Time for our monthly wrap-up! Summer of ’18 is so full of amazing new releases, hard not to feel overwhelmed by all these great reads. Here’s what we read this July, and our plans for August.
Y’know… I didn’t actually think I’d read many books this month, but apparently I read 10 of them. July has been a loooooong month. Too bloody hot, too. Mind you, it’s started to rain again now, and I’m reserving my right as a citizen of the UK to moan about the weather regardless of whether it’s sunny or whether it’s pissing down.
Anyway. This month I read:
- Red Season Rising by D.M. Murray (paperback) – A pretty good dark fantasy story, with some great action scenes. There’s a review of this hanging around the back end of the site, waiting to be published.
- Lud in the Mist by Hope Mirrlees (paperback) – A very charming-yet-unsettling tale with some great prose. Gollancz recently re-published this with a gorgeous new cover. Just look at that thing. Hell, check out the blurb by Neil Gaiman, too. It’s a book that’s definitely worth picking up, if it catches your interest.
- Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) – Another book in the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series. And… well… yeah. This was basically “just another book”, to be honest. It was fun enough, what with the demon unicorn things and all, but it’s not my favourite in the series.
- Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (audiobook, Goodreads review) – I can recognise that this is a well-written book… but I didn’t really connect with it. Pretty much all of the characters just rubbed me up the wrong way. I can’t handle books with “nobility” at the best of times, so really I had no business reading this in the first place.
- The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark (hardback) – This book proves that Anna Smith Spark is the real deal. If you’re a fan of grimdark, you really ought to be reading her books.
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (hardback) – An awesome book, which I enjoyed even more than Novik’s last novel, Uprooted. The romance in this one is a little weird… And I dunno if I’m just not quite comfortable with the power dynamics that Novik tends to have with her relationships. Regardless, this is atmospheric as all hells, with some awesome characters.
- The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (hardback) – Fun, but dark. Some real messed-up shit happens in this book… and it’s all historically accurate. It makes you feel sick, and more than a little angry, but I enjoyed this one. It’s not a popcorn read, it’ll make you think.
- Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (hardback) – THIS WAS AMAZING. I love Becky Chambers’ books. They’re just so warm and fuzzy and fantastic, while also having some really thought-provoking themes.
- IRON FUCKING GOLD by Pierce Brown (hardback) – That’s right… I FINISHED IT! I finally got around to finishing it and… It was a bit underwhelming. Took me far too long to connect with the characters and the story, and it just didn’t have the same “binge-able” feel that the original Red Rising trilogy did. I’ll be buying the next one based on the strength of the last trilogy, but I wasn’t too enamoured by this one.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (audiobook) – People kept telling me that this was I book that I simply HAD TO read. Well… maybe they were right. I listened to it instead of reading an actual textual version, and I’m kinda regretting that choice. The narration was solid, but I get the feeling that this would have been much more powerful in text. As it stands, it didn’t resonate with me all that much.
What the shit? I’m just noticing that I haven’t read a single ebook this month. My kindle must be feeling abandoned.
Alright you guys, I’m back!! Thanks in part to the wonderful #24in48 marathon, I’ve finished 13 books (and 1 audio drama). Very excitement, much happy! Unfortunately, I think I’ll be slowing down next month again: August is the final push for my MA. It should be fine (I gave myself an extra month on purpose) but, you know, still stressful haha. …And now that I have successfully freaked myself out and then calmed myself down a bit, on to the books!
So, first of all, the audio drama: Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. I swear I’d almost forgotten how obsessed I got with the World Cup earlier this month. Anyway, very fun little audio drama!
Then the fantasy books:
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (paperback; thoughts on GR)
- The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss (audio)
- City of Lies by Sam Hawke (audio; thoughts on GR)
- The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley (audio)
- Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (audio; very silly and fun but also WHERE ARE THE LINGUISTS)
- Metamorphica by Zachary Mason (ebook; my first ARC!)
- City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (ebook; maybe review coming soon?)
- Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel (ebook; maybe review coming soon?)
- Miss Landon and Aubranael by Charlotte E English (ebook; very silly and quite charming)
- An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (audiobook; thoughts on GR)
And last, non-fantasy:
- Women, Resistance and Revolution by Sheila Rowbotham (paperback; thoughts on GR)
- The Duchess War by Courtney Milan (audiobook WHICH WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA I’M WAY TOO PRUDISH FOR THAT; thoughts on GR)
- The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan (ebook; my third historical romance, I love Courtney Milan!)
Whew, ok, that’s me done! Happy to finally have something to say, but also gosh that required a lot of bolding and linking… Anyway, at the moment I’m reading Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse (yes, I bought the hype haha) and listening to European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss. I’ve given up on planning what I’ll read next, but I sure am enjoying my current reads!
July has been hot, and between the record-breaking heatwave and a trip back home, I didn’t manage to be very productive reading-wise. 4 books only, but all enjoyable:
- Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio
- Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold: the second instalment of the 2018 Hugo-nominated World of the Five Gods series. I’ve read the Curse of Chalion a long time ago and finally got to the sequel. I liked it a lot, Ista is a compelling main character and the world is as fascinating and brilliantly built as ever.
- A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (audiobook)
- Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky: an exhilarating and well-written mix between flintlock and fantasy of manners.
Right now I am audiobooking The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss, and it’s as delightful as Jenia described it. I’ve also started reading The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis, which was on my radar since its release and promises to be a lot of fun. For the rest of August, I’m planning on catching up with requests and sequels (I have a sudden craving for more of Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence).
I read a few books over the month but didn’t get a chance to review most of them. Books read are:
- Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan – it was a really good read, but I was a bit sad at the lack of Hadrian and Royce.
- A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers – fantastic character-focused sci-fi, absolutely lived up to the first book.
- Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb – great character-driven fantasy novel. I loved Fitz.
- Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell – really good debut with a couple of pacing issues towards the end. A bit dark for my taste but a must-read for fans of grimdark.
- Darkmage by M.L. Spencer – great story for seeing how people react to bad situations and what desperation can do to someone.
- Construct by Luke Mathews – an amazing magical story about self-discovery.
- A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White – a fun book with futuristic magical car racing, treasure hunting, and much more. I wasn’t a massive fan of the MC though.
- City of Lies by Sam Hawke – a new book to add to my favourites list. Some of the best characters I’ve read in a while.