Tag Archives: Kalan Chapman Lloyd

2016 Discovery Challenge – How Did I Do?

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After reading Jo Hall’s post here, I decided to join this challenge and set myself the target of reading and reviewing at least two books a month by women authors I’ve not previously encountered. For a variety of reasons, 2016 proved to be my best reading year, ever. So I actually read and reviewed 45 books by women I haven’t read before. There were so many great authors in that group and my top five are included in my outstanding books of 2016 – see here. So I want to feature my top five very near misses in no particular order:-

Radiance by Cathrynne M. Valente
radianceI enjoy being a Netgalley reader – it pushes me out of my comfort zone every so often. I’m not sure I would have picked up this offering if it hadn’t been on offer, given the description was a decopunk pulp SF alt-history space opera mystery set in a Hollywood-and solar system-very different from our own. Severin Unck’s father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father’s films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. For this is not our solar system, but one drawn from classic science fiction in which all the planets are inhabited and we travel through space on beautiful rockets. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.

For starters, this is a novel with a fractured timeline, so the story skips around and is told in a mixture of interviews, gossip and through extracts of old classic film, among other narrative modes. Therefore you need to pay attention. Initially I wondered what I was getting myself into – for the sheer oddness of the world wasn’t anything I was prepared for, given that I’m allergic to reading any kind of blurb. Was it worth the effort? Oh, yes.

 

Machinations – Book 1 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone
The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the machinationsendless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race. A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself. Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

I also read and reviewed the second book, Counterpart in this intriguing series. There are indications that Stone is still feeling her way – this is, after all, her debut novel and the machines weren’t particularly vividly drawn – but I have never read a book where the issue of cloning has been so thoroughly and emotionally examined. Despite its flaws, this one has stayed with me.

 

The Fettered Flame – Book 2 of the Shkode series by E.D.E. Bell
thefetteredflameThe Fettered Flame is a genre-bending fantasy novel that continues the saga of two dying worlds, plagued by their own unique struggles for power. Follow the journeys of Cor – a woman striving to understand her powers of magic and how the connect to her past, Atesh – her contemplative dragon companion, and Jwala – a dragon plunged into a rebirth of ancient ideals. The Fettered Flame is the second instalment in the Shkode trilogy: a quirky and modern take on dragons and wizards, exploring themes of identity, prejudice, violence, compassion, and the ways we are all connected.

I was sufficiently impressed to seek out the first book, The Banished Craft, in this science fiction/fantasy mashup. The blurb may sound a bit gushy, but it is spot on. This is epic fantasy with a sci fi twist and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment when it is released as I love the characters and Bell’s quirky, insightful take on the world she has created.

 

Rosemary and Rue – Book 1 of the Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire
October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. rosemaryandrueAfter getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

I loved McGuire’s writing and went on to read her wonderful novella Every Heart a Doorway. One of my promises to myself is to continue reading more of the Toby Daye series in 2017.

 

Rebel of the Sands – Book 1 of the Rebel of the Sands series by Alywn Hamilton
rebelofthesandsMortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from. Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk, but things don’t go according to plan…

Hamilton’s punchy, accomplished writing grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go until the end of this adrenaline-fuelled ride. Amani is a feisty heroine who attracts trouble like iron filings to a magnet and I found this one really hard to put down until it was finished and am very much looking forward to reading the sequel.

 

Given I nearly doubled the target number of women authors I read and reviewed, should I increase my goal for 2017? I’ve decided against doing so. One of the reasons why 2016 was such a bumper reading year was because I wasn’t writing. Editing and rewriting, yes – but I wrote nothing new. So reading became a refuge that I don’t normally crave so intensely as diving into a new world of my own for the first time tends to thoroughly tick that box. Therefore, I shall launch my 2017 Discovery Challenge with the target of reading and reviewing at least two books a month by women writers previously unknown to me. And if I have half as much joy in the coming year as I’ve had reading this year’s offerings, I shall be very happy, indeed.

What about you? Did you set yourself any reading challenges in 2016 – and if so, how have you got on? Do you intend to continue them into 2017?

Discovery Challenge Books I Read in 2016
1. The Puppet Boy of Warsaw by Eva Weaver
2. Truthwitch – Book 1 of the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard
3. Gold, Fame, Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Book 1 of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
5. Heart of Obsidian – Book 12 of the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
6. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
7. Rosemary and Rue – Book 1 of the Toby Daye series by Seanan McGuire
8. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
9. The Sector – Book 1 of the Non-Compliance series by Paige Daniels
10. Brink’s Unfortunate Escape from Hell – Prequel to the Skycastle series by Andy Mulberry
11. The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Geen
12. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
13. Cinder – Book 1 of the Luna Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
14. Bright Blaze of Magic – Book 3 of the Black Blade series by Jennifer Estep
15. A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott
16. Queen of Hearts – Book 1 of the Queen of Hearts saga by Colleen Oakes
17. The Outliers – Book 1 of The Outliers trilogy by Kimberley McCreight
18. The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling
19. Banished – Book 1 of the Blackhart trilogy by Liz de Jager
20. The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
21. Change of Life – Book 2 of a Menopausal Superhero by Samantha Bryant
22. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg
23. Speak by Louisa Hall
24. Inborn – Book 1 of The Birthright series by Amy Saunders
25. Machinations – Book 1 of The Machinations series by Hayley Stone
26. Woman of the Hour by Jane Lythell
27. Shift by Em Bailey
28. An Accident of Stars – Book 1 of The Manifold Worlds series by Foz Meadows
29. Across the Universe – Book 1 of the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
30. The Thousandth Floor – Book 1 of The Thousandth Floor series by Katherine McGee
31. The Changeling by Christina Soontornvat
32. The Fettered Flame – Book 2 of the Shkode series by E.D.E. Bell
33. Aveline – Book 1 of The Lost Vegas series by Lizzy Ford
34. Escapology by Ren Warom
35. So Many Boots, So Little Time – Book 3 of the MisAdventures of Miss Lilly series by Kalan Chapman Lloyd
36. The Imlen Brat by Sarah Avery
37. Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb
38. A Darker Shade of Magic – Book 1 of the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
39. Synners by Pat Cadigan
40. Renting Silence – A Roaring Twenties Mystery by Mary Miley
41. Split the Sun – Book 2 of the Inherit the Stars duology by Tessa Elwood
42. Rebel of the Sands – Book 1 of the Rebel of the Sands series by Alwyn Hamilton
43. Ever the Hunted – Book 1 of the Clash of Kingdoms series by Erin Summerill
44. The City of Ice – Book 2 of the Gates of the World series by K.M. McKinley
45. Graveyard Shift – Book 10 of the Pepper Martin series by Casey Daniels

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*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL*Review of KINDLE Ebook So Many Boots, So Little Time –Book 3 of The MisAdventures of Miss Lilly series by Kalan Chapman Lloyd

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I needed a change, thought the blurb sounded entertaining and so went for it. It’s certainly a change of genre and pace from my normal speculative fiction fare…

somanybootsSmall-town lawyer Lilly Atkins has calmed down. She’s doing yoga, her hair is relatively tame, and she hasn’t shot anyone in a while. But with bad boy Cash Stetson out of rehab, former FBI agent-turned-attorney Spencer Locke dogging her steps, and a ghost from her past who just won’t go away, her trigger finger is starting to itch.

Chapman Lloyd’s snappy writing is engagingly readable and she pulled me effortlessly into Lilly’s mid-western world of cowboys, ranches where men are rough and tough, guns are an everyday accessory and women are judged as much by their baking and cooking skills as their appearance. And appearance matters a lot to Lilly. Unusually these days, we get a rundown of everyone’s clothing and footwear as Lilly meets up with them – every time… To be honest, this got a tad wearing throughout the book. Especially as Lilly’s crisis of confidence on being confronted with the two main failed relationships in her life manifests itself in her trying on a number of different clothing styles. While the clothing descriptions were slickly done, because I have little interest in the clothing industry and even less knowledge – the designer labels regularly tossed around meant nothing to me.

The main mystery – the loss of her grandfather’s cattle – became more or less incidental as Lilly ricocheted from one encounter with a concerned parent/disapproving friend/manipulative male to another confrontation. Think Kinsey Milhone without the gnarly murder and in airhead mode. I would have liked to see her working on a case as an attorney where something really mattered, because as far as I could see, she didn’t do very much except get under the feet of her family and annoy long-suffering Spencer.

It didn’t help that this copy was riddled with formatting and typographical errors – on accepting an arc one doesn’t expect a perfect copy, but there was hardly a page where words weren’t run together, lines broken in the wrong place or occasional punctuation errors. While Chapman Lloyd’s writing is mostly smooth and stylish, there were places where it plain graunched, giving me the impression this version had only been slightly edited.

So why didn’t this book go flying across the room and end up as a DNF? Because, despite all of that, Chapman Lloyd managed to make me care for exasperating Lilly and I found all the worldbuilding details enjoyably engrossing. There is a definite charm to this book and once I got to the end, I put it down with a grin.
7/10

Sunday Post – 16th October

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Sunday PostThis is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Again, this has been a far less frenetic week. I finally completed the line edit on Netted and sent it off. 100_5156Yay! Fingers crossed that it meets with approval… Fitstep and pilates classes are going very well – I’m 100_5166delighted to find I continue to be able to do exercises which a year ago, I couldn’t get near. Himself and I went for a lovely walk last Sunday and were inspired to repeat this during the week, while still enjoying the amazing weather. These pics were taken last Tuesday morning during a wonderful walk along the beach.

On Thursday, Mhairi came over again and spent the day. During the evening we attended the West Sussex Writers monthly talk, given this time around by the awesome Ben Galley who came to tell us all bengalleyabout self-publishing. He took us for a brisk gallop through how to get hold of effective editors, demystified the process of buying and using ISBNs, gave top tips on how to get the best out of a cover artist – along with a slew of facts and figures on the advantages of going the indie route. As he has successfully published two fiction series, a how-to book, a graphic novel and four children’s books, as well as running a consultancy on self publishing, he was very well placed to answer all the questions asked about the subject. It was one of the most informative talks we’ve ever had at West Sussex Writers. To round it off, Caron Garrod – one of my students – read out her winning entry in the WSW Novel Opening Competition judged by Jane Lythell. It was a marvellous evening.

This week-end I’m grannying again as the children are once more with us – it great to be able to see them on a regular basis, so we get a chance to catch up on how they are getting on at school. As well as keeping tabs on their latest hobbies and enthusiasms – it all seems to change so much at their age…

This week I have read:
Counterpart – Book 2 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone
Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought backcounterpart to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good. But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.
This gripping apocalyptic adventure has produced the most interesting, nuanced examination of what it means to be a clone that I’ve read in a long, long time.

 

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden
knightsoftheborroweddarkDenizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought. . . On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. And on the journey Denizen discovers there are things out there that by rights should only exist in storybooks – except they’re all too real.
I really enjoyed this gripping children’s book, where the knights are skilled in magic and sword fighting, but traumatised and battle-weary and thirteen-year-old Denizen is suitably chippy. And we are never allowed to forget that violence and revenge exact a very high price…

 

So Many Boots So Little Time – Book 3 of The MidAdventures of Miss Lilly by Kalan Chapman Lloyd
Small-town lawyer Lilly Atkins has calmed down. She’s doing yoga, her hair is relatively tame, and she somanybootshasn’t shot anyone in a while. But with bad boy Cash Stetson out of rehab, former FBI agent-turned-attorney Spencer Locke dogging her steps, and a ghost from her past who just won’t go away, her trigger finger is starting to itch.
This offering is a real change of pace and genre for me – something I felt I needed. The emphasis on clothes and looks was slightly exasperating and I hadn’t appreciated just how much of the plot was devoted to Lilly’s love life. That said, it was a charming, light-hearted read that put a smile on my face.

 

Penric’s Demon – a World of the Five Gods novella by Lois McMaster Bujold
penricsdemonOn his way to his betrothal, young Lord Penric comes upon a riding accident with an elderly lady on the ground, her maidservant and guardsmen distraught. As he approaches to help, he discovers that the lady is a Temple divine, servant to the five gods of this world. Her avowed god is The Bastard, “master of all disasters out of season”, and with her dying breath she bequeaths her mysterious powers to Penric. From that moment on, Penric’s life is irreversibly changed, and his life is in danger from those who envy or fear him.
I’m a massive fan of this author’s writing – and this is a treat. I loved this one – classic Bujold. And the best news of all – there’s another novella in this series which is on my TBR list waiting for me to get to it…

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 9th October

Shoot for the Moon Challenge 2016 – September Roundup

Teaser Tuesday – featuring So Many Boots, So Little Time by Kalan Chapman Lloyd

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Counterpart – Book 2 of the Machinations series by Hayley Stone

Favourite Time Travelling Novels – Part 1

Friday Faceoff – There was once a princess who lived in the highest tower… featuring Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Review of Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Five Interesting Facts about Samuel Pepys https://interestingliterature.com/2016/10/14/five-fascinating-facts-about-samuel-pepys/ Those marvellous folks at Interesting Literature came up with yet another fascinating article.

Reading in Bed https://randombookmuses.com/2016/10/14/musing-reading-in-bed/
An ongoing problem in my life…

Writers, Please Eat a Snickers and Chill the Hell OUT – Sincerely Writers https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/10/13/writers-please-eat-a-snickers-and-chill-the-hell-out-sincerely-readers/ Kristen Lamb calls time on the unpleasant, ranting behaviour on social media

Keeping Children Safe With Technology – https://wandaluthman.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/keeping-children-safe-with-technology/ Wanda Luthman warns of a new, worrying development that can cause havoc in the wrong hands – Burn Note

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

Teaser Tuesday – 11th October, 2016

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Teaser

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my choice of the day:
So Many Boots So Little Time – Book 3 of The MisAdventures of Miss Lilly series by Kalan Chapman Lloyd
3% I took a right at the last stoplight on the edge of town and hit the gas a little harder on the long somanybootsstretch toward a dirt-road turnoff, anxious to find out what the hell was going on at home. I rounded a curve topping the hill that led into the valley where most of the ranch lay. It was mid-March, and everything was stretching and growing, shaking the crackly brown and gray, shedding the huddled posture of winter.

BLURB: “You need to stop all this yoga crap and find your inner badass again.”
Old love. New Love. A love you wish would just die. A kinder, gentler Lilly? Small-town lawyer Lilly Atkins has calmed down. She’s doing yoga, her hair is relatively tame, and she hasn’t shot anyone in a while.
But with bad boy Cash Stetson out of rehab, former FBI agent-turned-attorney Spencer Locke dogging her steps, and a ghost from her past who just won’t go away, her trigger finger is starting to itch. When cattle rustlers hit a little too close to home, and she’s forbidden to investigate, the only thing to do is get up off the yoga mat and grab her gun. Will Lilly stay zen? Or get her groove back?

As you can see, this is very early days with this latest read. And it is completely different from my usual fare – but I was beguiled by the blurb and felt the need for a change. So far I’m enjoying the humour and Chapman Lloyd’s snappy prose. I just hope she can also write anjoyable mystery…