Hey folks! We’ve now been a genuine blog for approximately 4 months now, and things are still plodding along well. We’ve read some awesome books, wrote some reviews, and one of our posts went viral for a little while in the SFF-sphere.
This is our second monthly wrap-up post, following on from last month’s January Wrap-up. This is basically just gonna be a quick round-up of what we read and reviewed this month, and our plans for moving into March.
Let me first start off by saying that I bloody hate February. It’s a sneaky wee month. It creeps up on you, and those 2/3 nonexistent days at the end of the month really lull you into a false sense of security.
“I really oughta read that book… oh well. I have until the end of the month!”
Anyway. Despite February’s attempts to totally screw me over, I managed to get an okay amount of reading done this month — including four of the five books I said that I’d read in my January wrap-up!
- An Ill-Fated Sky by Darrell Drake (beta-read)
- The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S Villoso (ebook, Goodreads review)
- Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell (audiobook)
- Art of War: Anthology for Charity by Booknest.eu (ebook, ARC)
- The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark (paperback)
- Danse Macabre by Laura M. Hughes (paperback)
I was thrilled to receive an ARC of Art of War, since all proceeds from the book go an awesome charity: Doctors Without Borders. There’s some great short stories in the anthology, and I discovered a few authors that I’m keen to read in the future. You should definitely consider picking up a copy if you haven’t already done so.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed most of the books I’ve read this month. Scores of 4 and 5 stars all round, with the exception of Traitor’s Blade, which fell to a 3 star for relying on a trope which I reeeeally wish would just go away already.
Outside of reading, I discovered the joys of feeding books into a predictive-test algorithm. I’ve had quite a bit of fun with this, and other folks seem to like them too. My First-Law/Wheel-of-Time mash-up earned a “Holy shit” from Joe Abercrombie. The combination of the Kingkiller Chronicles and the Gentleman Bastards earned a retweet from Scott Lynch and a “Wow” from Pat Rothfuss.
I also mixed The Lord of the Rings and Fifty Shades of Grey together on Reddit for Valentine’s day, and that was… something.
Going into March, I have more mash-ups planned (I’m thinking Dresden Files versus Sufficiently Advanced Magic), but let me know if you can think of any good combinations!
In the coming month I hope to read:
- The Eighth God by Paul Lavender (audiobook, review copy)
- Song by Jesse Teller (ebook, review copy)
- Last Dragon Standing (audiobook, for fun)
- One Way by S.J. Morden (ebook, review copy)
- Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (hardback, for fun)
- Ankaran Immersion by Will Weisser (ebook, review copy)
I am fiiiinally making my way through my review request backlog, so hopefully I can make a dent in the small mountain I have waiting for me!
February was an absolute Month From Hell for me (helped my 60 year old parents move, regretted life), so I unfortunately got very little reading done, and even less reviews. I did finish up some books for Bingo, but that’s about it!
- The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – Really fun read, if you’ve read the book check out my list of Russian fairy-tale Easter eggs after the review proper!
- Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Loved this book!! Review coming ASAP.
- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson – Fun, easy read. Review coming ASAP.
- The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey – Unfortunately didn’t click with me, mini-review on GR.
- The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin – Great but not as good as book 1, mini-review on GR.
Also read The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan (historical romance) because of Sharade’s excited squeeing. Heartily agree with said squeeing!
For March, my main goal is just to finally get to the ARCs I’ve been too exhausted to get to, and finish up my Bingo! Everything else has to wait. (Except for Heartstrikers #5, which comes out tomorrow, and Torn by Rowenna Miller, a new release about a seamstress and her communist brother. I’m only human after all~)
I read a lot of stuff in February:
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (reread via Jim Kay edition)
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by Rowling (reread via Jim Dale audiobook)
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle
- The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark (review copy provided by the author)
- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
- Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
- Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Harry Potter and History, edited by Nancy Reagin
- Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger
- Amatka by Karin Tidbeck
- Court of Fives by Kate Elliott
- I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land by Connie Willis (eARC provided by Subterranean Press via NetGalley; limited edition release in April)
- Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby (eARC provided by Angry Robot Books via NetGalley; releases in March)
- East Dragon, West Dragon by Robyn Eversole, illustrated by Scott Campbell
- Dragons Rule, Princesses Drool! by Courtney Pippin-Mathur
- 84K by Claire North (eARC provided by Orbit via NetGalley; review to be published in April; releases in May)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by Rowling (reread via Jim Dale audiobook)
- Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland
- The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons and the Whole Kingdom by Diane Mae Robinson (agrees with HiuGregg about the whole comma thing in lists)
- Kodiak’s Claim by Eve Langlais
- Dragons from Mars by Deborah Aronson, illustrated by Colin Jack
- Where’s the Dragon? by Jason Hook, illustrated by Richard Hook
I probably won’t read as much in March. The books I’m hoping to get to:
- The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
- Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (ARC provided by Ecco Books; releases in April)
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
If I read those three books, I’ll consider the month a success. I’ll hopefully read others as well. I also want to try and be more consistent with Short Story Saturdays, too.
February was a crazy month for me personally and I managed to get way less reading done than I wanted, but oh well, life happens!
This month I read:
- The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo: a beautiful collection of short stories.
- Klondaeg the Monster Hunter by Steve Thomas: a fantastic palette cleanser broken into easy to read episodes
- Klondaeg and the Klondaeg Hunters by Steve Thomas: even better than the first Klondaeg book!
- The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons and the Whole Kingdom by Diane Mae Robinson (so cute!)
I also started The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso, but haven’t finished it yet!
In the month of March I hope to read:
- The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
- Klondaeg: Lord of Heroes by Steve Thomas
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft
- Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan
February went by too fast (yes, I’m already preparing excuses for how little I’ve read). But what this month’s reading list lacked in quantity it certainly made up in quality, with two books that are strong early contenders for my favourites of the year:
- Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft: it has almost become an in-joke (or should I say, Inn-joke? No? Tough crowd) how we all adore the Books of Babel series. I’m relatively late to the party since I’ve only finished the sequel to the excellent Senlin Ascends this month. This second book is even more engrossing and gorgeously written than the first. It is due for a re-release in physical version by Orbit on March 13th. The penultimate book of the series, The Hod King, will be released next December.
- Inda by Sherwood Smith : as expected, this book was a delight. I will try to find the time to binge through the rest of the series, before (in typical me fashion) I quickly forget everything that happens in the first book…
I have also read a short story collection, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. The review for it should be up at the end of the week. Yes, another fairytale retellings anthology. If it ain’t broke…
My objective for March is to finish the books I’ve started (and to complete the /r/Fantasy 2017 Bingo):
- The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier: a beautiful slow-burner with a coming-of-age element. I missed Marillier’s stories. It’s a bit too early in the reading for me to recommend this book in particular, but fans of Robin Hobb and Katherine Arden (yes, I’m mostly targeting Hiu here) should definitely check out her work: The Sevenwaters series, Heart of Blood, the Blackthorn and Grim series…
- The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso: definitely not a slow-burner; we cut right to the chase with this dynamic introduction to the Annals of the Bitch Queen series. I’m very excited to read more.
- Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon: I’ve been wanting to try Moon’s work for a while now and I love space operas. Trading in Danger is starting a bit slowly so far but it already shows promise.
- Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda: I’m not much of a graphic novels person but I’m looking forward to dive into this one. The art is beautiful and the story sounds steampunkishly creepy.
I’ve apparently read quite a lot this month. I started off by buddy reading Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft with Sharade. It was a fantastic book, easily living up to the first one, and I’m looking forward to reading book 3 when I manage to get my hands on it. Speaking of The Hod King, its cover was released this week, and it’s beautiful. I also finished Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker, which I quite enjoyed. I have already bought myself a copy of the second book in the series, Blood of Assassins. I also read Klondaeg the Monster Hunter by Steve Thomas last night. It was a light-hearted, fun book which was a very quick and easy read.
I’ve also gone through quite a few short stories. The General & The Visitor by Richard Billing and Mark Brooks are two very thought-provoking short stories. The proceeds of the sales go to charity: namely, the Ranelagh House Care Home. I also read Danse Macabre by Laura M Hughes, and spent the following hour waiting for my brain to catch up. It’s a fantastic little horror story.
I’ve also gone through two and a half audiobooks this month. The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley was absolutely amazing. Both story and narration were done amazingly well. My other audiobook, Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron has some of the most loveable characters I’ve read about, and is a perfect example of a nice main character, which Sharade talked a bit about this month. I enjoyed Nice Dragons so much that I’m already listening to book 2 in the series.
I also read a non-fiction book this month, What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank by Krista D Ball, which provides an in depth background for all things food, and how to accurately write about food in historical fiction and fantasy. It was a very interesting read, and I highly recommend it for people interested in writing historically accurate fantasy. I also recommend reading it after eating because it does make you hungry.
I’m currently reading The Eagle’s Flight by Daniel E. Olesen, and listening to One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron. Both books are quite enjoyable so far. I’m planning to read Darrell Drake’s An Ill-Fated Sky, and Liam Perrin’s Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights later this month as well.
Bonus: The Fantasy Inn Behind-The-Scenes
The Inn tried to do a special Valentine’s Day post about fantasy couples we ‘ship, and, well, the brainstorming wasn’t very productive:
For context, Kaladolin is Kaladin and Adolin, two characters in the Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson.