dying Earth and has build rings around Jupiter with interconnecting platforms. All transportation is made through rail cars that connects to stations.  A university professor mysteriously disappears: did he jump off the rings? Was it murder or suicide? It has Sherlock Holmes vibes with Investigator Mossa and her scholar girlfriend Pleiti. Intertwined with the mystery, there are discussions about ecosystem's equilibrium and the hope to transform Earth into a habitable place again. There is also some romance but it's very subtle. The language was a bit over the top to me, too formal. It made the dialogues seem unnatural. One thing bothered me: Jupiter is 10 times bigger than Earth in diameter, and building rings going around the whole planet seems....impractical? almost impossible? It wasn't clear if those rings were actually surrounding the whole circumference of the planet.

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By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.