Stories I Loved – October 2015

I love story in whatever medium it’s told in. I love books, movies, webcomics, video games, tv shows, board games, etc. I thought I would round up and share some of my favorite stories that I loved this month!

Book – The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne – Historical M/F Romance (Goodreads | Amazon)

The final book in one of my favorite series, The Pink Carnation books, came out recently, and I went into a spymasters ladysad mopefest about how there would never be another one. I began asking everyone I knew for a book to fill the void in my heart, and this was recommended to me. It is nothing like the Pink Carnation books, except for its time period and that it’s a romantic spy novel. The tone, the writing, the characters – it’s much different.

The writing is rich and beautiful, with a sort of odd lilt to it that makes it sound like the entire book was written in a French accent. The characters have depth and nuance to them, and the humor in it is subtle and clever. It’s also got a great plot – spies lying to each other and playing games within games as they try to outsmart each other. What a perfect setting for falling in love! 😉

I know I’m late to the party, since this book came out a few years ago, but I really, really loved it. It might not replace the Pink Carnation books in my heart, but it’s definitely a series I am going to read the rest of. (I already found the next three books at my local bookstore, and the author is, of course, still writing more!)

Book – Second Hand by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan – Contemporary M/M Romance (Goodreads | Amazon)

I attended the Romantic Times convention in 2013, when it was hosted here in Kansas City, and this book was given out in one of the many swag bags I picked up. I very quickly tossed it to the back of my shelf, Second Handmostly because the redhead on the right side of the cover creeps me out (Sorry!). But this is definitely a case of “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Second Hand is a very character-driven contemporary romance. The creepy redhead is actually very, very sweet in the book, and is bisexual (!!) which is handled… not terribly. It could be better (it can always be better, unfortunately) but it didn’t make me toss the book. The other guy is neck-deep in family drama, with a mother who is a hoarder and a handful of other family members shoving at him with their demands and needs. Sometimes in romance, the subplots are annoying – stop talking about your family and get back to smooching, please! – but the way this is written, it’s an integral part of the characters’ stories.

I liked it a lot, and will definitely be checking out the rest of the series, which (eek!) have equally distressing covers. (I personally just… hate romance novel covers in general. The Amazon-linked version of The Spymaster’s Lady has a terrible, terrible cover. It hurts me. :P)

Video Game – J.U.L.I.A. Among the Stars – Science Fiction (SteJULIA2am)

This is a point-and-click sci-fi mystery game that reminds me of being a kid playing King’s Quest and other
classic adventure games. There are several planets to visit, each with their own mystery to solve, and each a part of the larger plot of the game. There are puzzles, but none that felt contrived or cheesy like in many contemporary point-and-click style games.

The story is that you are on a ship, awakened from cryo-sleep by the ship’s AI because she needs you to keep it from blowing up. You and the AI – Julia – and an adorable little bot named MOBOT explore these planets and figure out what went wrong, as all of the crew at these various stations are dead.

I loaded this up to pJULIA1lay for just a little while, and ended up staying up half the night to finish it (and giving myself tendonitis – ha! – but that’s another story). It’s an interesting, engaging story, and the art is gorgeous.

Those are the ones that stand out this month. What have you been enjoying recently? Any great stories I should check out? 😉 

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