Feb. 12th, 2017

hawkwing_lb: (Default)
Books 2017: 18-25


18. Kameron Hurley, The Stars Are Legion. Angry Robot, 2017.

Read for Locus and for column. A fascinatingly squishy space opera, which Hurley has been promoting as LESBIANS IN SPACE (it is). It's less of a mess than her fantasy, and a lot more fun, although Hurley does sometimes confuse brutal for interesting.


19. Jacqueline Carey, Miranda and Caliban. Tor, 2017.

Read for review. A retelling of The Tempest. Honestly, I don't see the point of a novel that spends so much time dwelling on an abusive parent-child relationship that doesn't ever allow the victim of the abuse to get away. NOT my cup of tea.


20. Lara Elena Donnelly, Amberlough. Tor, 2017.

Read for column. Fascism and amoral gay boys in love. Promising debut.


21. Ada Palmer, Seven Surrenders. Tor, 2017.

Read for review. It doesn't quite succeed in living up to the promise of the first volume, which is a shame, but together Too Like The Lightning and Seven Surrenders make a very promising debut.


22. CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan, Agents of Dreamland. Tor.com Publishing, 2017.

Read for review. Creepy Lovecraftian horror novella. Not exactly my jam. Also parasitic mind-controlling fungus.


23. Justine Saracen, The Sniper's Kiss. Bold Strokes Books, 2017.

A romance novel involving women who love women set during WWII. A Russian-speaking American clerk in the Lend-Lease programme and a Russian soldier, later a sniper, encounter each other first during international meetings about the Lend-Lease programme. Later, the American clerk gets into trouble investigating corruption on the Russian end of the Lend-Lease problem and ends up at the front, where she disguises herself as a dead Russian sniper and partners with the live Russian sniper. Saracen has done her research: the WWII setting feels believable. The characters are reasonably well-rounded, the relationships make sense in context, and the writing is better than tolerable. As F/F romances go, it's definitely in the top 10%, particularly for historical ones.

(I always feel sad judging F/F on these particular merits. But in any given month where I look at six or eight F/F books from Netgalley and at best only half of them are even readable, they are certainly the merits.)


24. Yolanda Wallace, Divided Nation, United Hearts. Bold Strokes Books, 2017.

A romance novel involving women who love women set during the American Civil War. One disguises herself as a man in order to fight for the Union, the other is trying to keep a farm running while her father and brother are fighting for the Confederacy. I finished it: it's not a particularly good novel, but it is an entertaining tropetastic mess.


nonfiction

25. Hubert Wolf, The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent Scandal. Vintage, 2015. Translated from the German by Ruth Martin.

I first heard of this book via Lady Business, where it was spoken of in very complimentary terms. I can confirm that it is extremely solid history writing, clear and thorough and immensely readable: the kind of history where you keep reading in order to find out just what happened next.

Wolf deals with a particular convent scandal, one that took place in the convent of Sant'Ambrogio in Rome and was investigated as a result of a complaint made by the German Catholic Princess Katarina von Hohenzollern to the Holy Office for the Doctrine of the Faith (the office of the Inquisition). Katarina had entered the convent as a postulant and then a novice (after two marriages and a previous unsuccessful attempt to become a nun in a different convent) and came to believe that she was being poisoned by the sisters of Sant'Ambrogio, as a result of her opposition to certain practices she believed were entirely improper.

Wolf draws on several archival sources, including the Inquisition's own files and the testimony of the witnesses and defendants in the case, to illuminate the life of the Hohenzollern princess, the convent, the other nuns, Church politics, and the case itself. False saints, poisonings, political manoeuvring in the Jesuit order, the curia, and the papacy, Solicitatio by priests in confession, sexual assault of novices, female sodomy: this is history mixed with true crime, and Wolf lays it all out in fascinating detail.

Including a good deal of detail on how the Inquisition actually investigated the charges laid before it, which is fascinating in its own right.

Profile

hawkwing_lb: (Default)
hawkwing_lb

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
23 45678
9101112131415
16171819202122
2324 2526272829
3031     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 12:30 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios