Kelley Eskridge, Solitaire
One thread of this story is about what it's like to be in (virtual) solitary confinement and what it's like to try to make a place for yourself in the world afterward. Another thread is explorations of the intersection of reputation, setting, and personality in a world where you have limited scope of action. This was hard for me to read because I liked only two of the characters, and they weren't the protagonist. But there was one section I absolutely loved that made the difficulty of reading the rest of it worthwhile.
Laurie R. King, O Jerusalem (Mary Russell #5)
Historical novel in which Russell and Holmes travel to the Middle East around the time of Allenby's entrance into Jerusalem. Russell has to pass as a boy. I don't know enough about the history or cultures of the region to comment on the accuracy of the novel but I thought it was a good yarn with a lot of interesting, plausible, and possibly true detail. One thing that bothered me slightly is that Russell is supposed to be a teenager but seems to have the mind of a middle-aged woman. I also wondered about the fact that the spies are all British who are pretending to be Arabs and none of the real Arabs seems to be the wiser.
Melissa Scott, The Kindly Ones
Space opera with complex world- and culture-building, reminds me of C.J. Cherryh but I liked this better than most of the Cherryh I've read. Most of the characters have complex motives and intelligence. Almost no one is pure evil, and not everything that might be a gun on the wall ends up being fired in Act IV, so could relax and get to know the characters as people without being worried that they'd get blown up at any moment. Some same-sex relationships that aren't made a big deal of. As far as I can tell Scott didn't write any other books in this universe, which I find surprising.
Lian Hearn, Grass for His Pillow (Tales of the Otori #2)
Tales of the Otori is a 5-book fantasy-historical/romance series set in a thinly disguised feudal Japan. The audiobook is narrated by Kevin Gray and Aiko Nakasone. The writing style is enjoyable with lots of detail. The characters and culture feel pretty stereotyped, so I don't know if people with more knowledge of Japan or less tolerance of stereotyping than I have would enjoy it.
Tina Connolly, Ironskin (Ironskin #1)
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor. I was expecting a light paranormal romance but this turned out a lot better and more nuanced than I expected. The setting is early 20th century England in which the Great War is replaced by a war between fae and humans. Humans wounded by fae have curses and must wear iron covering their wounds to protect other humans from the curse. This book was described as a Jane Eyre knockoff, but the Jane Eyre influences are more in the structure than in the content. Themes include taking back your power, gaining power from abuse that's happened to you, appearing normal vs not, trusting your instincts, the meaning of family, secrets. I have to say I was disappointed in the romance. In Jane Eyre it is so clear to me why Rochester and Jane fall in love, but in this book the romance between the equivalent characters doesn't make much sense at all. Fortunately the romance is secondary to the rest of the story.
The household is currently watching: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (2d season), Hawaii Five-0 (3d season), Elementary (3d season), How to Get Away with Murder (1st season), Lost Girl (1st season, but I've seen through season 4), Heroes Reborn, Agents of SHIELD (3d season), and Trigun. Opinions on request.
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