It’s time to turn on the heating and wake up the lead singer of Green Day, because September has come to an end. In other words, it’s time to stop complaining about how bloody hot it is, and start complaining about how cold and rainy it is.
Here at the Inn, we’ve read a tonne of great books this September, and we’ve documented it all for you because
we need content we care.
I had just the worst reading slump this month. I didn’t actually finish a book until mid-way through the month, and I’ve started and subsequently DNF’d five different books. Listening to music rather than audiobooks cannibalised a lot of my reading time, so only four books crossed the finish line for me this September:
- Gryphon’s Eye by Kevin Weston – It took me around 2 months to actually get through this one, which is ridiculous considering how small it is. I wasn’t a huge fan of it, though it did have some cool ideas. My review will probably drop in a week or so.
- From The Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court by Benedict Patrick – I love the Yarnsworld books, and this was no exception. There’s just something magical about this world. Check out my review here.
- City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett – How have I waited so long to start this series? Amazing!
- Priest of Bones by Peter McLean – While we might be past the “peak” of grimdark mania, books like this one prove that the genre is far from dying. I really, really, loved this book. My review will hopefully drop in a couple of days.
As for October, well… The plan is to get through a couple of review requests I still have outstanding, and get stuck into my audiobook TBR. But honestly, I’d be happy if I could just pull myself out of this rut.
Uh, let’s see, this month I finished a fair amount of books but didn’t review all that many! Lots of them are non-fantasy, which is I guess why! For fun news, I also got the ARCs for Seth J Dickinson’s The Monster Baru Cormorant and Lavie Tidhar’s Unholy Land a couple days ago. I am SO, SO, SO excited to read both of them!!!! Expect reviews when it’s proper to release them! Plus Mackenzi Lee’s The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy comes out tomorrow (2.10.) and I. can’t. wait!! October is gonna be so exciting!
Also, me and Sharade started up a Twitter thread of books featuring Amazing Female Protagonists, so if you’re looking for anything in that direction, or would like to add your own recommendations for us, check it out!
So, fantasy books:
- The Magpie Lord by KJ Charles. Romance + mystery, it was a fantastic book! Thank you, Sharade, for reccing it to me. I’ll definitely be checking out the sequels sometime soon.
- The Just City by Jo Walton. Loved it, what an unusual book! I should really review it properly.
- Deepest Blue by Mindy Tarquini. Full review here!
- Through Darkest Europe by Henry Turtledove. Full review here!
- Burning Bright by Melissa McShane. A reread for me, motivated by Sharade reading it haha. I think I liked it even more this time, it’s super fun.
- Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis. Loved it, a really sweet novella. Full review to come I think!
Alright, now non-fantasy:
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I don’t read a lot of this type of… what is it? Contemporary? “Litfic”? Non-genre? But I picked this one up after browsing the bookstore (also something I rarely do) and really enjoyed it. Mother-daughter relationships do really get me…
- The Governess Game and Any Duchess Will Do, both by Tessa Dare. I dunno, I liked the ideas more than the execution I think.
- It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian. Reader, it’s basically a gay Sound of Music. Obviously it’s awesome.
- The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan. Really, really sweet. After trying a couple more romance authors, I gotta say Milan is still my favourite!
……….I sure read a lot of romance this month. Curse you Sharade, it’s all your fault!!!
I managed to read 4 books this September and one issue of a graphic novel. I had only planned on reading 2 books, so I’m happy with the results.
- The Trial of Kings by Phil Tucker: My first Phil Tucker book and the second book in one of his series. Very good. Fast paced.
- Stars Uncharted by S. K. Dunstall: A space opera about a couple of people on the run for their lives and to a mysterious lost world. Full review to be posted soon.
- Shades Within Us, edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law: A powerful collection of stories surrounding diversity. (E-ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley.)
- The Ikessar Falcon by K. S. Villoso: Second in her Annals of the Bitch Queen series. And wow! Talk about maybe better than the first, which was on my top novels list for last year.
- The Dreaming, issue #1 by Simon Spurrier: This is set in the Sandman universe and is my first look into that realm. Excellent mix of fun and intrigue. Beautiful artwork.
For October, I still only have 2 books I know I want to read.
- Zero Sum Game by S. L. Huang: Tried reading this earlier in the summer but was in a big reading slump and also pretty busy. Giving this another fair shot. E-ARC provided via NetGalley.
- The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: I cannot wait to get to this! E-ARC provided via NetGalley.
I didn’t respect my reading plan for September but that’s fine, I managed to finish 3 books this month (and before I’m put in the Corner of Shame, last month it was 0 novel, so…progress!)
- Vicious by Victoria Schwab: Schwab is definitely not my cup of tea, I’m sad to say. Love her social media presence but her books so far just don’t click with me, maybe because I just can’t connect with her characters? Vicious is the story of a powerful man hell-bent on revenge, and another powerful man on a mission. I’ve seen a lot of very good reviews for the story (and its sequel, Vengeful, was released on September 25th), so if you think you’d enjoy a fast-paced book about two anti-heroes frenemies trying to outsmart each other, I’d say give it a try.
- Torn by Rowenna Miller: I liked it! Loveable and relatable MC in a world that’s about to turn upside down, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda. A dressmaker who sews charms into the garments she makes is torn between her loyalty to her aristocratic customers (and a budding love affair with a charming nobleman) and her love for her revolutionary brother.
- Burning Bright by Melissa McShane: Review to come soon! Definitely my favourite read of the month. For some reason I just needed the story of a woman burning shit up. Go figure. If you love fantasy of manners with a strong plot and low-key romances, go get it!
My plans for October…er…I have to move. Which will probably affect how much I’ll be reading. I have a bunch of books I want to get to, but nothing set in stone. There are some releases I’m very excited about:
- The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
- A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland
- In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard
Annnd for non-fantasy a new KJ Charles is releasing in October as well and I have all the excite!
For the most part, September was a fairly slow month for me. I didn’t make it through too many print books until this weekend, I did, however, get through a fair few audiobooks. I also went to Brisbane Comic-Con where I met a fair few authors and bought a whole lot more books that I probably should have… whoops…
- The Aching God by Mike Shel (audiobook) – This was a really well-written dungeon crawl type of book. Reminded me a lot of what I’d expect from a tabletop game and had really compelling characters, great worldbuiling, and a fantastic storyline. Simone Vance narrated the audiobook amazingly well.
- Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – A really great book, as expected from Sir Terry, I loved pretty much every moment of it.
- Soul Music by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – I was a little bit meh on this one, didn’t appeal to me quite as much as most of the Discworld books I’d read so far, but it did have a couple of really great moments.
- Hogfather by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – I really enjoyed this one. It was great fun and is currently contending with Reaper Man for my favourite Death book. Will probably reread at Christmas time
- Threadbare Volume 3: The Right to Arm Bears by Andrew Seiple (audiobook) – This was really amazing, it was great to follow round Threadbare on more of his adventures. Cute, funny, and fantastically narrated.
- The Family of Blood by Quenby Olson – A fantastic short story written as a prequel to Quenby’s The Half Killed. Highly recommend for a short, fantastically written horror story
- The Rose and the Thorn by Michael J. Sullivan (audiobook) – Another great read. It’s great to be back with Hadrian and Royce, and there’s some more backstory for other Riyria Revelations characters.
- The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – Kind of underwhelming really. I understand why people frequently recommend readers not to start here. Rincewind is interesting, but it left a little bit to be desired. Will continue with more Rincewind later.
- Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – This one was really good. I’ve loved both Watch books so far and can’t wait to get into more of them. Vimes is a great character.
- The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding – This was a really long book that took me ages to read. It has great characters and will be a great book for fans of epic fantasy to read. Review to come soon.
- Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – This was amazing. A really fantastic debut set to release late October, I highly recommend this one. Review to come closer to release date.
That list actually ended up a lot longer than I expected. I’m currently listening to Small Gods by Terry Pratchett and reading Shadow of the Exile by Mitchell Hogan. Lots more reading planned for October, and hopefully more reviews for you all too!
September kicked off with Dragon Con and proved to be a pretty productive reading (and listening!) month. I’ve also kind of become obsessed with audio dramas.
- The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan: Much as the title suggests, the second book of the Powder Mage series mostly follows a war between nations. In my opinion, it was a much stronger story than the first book…and yet I wasn’t as fond of this one. There’s not a lot of forward plot momentum and the female characters were somewhat disappointing. That said, it was a fast paced action romp with some really freakin’ cool scenes.
- How NOT to Write a Novel by Howard Mittelmark & Sandra Newan: As an
elaborate procrastinatoraspiring writer, I’ve been slowly working my way through several writing advice books. This one was a bit different, offering advice on how NOT to write and avoid being published by pointing out 200 common mistakes most unpublished writers make. There was a lot of great advice in this book, though there was a huge amount of fluff in the form of example scenes written to showcase extreme examples of each mistake.
- The Witch Who Came In From the Cold by Lindsay Smith & Max Gladstone: Holy shit, y’all, this was incredible. Curious to see how an all-star team of writers tackle cold war espionage and underground magic? This is for you. Full review to come soon!
- Death March by Phil Tucker: This was my first LitRPG and a hell of a good time. Vikas Adams narrates the audio and he’s as amazing as he always is. This book should come with an important warning for prospective readers: Keep snacks and water nearby because you will not be leaving the world of Euphoria Online willingly.
- Nightmare Keep by Phil Tucker: A strong followup to Death March, as evidenced by the fact that I had to start it immediately after finishing the first book. It’s the sign of a great book when I pop in my headphones, blink twice, and find that the audio is done. It really does suck you in and fly by.
- Justice League: No Justice by Scott Snyder: A fun teamup that pits various groups of superheroes and supervillains against cosmic world-devouring entities. I enjoyed the banter between characters, but with so many present none had more than a line or two of dialogue to shine.
- The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis: Another amazing read. How are people not talking about this more? Imagine a late 19th century alternate history where Asimoov’s robots are reimagined as alchemical sentient machines. Full review to come soon!
Since I’ve fallen in love with the audio drama medium, expect to see a lot of audio drama reviews from me in the near future. For now, I want to highlight one that isn’t spec-fic:
- 36 Questions by Two-Up Productions (yes the same team behind Limetown): A podcast musical starring the absurdly talented Jessie Shelton and Jonathan Groff (of Hamilton, Frozen, and Mindhunter fame). A touching romance following a couple who attempt to save their marriage by asking each other 36 Questions. The whole musical is only 2.5 hours long and it has amazing music, comedy, and gut-punch feels.
Next month I intend to read some horror! I know next to nothing about the genre but am looking forward to exploring it.
And that’s it! We’re all looking forward to October now, what with the falling leaves, pumpkins, bizarre Halloween costumes with the word “sexy” plastered in front of them, and of course new book releases!