Now that it’s been two months and we haven’t run out of steam yet, we’ve decided to start up a new feature: a monthly wrap-up post. It’s a post to chat a little about our reading for the previous month and our plans for the next.
It’s January! That means spending Christmas money, and that means buying books.
Look at those! I’m a sucker for some pretty cover art (who knew?), and January was a great month for the aesthetics of my bookshelves. I was able to pick up a traditionally published copy of Josiah Bancroft’s Senlin Ascends, a signed edition of Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold, and the beautiful UK hardback of Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower.
The Fantasy Inn also received our first ever physical review copy! The wonderful Anna Smith Spark was kind enough to send a copy of The Court of Broken Knives up to Scotland, and has also shipped a copy over to Kopratic in the States. Broken Knives is also the /r/Fantasy bookclub book of the month for February, so I’ll be looking to read and review this in the next few weeks.
From a self-published perspective, I was also able to pick up Benedict Patrick’s gorgeous Yarnsworld paperbacks, and Ben Galley’s The Heart of Stone. Of course, the audiobook for The Heart of Stone was released a few weeks later, and so now I’m strongly considering buying it for a second time. Oh, and speaking of buying a book more than once…
Eh… yeah. I also own an ebook and an audiobook copy. My excuse is that I plan to give a couple of these away. Think of me as an evangelist for the tower of Babel.
Coming away from buying and onto reading, I managed to read a TONNE this month. And by a tonne, I mean 8 books. Okay, so it’s not so much as some people, but I’m pretty happy with that number. Nicholas Eames also described my review as a “day maker”, so that was pretty damn awesome. The books I read were:
- Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (paperback)
- Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan (audiobook)
- A Time of Dread by John Gwynne (ebook, ARC)
- Folk by Zoe Gilbert (ebook, ARC, Goodreads review)
- Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft (audiobook)
- Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft (ebook, Goodreads review)
- Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J. Hayes (audiobook & ebook)
- Traitor by Krista D. Ball (ebook, Goodreads review)
For next month, I’ve a number of books that I want to get through. I doubt I’ll get through all of these, but I’ll give it a bash. These include:
- The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso
- Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell
- The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark
- Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
- Art of War – An Anthology by Booknest.eu
Now, most of these are the books that I’m planning to read for me, with a couple of review copies that I promised I’d read soon. There are also a number of self-published review copies that I’ve been sitting on for a while (I think there is maybe 6 or 7 in total?) and I’ll be looking to read some of those too. So if we’ve e-mailed you to say that I’m gonna read your book: don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ll probably opt for a “one for me, one for you” type system.
January was mainly an audiobook month for me as I’m working on a big crochet project and wanna get as much done as possible before I burn out. Thus, I binged the first two books of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive! (Here’s my review of The Way of Kings and my mini-review of The Words of Radiance.) With almost 50 hours each, these two took up most of my January. They didn’t make me change my mind about epic fantasy (I enjoyed the books despite them being epic, not because, if that makes sense), but they were great fun to crochet to. My highlight of the month was definitely Seth J. Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which I gobbled up in one very anxious day.
Other books I read, with mini-reviews on Goodreads:
- Silver Birch, Blood Moon by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
- Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter
- Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft (reread)
- Two non-fantasy books: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (no mini-review, but it’s awesome and by the creator of the Bechdel test) and The Truce by Primo Levi (reread)
Also this month, in honour of my awesome new Discworld calendar, I’ve taken to scribbling down the books I’ve read that day. It’s definitely shaming me into reading every day. Tadaaa:
For February, my plans are to read more written books (…text books?). I have an intriguing ARC about necromancy and secret police to get to (Daniel Stride’s Wise Phuul), as well as heaps of birthday present dead tree books for the first time in forever:
I’d also like to start up a semi-recurring review series called NEM – Non-English Mondays, where I’ll be reviewing non-English language fantasy. First book to kick us off is probably gonna be Satan in Goray by Isaac Bashevis Singer, a creepy magical realism book originally written in Yiddish. …If I don’t get distracted by a certain audiobook I just got – Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Guns of the Dawn.
I read almost exclusively on my Kindle in January. I finished 5 books and have reviews for 4 of them. (The fifth one was The Chamber of Secrets.)
- 1 Children’s (Harry Potter)
- 1 YA (Everless)
- 3 SPFBO (Where Loyalties Lie; The Crimson Queen; Tiger Lily)
Also in January, I went through all of the SPFBO finalists and graphed all of their profanities. If I can keep up with it, I want to do this as a yearly stat for all of my books. I think Esme is going to do one as well for her reads, so it’ll be interesting to see how our stats compare.
In my real life, I organized my shelves by Read vs TBR. Here are a couple of pics of my Read shelves. My co-bloggers all agree that they love them. In fact they’re all making their shelves look like this:
For February, I want to read a bit more. January was a bit relaxed for me. I started a YA bookclub on /r/Fantasy, so I’ll be doing a review of Graceling by Kristin Cashore sometime in February. Other than that, who knows?
I want to maybe start a Short Story Saturdays as another reoccurring segment here on the blog. The reviews would most likely be short and sweet. Depending on the length, I’d (or whoever wants to make the post that weekend) review 1 or 2 short stories each Saturday from various places.
This month has been pretty dull, but between travelling for Christmas and having family visit me, I haven’t had much time to read, let alone review.
I started off the month with The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which was a lovely way to start the year. Then I moved on to Jade City by Fonda Lee, which is different then the typical book I would pick up (but it was very good and I highly recommend it).
For the latter half of the month I read James: Witch-Hunter by K.S. Marsden (review coming soon) which was a little bit disappointing, but a fast read that introduces you to an interesting world. Today I hope to finish The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. This book of short stories and folktales from the Grisha Universe is pretty enjoyable so far.
In the immediate future I’m planning to read the Klondaeg Omnibus by Steve Thomas. If you remember, all the way back in December, I reviewed a short story by Thomas — also part of the Klondaeg series, and I’m finally getting around to reading the rest.
After Klondaeg I think I’ll move on to Windwitch by Susan Dennard, The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso, and Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. We’ll see what this month throws at me and if I manage to get to these four books!
First month of the year, already behind on my Goodreads challenge! January has been kind of slow; only 3 book finished so far: Silver Birch, Blood Moon by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner and An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. Fairy tale retellings, fantasy of manners, and a space fantasy dystopia centred on social issues…pretty much my comfort zone!
I’m currently back to epic fantasy with Inda by Sherwood Smith; it’s a sub-genre I haven’t read since Oathbringer last November. I don’t want to spoil my upcoming review, but let me just say that this book is ridiculously underrated. I’m grateful to /r/Fantasy (and to Hiu) to have put it in my radar.
My immediate TBR list is pretty clear, for once, and I think I’m going to stick to it. Next, I am reading Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft with Tam and following up with The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso, two of the Inn’s favourites. I’m also throwing in 3 novellas to mix things up a little bit: All Systems Red by Martha Wells (a sardonic homicidal robot? yes please), Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis (a fantasy romance in a Victorian-like setting) and The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang (I’ve heard so many great things about it).
It’s been a crazy month for me. Due to travel, and now work, I haven’t read a massive number of books. 4 books for the month overall, which puts me exactly where I should be in my Goodreads challenge. I started off the new year with Paternus by Dyrk Ashton, which was quite good, and a must read for fans of mythology. Next up was the beautifully written The Half Killed by Quenby Olson, which was unique and entertaining.
The rest of the month was dedicated to audiobooks, with me completing Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch and a reread of Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft to celebrate the rerelease by Orbit. I know I’ve raved about Senlin Ascends a lot, but the audiobook is also amazing, and I highly recommend picking up the book in one format or another.
In preparation for K.S. Villoso’s release of her newest book, The Wolf of Oren-yaro, I arranged and completed my first ever author interview. That’s another book I can’t recommend enough. I have a paperback winging its way to me from the US at the moment.
I’ve got a fairly large line up of books to get through this month. I’m currently listening to the new audiobook of The Heart of Stone, by Ben Galley, which has been really good so far, and reading Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker, and SPFBO finalist Devil’s Night Dawning by Damien Black. I’m also planning to read Josiah Bancroft’s Arm of the Sphinx with Sharade soon, and I’m looking for another audiobook for the second half of February.
In other news, my Boxing Day Sales purchases arrived this week, and I now have a very pretty, very full bookshelf!