Spring is upon us, and with it the promise of warmer days and…oh, I’m interrupted by a crazy Australian screaming that it’s actually autumn. Ok, Tam.
In any case, March has been an overall productive month for us, and we’re happy to share with you guys what we read and loved, as well as our plans for April. Here’s our previous wrap-up. Cheers!
March has been a fucker of a month for me personally, but luckily I had some great books (and blogmates) there to help pull me through the shit. I’ve actually been a pretty prolific reader this month, racking up a total of 8 books. Sure, I only read half of the books that I’d actually planned to read this month, but I’m catching up on that other half now, so I don’t feel so bad.
The books I read in March were:
- The Eighth God by Paul S. Lavender (audiobook, review copy)
- Last Dragon Standing by Rachel Aaron (audiobook)
- Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook)
- Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook)
- Song by Jesse Teller (ebook, review copy)
- Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (audiobook)
- Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (audiobook)
- The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (ebook, ARC)
Wow. Looking at that, I did a lot of listening this month. Not like me, usually I’m more of a talker than a listener.
I enjoyed pretty much all of the books I read this month. I was beyond excited to read Last Dragon Standing, being the last book in the Heartstrikers series, and it did not disappoint. Aaron has announced a sequel series set in the same world, and that cannot come quick enough.
I got really into Rivers of London and the Nevernight Chronicle, too. Both series surprised me with how much I enjoyed them, and their awesome narrators have definitely contributed a lot to that. However, Nevernight did lead to a bit of an awkward situation in a café…
Next month I’m planning to read:
- Age of Assassins by R.J. “Scrambled Eggs” Barker (audiobook)
- One Way by S.J. Morden (ebook, ARC)
- Ankaran Immersion by Will Weisser (ebook, review)
- Armstice by Lara Elena Donnelly (ebook, ARC)
- Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (hardback, I swear I’m actually gonna read it this time)
As far as non-reading events are concerned, I got up to a bunch of typical Hiu stuff this month, including:
- Started a book series with fantasy doggos
- Created animated covers for Paternus 2 and Faithless
- Something to do with buttocks
- Found out that I’m actually half-cabbage half-Indonesian-shark
- Had my awesome girlfriend buy me some incredibly pretty books (shown below)
March continued to be a rather quiet month for me, partially because I started reading more non-fantasy books and partially because I went to Berlin for a week (yaay). On the other hand, I’d give all the books I read this month 4 or 5 stars.
I started off with Rachel Aaron’s Last Dragon Standing, and found it a great conclusion to the Heartstrikers series. I also finally reviewed Adrian Tchaikovksy’s Guns of the Dawn; this book is one of my highlights of 2018 so far. And the other fun thing I did for the blog was write up the instructions to make your own mini Discworld. It’s one of the first times I made my own crochet pattern and the first time I wrote one down properly, so I’m excited it turned out pretty damn cute (if I do say so myself)!
Apart from that I read a few fantasy books I didn’t review for the blog (most of which I have no plans to review):
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: The most optimistic dystopia I’ve ever read.
- Deerskin by Robin McKinley: A very beautiful, depressing book.
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Really funny and sweet; straddles the border between fantasy and historical fiction.
- Escape from Baghdad! by Saad Hossein: OK this one I actually have to write a review of because it’s so crazy and awesome and crazy.
- The Ladies of Grace Adieu & Other Stories by Susanna Clarke: I’d forgotten how witty she is!
- Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett: I mean it’s Pterry. Early Pterry though to be fair.
- Torn by Rowenna Miller: An interesting debut; review coming soon!
And a couple non-fantasy books: Andorra by Max Frisch, a play that I generally enjoyed; Cinammon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown, an awesome book which features a really cool female pirate captain; and The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievich. This is actually the best book I’ve read all month, and is honestly one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. Highly, highly recommended.
The new /r/fantasy Bingo is starting next month, so I guess I plan to start on that! I’d also like to read more non-fantasy books, as honestly, I think I really enjoy the variety. But of course I’m gonna try to remain active with the blog and the fantasy ones too. 🙂
March started out great. And then it got a little stressful. So while I did manage to read a lot of books, much of them were pretty short. I also think I only managed to read one or two of the books I set to read this month. Oh well. TBRs are flexible. (:
Here are the books I read in March:
- Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft. Great book. Had a bit of a slower start for me than the first book. However, it got into the swing of things so quickly the slower start was hardly noticeable very quickly. I need the third book now!
- The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise by Bob Collopy. I so desperately wanted to like this book. The premise was a bit vague, but I was still intrigued. But there was maybe one or two brief scenes in the entire book I liked. The book attempts things, but unfortunately doesn’t succeed at them in my opinion–e.g., eye-dialect coming across as overly stereotyped; a Hunger Games-esque dystopian plot without explaining or showing why the phoenix cycle (these military-like games?) even happens or how the society came to this point; or multiple POVs, except the majority of the characters felt like they had the exact same personality. [I received this as an eARC from the author via NetGalley.]
- The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. I really liked this book. As I mention in my spoiler-free full-series review, I still liked the first one the best of the three. Nevertheless, this ending had everything I could ask for and more.
- Chessmen of Doom by John Bellairs. It was alright. It had a great atmosphere, and the horror/mystery elements were done fantastically. But I thought the characters fell flat, and some moments in the plot felt a bit too convenient.
- Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Again, this wasn’t bad. Everything was good. I didn’t dislike anything about this book. It’s just that most of it was just shy of being great. The main protagonist, though, was amazing. In fact, I’d say the characters in general are the highlight of the book.
- The Serpent by Claire North. Again, another average book. I seem to have had a few of those in a row this month. This was a novella, but to me it felt like it was too short. The ending was great. The concept (of playing a game that affects the real world in order to live in the Gameshouse and extend your own life for possibly centuries) was great. It just seemed like things moved so quickly. Perhaps I’ll end up liking the overall series more than the individual books.
- Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. A children’s book about a dad who goes on some wacky adventures when buying milk. Is he telling the truth? Who knows?
- Paradox Lost by Libby Drew. This is a soft urban sci-fi M/M time travel romance. I really enjoyed this one. It’s about a time travel tour from 2145 guide who has to team up with a detective in the past, 2020.
- Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller. A great book about a floating city, a woman with a polar bear who comes riding in on an orca, and citizens on the outskirts. Full review to come closer to publication, April 18. [I received an ARC of this from Ecco Press in exchange for an honest review.]
I feel like I was actually productive with reading this month!
I started off the month with The Selection by Kiera Cass. It’s a dystopian Young Adult novel that I had very mixed feelings about. I’m reading the third book in the series now and I plan to have a review up early next month.
I also read Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Super good book and our very own our very own Tam reviewed it back in December. The second book in the series comes out next week and I’m really looking forward to it.
I finished Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (finally) which I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as I expected. I loved the first book in the series, but I feel like the quality tapered off a lot towards the end. It has an excellent ending though, I’ll give it that.
Finally I read Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch, the fourth book in his Rivers of London series. This series is a really fun popcorn read and I’m excited to reading the next book (especially since there’s promises of unicorns).
I’m not really sure what I’ll read next month. Every month I make a plan, but I never actually stick to it so this month I’m just going to pick whatever books tickle my fancy and we’ll see how it goes.
Aah, the dreaded wrap-up post. Last month I had the excuse of it being February, with fewer days. This month…er, the dog ate my homework?
I read one fantasy book in March, The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton, generously provided by Tor/Forge through Netgalley. It was off to a rocky start but eventually managed to become an engrossing and emotional read.
This month was mostly about satisfying a historical fiction craving, with Elizabeth Chadwick novels and a Jeanne Bourin story about a family of goldsmiths in medieval Paris (“La Chambre des Dames“), which was my first French book in…who knows how long.
The highlight of the month was the Robin Hobb signing in Paris! (Yes, I am totally pulling a “I don’t have a lot to say about books but anyway, here’s Robin Hobb”). She was so sweet and patient, and I don’t think I creeped her out with an excess of fangirling. Probably. I got these two babies signed! Aren’t they the prettiest?
As for the April reading schedule, ha. I now know better than to make fixed short-term TBR lists. I make plans and my chaotic mood reading laughs. I am still reading K.S. Villoso’s delightful The Wolf of Oren-yaro, which I’m probably going to finish in the few days to come. Next, I will try and finish The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier. I also want to go back to the world of Inda (Sherwood Smith) with The Fox. I might possibly maybe it’s still unsure get a Foundryside (Robert Jackson Bennett) e-ARC soon, in which case Smith and Marillier will have to wait, because I am ridiculously hyped about this book.
I had an excellent month in both reading and listening to books. I think I might’ve set my own record of audiobooks completed in a month with 6 already completed, and another to be finished today or tomorrow.
- Heartstrikers #2-5 by Rachel Aaron, narrated by Vikas Adam. These books were absolutely amazing, and I loved them the whole way through. I binged the whole series within the first week or 2, which is quite an achievement for me with audiobooks. Vikas Adam does an amazing job with the narration, and it has one of the most endearing protagonists I’ve read about in a while. Julius Heartstriker would have to be one of my favourite MCs.
- Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe, narrated by Nick Podehl. Another absolutely amazing book. One of my first LitRPGs, and I really loved the tinker protagonist, the magic school and world building. All round a fantastic book, and amazingly well narrated too.
- Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of the Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin. This was a great little comedy and a good palette cleanser. It took a little to get started, but from about 20% onwards I spend most of the book laughing.
- The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Lloyd James. This was not what I expected, but I loved the court intrigue, the world building and the characters. I was lost from about 20% to about 50% of the book of the book. I don’t think it works too well as an audiobook as I was struggling to keep up with who was who and what was happening early on. The ending was quite good, but I feel like I’d have enjoyed this one a bit more in text. Full review of this one to come soon.
- Blackwood Marauders by K.S. Villoso. This one isn’t actually out for the next few days, but I had the pleasure of reading the ARC, and will be posting a review next week. It’s a fantastically written book that throws good characters into bad situations and then shows the outcomes. I loved this book, and watching as the loveable MC got thrown into all sorts of situations he really didn’t belong in.
- An-Ill Fated Sky by Darrell Drake. Following up on A Star-Reckoner’s Lot, this book follows around one of the main characters as he deals with the world in ways he hasn’t before considered. Darrell does a fantastic job of writing messed up characters, and once again, he nailed the ending of the book. This one also just released a few hours ago. ARCs are great!
Currently reading The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks, narrated by Simon Vance. I should be finishing this either today or tomorrow, and am considering going for a hike to finish the last few hours. I also started The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang which is quite enjoyable so far, and Darkmage by M.L. Spencer this morning. I’m not really far enough in to say much. Not sure if I’ll be starting The Broken Eye or The Lions of Al-Rassan as my next audiobook.