Jul. 17th, 2018

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Queen of All CrowsReview copy from netgalley.com.

I really enjoyed Rod Duncan's first Elizabeth Barnabus trilogy (The Bullet catcher's Daughter, Unseemly Science, and Custodian of Marvels) so I was delighted to find that he's picked up Elizabeth's story again a short while after Elizabeth has won her freedom from the lecherous Duke and the Patent Office. She's having a clandestine affair with Patent Office agent John Farthing, but when she discovers that her best friend Julia has gone missing after her airship has been shot down in the middle of the Atlantic, she resolves to leave John and risk all to find out what's going on. Other airships and vessels have gone missing, too, and there are rumours of a band of female pirates with high-tech weapons. In the guise of a man - her alter ego has always been her (invented) brother – she becomes a spy for the patent office and ventures beyond the borders of the Gas Lit Empire to where she's completely out of her depth, in more ways than one. But Elizabeth is resourceful and what she seeks, she finds, which leads to adventures she could never have dreamt of. This certainly did not disappoint and I'm looking forward to Elizabeth's further adventures.
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Apocalypse NyxReview copy from Netgalley.

This is a collection of five short pieces and can be read as an intro to the world of Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame Apocrypha world, which began with God's War. I confess I have only read the first two stories, slightly over half the book. I've seen Nyx described as 'painfully hard to like' and I'd go with that description. Her answer to everything is to smash heads (or maybe hack them off), and by the time I'd read the first two stories I needed a rest. Nyx is a former Bel Dame, a government assassin turned bounty hunter. She's seen a lot of gore, and contributed greatly to the body count, but she's damaged, and like her surroundings, she's angry, grim, and bloody. She has a team, but she's not sure she can count on them and, what's worse, she's not sure if they can count on her. I will go back and read the other three stories in this collection, but I need to decompress first.

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Theft of SwordsI didn't realise until I was well into this (Kindle edition) that it was two books in an omnibus edition. I read the first, The Crown Conspiracy, so this is only a review of that one. I was looking for some fantasy or science-fictional heist books and this was on someone's ten-best-heist books list. Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater are thieves, successful enough that they haven't been caught yet. Royce is the lock-picker and Hadrian the brilliant swordsman from a good family (and we only get hints of what brought him to thieving for a living). They are careful to plan out every heist carefully, but they get into a spot of bother when they fall for a sob story and unwisely take on a job to steal a sword from the king's chapel. It's a rush job. They don't have time to check it out first, and unfortunately it's a set up. What they find in the chapel is the body of the king and they are framed for the murder. It's looking bleak when the king's daughter makes them an offer. She'll let them out of the dungeon if they will steal something else for her. She wants them to steal the prince, the new heir to the throne. Their kidnap job turns into a rescue and they face a plot to take over the throne. It's a straightforward read with a simple plot and a cast of engaging characters. (Yes I will read the second one, but not right now.)

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Oceans 8I saw the original Ocean's 11 many years ago, but I haven't seen the recent ones, however an all-female version was intriguing enough to send us scurrying to the cinema on a hot Wednesday afternoon. (Thank goodness for aircon!)

It's an excellent cast headed by Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett with a good supporting cast that includes Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter. It's a heist movie. Debbie ocean has spent several years in jail carefully working ot a daring heist - steal a fabulous diamond necklace during a glttering gala. It's a clever plan and, of course, you're on edge to see whather it works out or not...

Some reliable performances. Special kudos to James Corden as the insurance inspector.


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