The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard – Review


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About The Tea Master and the Detective

Aliette de Bodard brings us a new novella set in the award-winning, critically acclaimed Xuya universe!

Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appearance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.

A transport ship discharged from military service after a traumatic injury, The Shadow’s Child now ekes out a precarious living as a brewer of mind-altering drugs for the comfort of space-travellers. Meanwhile, abrasive and eccentric scholar Long Chau wants to find a corpse for a scientific study. When Long Chau walks into her office, The Shadow’s Child expects an unpleasant but easy assignment. When the corpse turns out to have been murdered, Long Chau feels compelled to investigate, dragging The Shadow’s Child with her.

As they dig deep into the victim’s past, The Shadow’s Child realises that the investigation points to Long Chau’s own murky past—and, ultimately, to the dark and unbearable void that lies between the stars…


Review of The Tea Master and the Detective

AI ships are some of my favorite characters and a ship that can brew tea is gets extra points. Well, tea is not really what The Shadows’s Child is brewing, but the term Tea Master has certain connotations, so I was drawn to this book. In truth, what the ship brews is drugs. Not tea at all. I had been hoping for eloquent descriptions of brewing and partaking of hot English Breakfast tea. So a bit disappointing there. Still, the disappointment was soon replaced with a mystery. The Shadow’s Child’s latest client is a detective after a body, a mystery, and answers. I enjoyed the sticky relationship between the ship and Long Chau. Sticky eventually evolves into curious and then even slightly friendly. The ship and the detective made a reluctant, yet effective, team, chasing down clues.

This book takes place in Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe! You do not need to have read her other books to enjoy this standalone novellla.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, so that I could bring you this honest review.



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Jewel of the Sea (The Kraken, #2) by Tiffany Roberts – Review


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About Jewel of the Sea


Three months ago, Aymee had no idea the kraken — half-human sea dwellers — even existed. Now, the violet eyes of the kraken Arkon haunt her imagination, and she longs to know his touch. But word of his people has spread beyond The Watch, and Aymee’s attraction to Arkon may endanger the safety of human and kraken alike. To protect him, can she bring herself to forsake him? Is her desire for Arkon worth putting both their worlds at risk?


Arkon has spent his life in the pursuit of knowledge. Then he met Aymee and found a new quest: to make her his. She inspires him, draws him in, dominates his thoughts. When he finally builds the courage to approach her, she’s everything he imagined and more. But a group of murderous humans are hunting the kraken, and continued contact with Aymee may destroy them both. Now that he’s tasted her sweetness, he can’t give her up…but can he risk his world and his people to satisfy his need for her?


Review of Jewl of the Sea

With a name like “The Kraken” it is hard not to be intrigued by this scifi romance series. The futuristic setting is a colony on a planet that is not Earth. It is the home of both humans, whose ancestors came from Earth, and the kraken, a human-cephalopod genetic combination created by humans to mine a power source. Eventually, the kraken rebelled and the two species have lived apart for many, many years.

Of course, things cannot continue this way. It is when the species connect that these stories begin to get really interesting. Both sides distrust each other – with good reason. But that does not stop the artists from both species from making an instant connection when they first meet. This first meeting between Aymee and Arkon actually happened in book one of the series, but you don’t need to read it first to keep up with Aymee and Arkon and their tumultuous relationship that should be doomed. Human hunters are looking for the kraken. The kraken hate all humans. It does not look good for this couple. A confrontation between the couple and some of the hunters will set off a series of events that will bring Aymee and Arkon together, but they will need to stay hidden.

Jewel of the Sea is a fun read with few surprises. The odd combination of species is the attraction for me. Overcoming the many challenges that humans and kraken bring on themselves keep the story fresh and interesting. And I really liked these characters. Perhaps there is a wannabe artist in me that I hope will enable me to look at the world with an open mind like Aymee and Arkon do.

The author provided a copy of this book so that I could bring you this honest review.



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Moontouched by K. R. Lehman – Feature


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If you follow this blog, you know that poetry is not something I have ever featured. Today, that changes.  Two reason: 1) April is Poetry month.  This many not be common knowledge, but as a librarian, I know about these things, and more importantly 2) K. R. Lehman is a friend who has recently released a book of poetry called Moontouched.

The human body consists of anywhere from fifty-five to sixty-five percent water, and just as the moon effects the bodies of water on Earth, it stands to reason that it effects the human body as well, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. This book is a journey through the phases of the moon, the cycles of the human psyche, the emotional ups and downs, the dark nights of depression, the bright glimmers of hope, the imaginative wanderings of the mind, and the indefinite longings of the soul. I invite you, dear reader, to take this journey with me, to take my hand for just a little while, and see what we may discover along the way. -K. R. Lehman

I have enjoyed reading Kathi’s poetry so I asked if she wanted to be featured here.  She has graciously provided some unpublished poems to introduce you to her work.  Then, I hope you will check out Moontouched

I know somewhere a warm wind blows
through grass on the slope of a hill
that I have yet to lie in,
that I have yet to feel

It stirs the dreaming aster
and recalls the forget-me-not
to fairer days and laughter,
when young ‘mid Alpine rocks

It rushes down the hillside
and bids me to come hence,
to cross the mighty ocean,
then hop the nearest fence

Where there the grass is rolling
in green and rippling waves
on a hill in my heart’s homeland,
nearby Cadagno lake.

At the end of things
there is a quiet,
in spite of the thrashing about in your heart,
there is nothing to hear,
unless a deep inhale
and a shaky step forward.

Night starlit and holy,
how you set my wheels to turning!
Even as I gaze across town at the
scatter of twinkling lights from
curtained windows!
I know that a few brilliant minds
sleep within those abodes;
sleep, as brilliant minds in small
towns ultimately do.
And after musing thusly for a space,
I slip inward to my own abode,
and pace back and forth before the
curtained window,
praying for sleep.

On an afternoon such as the morning,
as the clouds hung low in the sky,
and something of the day was left wanting,
I sought to give you reply.

But the words would not come at my bidding,
though I ardently willed them to,
yet I sent a message unwitting,
for silence meant the same thing to you.

Oh Muse, bring to me the cup.
Offer it to me,
hold it out for me to take,
for I am thirsty beyond what other elixir
could suffice.
How dark it looks,
swirling about in the chalice,
how depthless, and peculiar…
how powerful, and promising.
It weighs so heavily in my hand,
as if it holds the very secrets of the universe,
or all of the meaning of life.
Oh I am thirsty,
but I am afraid.
Muse, I am curiously afraid.
I hesitate,
in one long drawn-out moment,
I consider.
And the Muse watches,



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