#SFFWomen First Discussion: Fortune’s Pawn

fortune's pawn rachel bach Today at 4pm Los Angeles/7pm NYC we’ll be discussing Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach under the hashtag #sffFP. I’d love to see you there, but if you can’t make it, or if you’d rather post a discussion on your blog, here’s the discussion questions:

    Fortune’s Pawn is a military scifi with romantic entanglements. Was this your first time reading military scifi? What did you think?

    The author has said that Devi’s personality would be over-the-top macho and absurd in a male character. Do you agree?

    What did you think of Glorious Fool’s captain and crew? Can Devi trust them (esp considering events near the end of the book)?

    How did falling in love change Devi? Were they positive or negative changes?

    Speaking of romance, what did you think of Rupert as Devi’s romantic interest? Was he a good match for her?

    There are several interesting alien cultures in FP, including one species which eats humans. Which was your favorite?

    Any last thoughts? Are you planning on reading the next book?

If you’ve posted a review/discussion of Fortune’s Pawn, or are planning to, leave a link in the comments! We can all visit each other and talk about the book and it’ll be awesome.

Characters with the same name as people you know IRL = awkward

Does anyone else find it awkward when books characters have the same names as people you know in real life? I do, especially if it’s a family member. I mean, I KNOW said family member isn’t actually supposed to be in the book, but it takes me a while to stop picturing them in the character’s place nonetheless.

For example! One of the X-men has the same name as one of my parents. It took me FOREVER to stop connecting the two of them together, even though they are in no way alike. Also, a children’s book I read ages ago had a character with the name name as my old boss– SO AWKWARD, as one is a elderly cranky person and the other is a 12-year-old hero.

I suppose one good thing about my having a slightly unusual name is that I’ll almost never run into a character with it, except in historical fiction or biographies.1 I find that comforting, as it means I’ll never have to picture myself in all sorts of random books, though I know that other people LIKE seeing characters with their names.

Have you ever run into a character with your name?

REVIEW: Saturday’s Child by Kathleen Thompson Norris

REVIEW: Saturday’s Child by Kathleen Thompson NorrisSaturday's Child by Kathleen Thompson Norris
Pub: Project Gutenberg (1914), eBook, 472pg
Filed under: Fiction, Romance
Source: Public Domain
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads


This has been on my TBR list since March of last year, which really isn’t far enough in the past for me to have forgotten almost entirely why I even added it to my list in the first place. I think I added it because Jo Walton recommended it somewhere1; I don’t recall anything beyond that, so I went into it a blank (but optimistic) slate. And then…

REVIEW: It’s Always Personal by Anne Kreamer

REVIEW: It’s Always Personal by Anne KreamerIt's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace by Anne Kreamer
Pub: Random House (2011), Paperback, 256pg
Filed under: Business, Non-Fiction, Science
Source: Library
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads


How often have we heard “It’s nothing against you, it’s not personal—it’s just business”? But in fact, at work it’s never just business—it’s always personal. In this groundbreaking look at what’s really going on from 9 to 5—the crying, yelling, and bullying, as well as the friendship and laughter borne of creative collaboration—journalist and former corporate executive Anne Kreamer shows us how to get rational about our emotions, and provides the necessary new tools to flourish in an emotionally charged workplace.

With women now the majority of the workforce and the lines between office and personal life blurring as never before, the dynamics of work have shifted profoundly. It’s Always Personal combines the latest information on the intricacies of the human brain, candid stories from employees, and the surprising results of two new national surveys, reported here for the first time, which reached out to workers from all walks of life about their emotions on the job.

What I thought this book was about: how to deal with you and your coworkers’ emotions in a professional way.

What it’s actually about: the science behind emotions and how we should be more forgiving when people turn out to be humans with feelings.

So it’s not all that good of a “how to” book. It IS good on figuring out the whys behind crying, anger, fear, and anxiety. Basically: it’s because of science. And then…

REVIEW: The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein

REVIEW: The Winter Prince by Elizabeth WeinThe Winter Prince (The Lion Hunters #1) by Elizabeth Wein
Pub: Open Road Media (1993), eBook, 292pg
Filed under: Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Source: Bought
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads


Medraut is the eldest son of Artos, high king of Britain and, but for an accident of birth, would be heir to the throne. Instead, his younger half-brother, Lleu, fragile and inexperienced, is chosen. Medraut cannot bear to be commanded and contradicted by this weakling brother who he feels has usurped both his birthright and his father's favor. Torn and bitter, he joins Morgause, the high king's treacherous sister, in a plot to force Artos to forfeit his power and kingdom in exchange for Lleu's life. But this plot soon proves to be much more-a battlefield on which Medraut is forced to decide, for good or evil, where his own allegiance truly lies.

When I started reading The Winter Prince, I was prepared to be emotionally devastated because I’d read Memory’s review which mentioned the possibility. But I didn’t know HOW emotionally devastated I’d actually be– approximately somewhere on the same level after I read The Queen of Attolia. I’m also not entirely sure how to review it!

There’s so much stuff to unpack! Not just my own emotional turmoil during and after the book, but also everything the characters go through. And then…

REVIEW: The House at Royal Oak by Carol Eron Rizzoli

REVIEW: The House at Royal Oak by Carol Eron RizzoliThe House at Royal Oak: Starting Over & Rebuilding a Life One Room at a Time by Carol Eron Rizzoli
Pub: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (2010), eBook, 272pg
Filed under: History, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Source: Scribd
Buy it: Amazon (affiliate info) | Shelve it: Goodreads


In the spring of 2001, Carol Eron Rizzoli and her husband Hugo bought a dilapidated farmhouse in the tiny village of Royal Oak, Maryland, on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. They spent two years transforming it into a bed and breakfast, which took them twice as long and cost three times as much as they had originally estimated (on the back of a napkin). As they struggled to restore the house and open the B&B, Carol and Hugo were also slowly acquainting themselves with the rural community of Royal Oak, rich in custom and culinary traditions, and populated by neighbors with particular views on politics, hunting, wildlife, and of course, newcomers from the big city.

Written with honesty and humor, The House at Royal Oak is a journey to the heart of what it means to start over and chase a dream. Part inspirational account of reinventing yourself at mid-life, part love story about learning what matters most in a relationship, it is above all a book about home—what it means, and the unexpected places we find it.

I have only once ever stayed at a bed-and-breakfast, about 15 years ago, so I don’t actually remember much. I do remember each room had a different theme, and it was in a HUGE house so there were lots of rooms to explore. Also they had no television, which was tragic for a 10-year-old (even one who liked to read).

Nevertheless, I came away from that weekend with a love of the idea of B&Bs. I’ll read any book with a B&B in it: mysteries, romances, memoirs, whatever. This one turned out to be a memoir!

The House at Royal Oak is the story of a middle-aged couple who bought a run-down house in the country and turned it into a tiny B&B. There’s the typical “wacky guests” element, as well as a lot about home repair, moving to a small town away from everyone you know, being middle-aged and unsure of how to maintain a tiny hotel, plus all relationship struggles that go with. It’s also a kind of local history; there’s a lot of interesting things about the town they build their B&B in, as well as Maryland/Virginia itself.

The author is really good at describing country towns, so much so that it makes me want to visit one. She also makes rebuilding a broken-down old house sound like fun, but in a way which makes me very tired just thinking about it. It’s a good balance between realism and idealization.

She’s a charming writer! She’s fluffy about nature and art and local history, but she’s realistic about the struggles one goes through while building up a new business. I never ever want to start my own B&B, but she made it fun to think about that possibility.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s a nice little memoir about moving into the second phase of your life, of taking chances and trying something new.

Read: January 7, 2015