A Few Links for a Monday

JMTTJuliet Marillier‘s TOWER OF THORNS just got a bit more real.

Here’s the cover posted on her Facebook page – it’s a lovely evocative one!  The artist is Arantza Sestayo, who also did the cover for the first book, DREAMER’S POOL, I think.  It’s going to be a long wait until November…


It feels like everyone’s talking about Courtney Milan‘s NA contemporary romance TRADE ME this week, so why not join in, right?

I liked her answer here about why she’s writing a story with an Asian heroine.

Yet the questions I’ve been asked over and over are about Tina: Why are you writing a Chinese heroine? At Berkeley?

Nobody has asked me, “Why a billionaire? You’re not a billionaire.” Nobody has said, “This is your tenth full-length book and up until this point, I had no idea you were Asian. What took you so long?”

I finished TRADE ME earlier this week, and have thoughts.  Not least because of the diversity of characters in the book and how it wasn’t in your face, it just was (it reminded me of Andrea K Höst‘s AND ALL THE STARS in that aspect).  As I suspected, Milan’s voice* really suited contemporary – the narration was clean and smart, and some scenes were so on the money.  I loved the interactions between Tina and Blake and how their conversations felt real, as did their chemistry.  And the story caught me up (especially the last third or so, when it felt like the plot was on the verge of spiraling out of control… but didn’t).  However, the world-building around the billionaire aspect felt a bit hand-wavey and non-authentic to me (obviously I’m speaking from a position of knowledge here), and it was almost like the main characters existed in a vacuum.  We had Blake’s dad (loved their complicated relationship) and Tina’s mum (ditto), but everyone else felt a bit placeholder-y.  I’m glad there are two more books in this series planned, because I really want to get to know the secondary characters a bit more.

*Though I have to wonder at the first-person POV present-tense narration – is this an NA thing?  For the record, it’s not something that bugs me (I used to detest first-person, but once I got past that, present v. past tense didn’t even make me blink), but first-person/present tense is so prevalent in the YA/NA genre nowadays, it’s like someone dictated that it was the only way to go.


I’ve a post drafted around Kickstarters which will hopefully see the light of day soon (I’ve a lot of posts stuck in draft mode, come to think of it).  But ICYMI and if you like SF short stories, the Queers Destroy Science Fiction Kickstarter is good value for money (IMO) with a wide selection of rewards at various levels.


10 thoughts on “A Few Links for a Monday

    • When I finally got around to reading her first Sevenwaters book, I ended up finishing all three books (of the then trilogy) within a month. I totally fell for her writing.

  1. Yes, I agree about Trade Me. It was good; I enjoyed it. But I didn’t have quite the intensity of emotion and excitement that I normally have with her books. I’m hoping that this gets worked out a little more over the next books.

    • Yep, I think more books will help!

      What I did appreciate (and forgot to mention in my post!) was how she used the billionaire trope to explore poverty/privilege – not something you often see in romance.

  2. Very excited about Tower of Thorns. Love the cover. I have Trade Me, but haven’t read it yet. I was Interested to read your comments about it, Li. I liked her comments about why she wrote about an Asian heroine!

    • I look forward to your thoughts on TRADE ME when you get around to reading it!

      I could link to every single post Courtney Milan writes (as it is, I probably link to every other one) – she’s really thoughtful and articulate.

      • Oh, I agree, Li. Courtney Milan is a great advocate for writing and self-publishing. I listened to a debate on the radio this week about whether “Amazon is a reader’s friend.” One of the author’s who was on the side of “not a friend” talked abut how self-published books can’t be good, because the authors don’t have editors, copy editors, marketers, etc. I wanted to yell at him to read Courtney Milan, Rachel Aaron and others who are doing a great job and have hired their own freelance support staff. Really irritating how arrogant some people are. (Of course, there are a lot of self-published books that aren’t well-written, edited or marketed, too!) (And Amazon isn’t totally a reader’s friend–they’re trying to make money–but I’ve found so many books and authors I wouldn’t have without Amazon.) There’s my rant for the day, LOL

      • I’d be really annoyed too! The authors who approach self-publishing like a proper business (which it is!) are hopefully seeing the benefits.

        Also totally agree – Amazon is in the business of making money, and they do a great job at that. Whether they’re your “friend” or not depends on how far their interests align with yours.

  3. Li, I had meant to check out your kickstarter project you talked about above, but, of course, forgot! Then I saw Seanan McGuire’s tweet so went to kickstarter and gave some money. My first kickstarter pledge! Thanks for bringing it to my attention…and my brain giving me a nudge this morning! I think this is really a great and important and looks like they’ll be able to do a women in fantasy issue. I hope I can get the women in science fiction issue, too!

    If you see other kickstarters that sound good let me know!

    • Ha – funny how it sometimes works out that way!

      Also, I’m actually just dusting off that Kickstarter post I talked about above – it lists the (admittedly few) Kickstarters I’ve backed so far and the results.

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