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Serpentine is a young adult fantasy novel with a historically-inspired Chinese setting that revolves around two major themes. The first is the domestic story of the protagonist Skybright, a foundling who is handmaiden and companion to the well-born Zhen Ni, as both of them stand at the edge of womanhood. The external peril is an invasion of supernatural creatures who have found an opening into the mortal world and are being fought off by a martial order of monks.

There have been several times in conversations on facebook groups where people threw out the question "what do you look for in a LesFic book?" My answer has often been "beautiful writing," but it can be hard to explain what I mean by that. So now I have something I can point to and say, "That's what I mean by beautiful writing in LesFic."

If I had to sum up Lundoff’s collection Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories in a single word (which would be a totally unfair thing to require me to do) it would be “versatile.” This volume touches base on a broad variety of genres and subgenres yet succeeds in being a unified stylistic whole. There is everything from steampunk horror to hard-boiled alien invasion to magical police procedural, each story both drawing lovingly from its literary inspirations and turning them upside down.

It might be easy to understand why I enjoy reading Stephanie Burgis's combination of real 18-19th century history, romantic adventure, and touches of magic. She has an impressively solid familiarity with the history and manners of the era she draws from (which, if you check out the topics of her graduate education, is no surprise). The Congress of Vienna, sorting out the political consequences of Napoleon's defeat, is a natural setting for intrigues of all sorts.

So, I don't DNF (did not finish) books very often. If a book gets my attention enough to move up the list to having me start it, I generally want to give it the chance to show me what it's got. But I read one treadmill-session worth of Musketeer Space and then closed it and chose a new book. And I'd like to explain why, even if just to myself.

I'd meant to read this quite some time ago but iBooks had some glitch and claimed the file wouldn't open and it took entirely too long for me to remember that I needed to follow up on the problem in a place and time I could track down the glitch (in iBooks, not the file). I finished the main River of Souls trilogy a year ago and in an odd way, having that much of a gap before reading "Nocturnall" worked very well, because we return to Ilse and Raul a considerable time after the end of Allegiance.

Given that this book won pretty much every SFF award available in the year it came out, it may seem odd that I'm only getting around to reviewing it now, but perhaps that helps me stand back from the buzz.

The season of people posting their "top 10" or "10 favorite" for the past year is a bit fraught for authors. There's always the hope that maybe, just maybe, your work will have been among someone's favorites, or considered by someone to have been among the best of whatever category it is they're considering. For those of us whose work falls outside the popular categories, and when that work came out at the very end of the year when most people have already drawn up their lists, it's best just to close our hearts and move on.

Ordinary historical romance is a bit of a rarity in the lesbian publishing field. The majority of lesbian historicals fall solidly on the erotic side and tend to stick very close to the 20th century (with a small foray into the American West). It is, perhaps, understandable: authors of lesbian historicals report that sales are much lower than for other subgenres, and this doesn’t encourage writers to develop the sort of research background and writing expertise necessary to write the books that could expand readership.

I didn't have the mental energy to do any of the obvious subjects for a random post, and here it is an hour before bed time. So having just opened up the package on my doorstep (how easy it is to lose track of what I've ordered!) and added it to the stack of books waiting to be cataloged, here are some recent aquisitions. Remarkably enough, none of them are intended for immediate projects. More just a matter of background information on topics I might find useful.

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