WOSFF: Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy

What is Science Fiction and Fantasy?

I thought that this was pretty self explanatory. After talking with a friend, I realized that it may not be. So I thought that I would take the time to discuss what I considered to be science fiction and fantasy. Even with these two parent categories, there are a lot of sub-genres that fall under them.

Science Fiction:  I consider science fiction to be anything that is science related. Specifically, anything to do with the hard sciences biology, chemistry, physics, and anything that has to do with space and such.

Fantasy: This is really the category that causes such confusion. I consider fantasy to be anything that deals with things that are not realistic, depending on the intent. I include stories that include werewolves, vampires, ghosts and other magical beings as long as the intent is not to scare the reader. The supernatural and paranormal beings are usually found in Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance.

I am not an expert about the definitions of science and fantasy, so if its not as specific as you would like, I apologize. These are just the broad definitions that I use when categorizing works.  Some works bleed between genres and that’s okay, as long as the main story falls into one of these two categories, the reviews will be posted on this blog.

Always Shine

Featured post

Review: Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter

Flame in the Dark (Soulwood, #3)

Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter 

Soulwood #3

December 5, 2017 – Roc

342 p. – Urban Fantasy, Fiction, Adult,

Purpose: Review, #KindleProject

Source: Publisher, Netgalley

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

In the third book of the Soulwood series Nell and Unit 18  are back with another case that perplexes all of the departments working on it. They are investigating a case without a clear assailant. They’re not completely sure if they are after a paranormal or who the true target is. The more that they investigate, the more things escalate. This case may prove to be the most dangerous. Either way, in the end this story carries the biggest losses.  Nell is still trying to fix the darkness on her land  and the mystery of the vampire tree on the church’s land. She is still trying to figure exactly what she and her sister Mud are. Occam, ever patient and full of good ole southern charm  is still pursuing her. This time though, I think Nell is ready to be pursued.

Hunter has definitely raised the stakes with this. No one is safe, and while we had the first two books to assure us that everything will be alright for Nell and Unit 18, we have no such assurances this time around.

Again, I enjoyed this book. I love being in this world and watching Unit 18 work its magic, and watching them grow into a family. Just when it appears that things are going smoothly in one way, Hunter throws something in to monkey it up. Which in the end, reveals more about the characters. This was possibly my favorite in the series so far, mostly because the danger is real. I mean, it’s always real but there was another book already waiting for me to pick up, so I knew in the back of my mind that everything worked out. That is not the case with this one. The way that it ends definitely suggests that the story is not over, but the team is changed, maybe beyond repair.  I can’t wait for the next installment.


Always Shine!

What I’m Reading: March

So, I didn’t really get to two of the books that I planned on last month.  They were library books that had to be returned before I got to them. So I have decided that I will focus on the books that I own, and if I read a good library book worth mentioning then toss it in with one of the round ups. I will be doing round ups for books that I have read that are not review books, whenever that happens. I did finish Flame in the Dark, and the review for that will be up soon.

What I’m Currently Reading: 

Stranger Magics Stranger Magics by Ash Fitzsimmons– This is a book that I requested for review. It is a fae story, but not your typical fae story. I am halfway finished with it. While it was slow at the beginning it has picked up. The characters make this story.

What I will be Reading:

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass  This is one that I have started a few months back. I put it aside to read things that had an immediate deadline and just never picked it back up. I don’t really know what I think about it. If I hadn’t bought the books, I am sure that I never would have picked them up to read, and I don’t know if that would be a bad thing or not. It’s just meh right now. I’ve been told that it gets better.


Wilders (Project Earth, #1)  Wilders by Brenda Cooper  This is another book that I requested for review. I have forgotten what it’s about, but I know that I was excited when I got it.


What are your reading plans this month?


Always Shine!

Review: Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Curse on the Land (Soulwood, #2)

Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter 

Soulwood #2

November 1, 2016 – Roc

328 p- Urban Fantasy, Fiction

Purpose: Review, #KindleProject

Source: Netgalley, Publisher

5 Stars 

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

 Once again, Hunter has written something that has captivated me. This is the second book in the series, and it doesn’t fall into that trap that second books often do. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nell, and listening to her tell the story.  This is different in so many ways than the first book, but I don’t think that it is a bad thing.  Nell has learned so much about herself and her powers, but there is still so much that she doesn’t know.

While she is made part of the team, she doesn’t immediately trust them with everything. As she discovers that there’s something wrong with her land, the team gets a case that looks as if it’s a magical poisoning of a nearby site. She fears that what is happening at the site is because of her and/or blood. Instead of telling the team of her fears, she keeps quiet about it, trying to put the pieces together herself and disclosing what is relevant to the case.  Though Tandy can sense that something is different, he offers to help if she needs it.

Once again the team is investigating a case that is in Nell’s wheelhouse, moving her from the normal probie status into a crucial and active member. As she is investigating, Nell also learns more about her team members and sees sides of them that she does not necessarily like. At the same time, she is learning/rediscovering her family.   I don’t want to say too much about this, because it is the second book in the series. While it stands on its own, there are some things that have carried over from the first book, and things that are left for the next book.  What I will say that is if you enjoyed the first one, you will definitely enjoy this one. Nell isn’t perfect, but her way is a mixture of bumbling and naiive, which makes her a fun character. She doesn’t behave as a special agent should, mainly because she doesn’t understand it all. She is moving further away from being a church woman but not quite federal agent.  But she knows how to work people and she is learning how to control her connection to the land.

I could go on, and on, but I will end this by saying this was a fun book. You get more of Nell and you get more of Unit 18.  While there may be a budding romance, and uncovered romance, it takes a backseat to the case and other issues that need to be addressed. I can’t wait to read the next installment, Flame in the Dark,  and I am hoping that it will not be the last one.

**Special Note: Again, I have not read any of the Jane Yellowrock books so I cannot compare the two. But, I did go out and grab the first two of that series to start as soon as I finish with the Soulwood Books. **

Always Shine!

Review: Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

This was originally published on my other blog, The Literati Press. 

Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1)

Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter 

Souldwood #1

August 2, 2016 – Roc

358 pg – Urban Fantasy, Fiction

Source: Netgalley, publisher

Purpose: Review

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Faith Hunter is an author that I have been meaning to pick up. Her series Jane Yellowrock was the title that originally caught my eye. Though this is a series set in the same world as Jane Yellowrock , and they intersect in Jane’s story, this is a series all of it’s own.

I really like Nell’s voice as the narrator. It was a meandering tone, but wandering with a purpose. It was slow, as if she has invited you in and was giving you time to get settled in your seat in her home. But it wasn’t so slow as to make you regret sitting down for a chat.  That’s really how Nell narrated the story, as if you were company in her home.

While the history with Jane is mentioned throughout the story in bits and pieces, this is a story all on its own. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nell transform into her own -shedding the invisible skin of the church, but not quite a federal agent. She is stuck somewhere in between, not really sure if she’s allowed to not be either or to be both, until she makes the decision to be herself.

I like the fact that we get to know the characters, villains and good guys (and those in between) as well as the ins and out of the Psyled team at the same rate that Nell learns them. Another way that Hunter has allowed us to be a part of the story. This was not just a simple case of rooting out the bad guys and then catching them and saving the girl. Secrets were uncovered, the shady side of the cult was uncovered, reconnecting with family, and bonding with a found family all happen.  There is so much more than meets the eye with this story.

The action, the violence and the deaths, just enough to keep the story interesting without it becoming distasteful. I am so glad that I also have the next two books in the series for review.

5 stars

What you should know:

-This is the first in a new series.

-This is a spin-off series of the Jane Yellowrock series, though Jane is not in this book

-I have not read any of the other Yellowock novels

-There will at least be three, 3, boos in the SoulWood series.

-This is my first five-star book this year!

Always Shine!

What I’m Reading Wednesday -February Edition

This is a monthly feature that I will be start here on this blog. I will be discussing the WOSFF titles that I plan on reading sometime during the month.  It will usually happen the first Wednesday of every month. (You can click on the image to go to the Goodreads and learn more about the book.)

I’m Currently Reading:
Curse on the Land (Soulwood, #2)
 This is the second book in the Soulwood series by Faith Hunter. It is also a title that I received from Netgalley. I am almost finished and will be posting my review of it shortly.   I really like it, getting to know Nell and the other members of Unit 18 better and watching her discover more about herself.

What I will be reading:

Flame in the Dark (Soulwood, #3)

I will be finishing up the Soulwood series, with the third book next.  I am not sure if this is the final book, and I am kind of hoping that it isn’t. This is also a review title from Netgalley.

The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)

I will finish up the Binti trilogy this month as well.  I am looking forward to picking up with where Binti: Home left off.


Markswoman (Asiana, #1)

This is one of my most anticipated books for this year, and I was able to be the first one to check out from my library!  It has taken a lot of will power to not immediately start this book, but I will be getting to it  within the next week(ish).


While I do plan on reading a lot more than these this month, I am only committing to these. I did receive a couple of packages from Harper Voyager and Pyr Books, that I will be digging into as quickly as possible, and I am hoping to do a re-read of  Octavia Butler’s Fledgling, I am not sure if I will be able to start that this month or next month. But it’s on my radar.

That’s it for this month! What are you planning to read this month?

Always Shine!

Upcoming Posts: Review of Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter

Short Story Review: The City Born Great by N.K. Jemisin

I read this short story when I reading the nominees for the Hugo and Nebula awards. This was originally published on and if you want to read this you can click here to read online.

My Thought

This is an author that has been on my radar for a long time, and I am so glad that I finally picked up one of her stories. This story was as powerful as it is captivating. And it won’t be long before I explore more of her works. Because of her writing, I felt as I was standing beside the main character. It felt as if I could feel the birth of the city.


Always Shine!

Short Story Review: Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander

This is a short story that I read as I was reading the nominees for the Hugo Awards. It was published in the 2016 November/December edition of The Uncanny Magazine. If you are interested in reading the story, you can click here to read it online.

My Thoughts:

4 Stars

Wow! Now I know wht this was nominated for an award this year. Before this I had not hear of Brooke Bolander, but now I want to read more from her. Since this is a short story, there’s not a lot here. And I can’t really talk about what’s in here without ruining the reading experience. But what is here is a lot. This was well-written and perfectly executed. This is about what happens after the main character is murdered, not the investigations. I want to say that Bolander tricked me (in a very good way) but I am not sure if that’s the case. She leaves out just the right amount of information so that you can’t see what’s coming.  This story made me want to pick up something else by Bolander, and if she ever does a full length novel I’ll be there for it.


Always Shine!

Ash  by Malinda Lo

September 1, 2009 – Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Purpose: #offmybookshelf, #Thereadingquest, 100 Best Science Fiction/Fantasy by Women

3 stars 

Goodreads Summary: Cinderella retold
In the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief

My Thoughts: When I first started reading Ash, I was reading it in chunks.   I found that I enjoyed it while I was reading, but I didn’t find it compelling enough to just pick up for the enjoyment of it.  So it was taking so long that I just gave up and DNF’d it. I was halfway through it, but I just didn’t care about it. I was okay with moving on. And then The Reading Quest came along.  If you want to know more about it, check out my post about it here.

One of the side quest challenges was to give a book a second chance. I picked Ash for this, I really wanted to like this book. I had read a short story by Malinda Lo and really liked her writing. My problem with Ash was not with the writing. This time, I read it straight through, instead of in chunks. Guys! I really enjoyed the rest of this story. I liked Ash, it was a lot more enjoyable

Again, I was irritated with the stepsisters and stepmother. Lo did a great job of making them unlikable. But. I liked the fact that she gave Ash a quiet and unexpected ally in the house. The addition of the fae and the king’s huntress lifts the story into something – more. It was nice.

Lo did a good job of staying close to well known fairy tale while at the same time making it her own. I wanted a little more from the ending. The buildup between who Ash was going to fall in love with and who she was ultimately going to chose was thrumming throughout the story. But the way it all resolved was a little too simple, a little to easy for the bargain struck.

A side note: I really want a retelling of the original Cinderella tale and not the Disney-fied version. So, if you all know of any please leave your recommendations in the comments.

As for Ash, I did eventually enjoy this story. But it is like most fairytales, best read straight through.


Always Shine!

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Girl of Fire and Thorns #1

September 20, 2011 – Greenwillow

Purpose: Review, Kindle Clean Up Project

Source: Netgalley, Publisher

5 stars

I was given a copy of this title, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Goodreads Summary:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do

My Thoughts:

Elisa is the second daughter of the king. She loves food and has no interest in courtly affairs. Except she is also the bearer of the godstone, a jewel embedded in her belly since her naming day. At sixteen she is mysteriously and quickly married off to Alejandro, the king of a country that is nothing like her own.  This is the beginning of her story and of a journey that will take her to the lands of her enemy and into the path of people that will come to matter to her deeply.  The country is on the brink of war, the king and Elisa’s husband appears unable to act, unable to make a decision. Soon Elisa is thrown into a destiny that will cause her to dig deeper than she’s ever had to before and become a person that people depend on to become a hero.

I really wish that I had read this when I originally received it for review. I thoroughly, and unexpectedly, love this story. Though other people can see a strength in her, she slowly realizes that she is stronger than she ever thought that she could be.

One of the main reasons that I love this book is that Elisa is not your typical princess. She is fat, loves food and is not afraid to say so. She is very much aware of her flaws, but she doesn’t let that keep her from doing what she believes needs to be done. While everyone else is sure that they are doing god’s will, she is honest about not knowing what that is for her and for her band of friends. She overcomes her fear and impossible situations by seeking out the truth and history of the godstones.

When she is kidnapped by people who are only trying to save themselves, she does something extraordinary. She forgives them and joins their cause. It isn’t because she feels sorry or that she suffers from Stockholm syndrome or anything like that. She does so because she believes that it’s the right thing to do. Again,and again Elisa is put in positions that are dangerous and well out of her comfort. And each time when it would be so much easier to give up and surrender, she leans on her faith and stands up to the obstacle.  This story is peppered with characters who are impressively strong, passionate and more than capable.  I could go on and on about how amazing this book is, and I would still not do it justice. If you are looking for a story that has a more realistic character pulling you through, a story with a nice blend of mystery and adventure, I cannot recommend this one enough. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

Always Shine!

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑