October, the spoooky month, is over! Time to put away the Halloween decorations and start rehearsing Christmas carols. Our monthly wrap-up is here, come check out what the Inners liked, DNFed, raved, ranted about…
October was a busy busy month for me as PhD work kicks into high gear. This ate into my reading time a little bit (and ate into my reviewing time A LOT) but I still managed to read a few books this month. I still have to find the time to sit down and review these when I get the chance.
- Slow Horses by Mick Herron – I took a bit of a break from fantasy with this crime/thriller tale that a friend recommended, and really ended up enjoying it in the end.
- Ghosts of Tomorrow by Michael R. Fletcher – I nabbed a copy of the audiobook when we interviewed Fletch a while back, and it’s a very gritty, intense book. Hoping to get the review for this up soon.
- City of Lies by Sam Hawke – So everyone at the Inn had been telling me to read this one. It’s not my usual fare, especially as I don’t take well to privileged characters as a rule, but I did find myself enjoying it.
- The Right to Arm Bears by Andrew Seiple – The Threadbare audiobooks are a treat that everyone should experience, but this is probably the weakest of the three. It’s still fun, but the trilogy gets a little more lost with each book, in my opinion.
- Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson – A very political hard sci-fi book that takes a very critical look at how the world could stand a few decades down the line. Not exactly to my tastes, but a very interesting read. Read my review for this here.
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – I hosted a read-a-long for this over on the /r/Fantasy subreddit, and this is such a wonderful book to re-read. So much foreshadowing, so much character growth, and so many subtleties. I’ll be picking up the ebook as soon as I can figure out how to get it on my Kindle.
- Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – Well this was just a delight. A romantic fantasy with a captivating Indian-inspired world. I’ll be posting my review of this closer to release, with Kop posting a review of his own before then (since he got there first).
- Skyward by Brandon Sanderson – A young-adult sci-fi novel written by Brandon Sanderson… that’s pretty much all you should need to know. My review for this should be dropping on the UK release day – November 6th!
Next month I’ll be digging into a few more of Orbit’s new releases – including The Winter Road by Adrian Selby and The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. I’ll also be looking to pick up Too Cold To Bleed by the amazing D.M. Murray.
Huh, I ended up reading so little this month and I’m honestly not sure why! Or rather, I started reading a fair amount of books… and then didn’t finish them. I did finish:
- The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: Aw man you guys it’s so good! The audiobook is so much fun too.
- The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth J Dickinson: Full rave review here!
- Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar. Review within the next week!
Apart from reading, I did start listening a historical podcast about Revolutions, which I highly suggest everyone to check out! I’m listening to the 1848 European revolutions now, in preparation for reading Brust and Bull’s Freedom & Necessity soon (it’s set in 1849). And totally apart from books, I got an A on my MA, eyyy!
October went rather well for me in terms of reading. My goal was to read 8 books, and I did it! Here’s what I read:
- Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang – A strong plot, but the characters were lacking for me [e-ARC provided via NetGalley]
- Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri – You might see me mention this again in my yearly favorites [e-ARC provided via NetGalley]
- Evermore by Sara Holland – The sequel to Everless and just as outstanding [e-ARC provided via the publicist]
- The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi – To me, it’s like if Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo were a Fantasy of Manners; definitely one to look out for January 2019 [e-ARC provided via NetGalley]
- City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab – Again, great plot and story, but forgettable/cardboard characters
- Green Jay and Crow by D.J. Daniels – A sci-fi book about a 3-D printed AI. Good, but I think it tried to do too many things it couldn’t quite pull off. Would definitely still recommend giving it a shot, though. [e-ARC provided via NetGalley]
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – reread. Still enjoyed it.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – Honestly, I thought it was just alright. I didn’t find it particularly scary, and a lot of it seemed like buildup that didn’t really go anywhere. However, Eleanor was fascinating to read about, and her paranoia about seemingly everything (like just how relaxed Theodora always seemed to be) was super interesting. All in all, this was pretty mediocre.
November will hopefully be around the same amount of books. I’m currently reading the second Trials of Apollo book by Rick Riordan. I also recently splurged and got the GraphicAudio version of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. So, who knows?
October has been busier than usual. I enjoyed the hell out most of my reads this month, which had the dual effect of helping me destress in the middle of a messy move and get me out of the reading slump that I was in since…since…well, a while.
My October books:
- Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis: a sweet novella in an alternative 19th century England (“Angland”) where women deal with politics while the men are focused on magic. The heroine, Cassandra, was the first woman magician before she lost the ability to use her powers. Stuck in a snowbound house party, she has to deal with an elf-lord who is hell-bent on creating tensions between his people and humans. If you like strong women as leads, a nice romance in the background, and female solidarity, you should definitely check out this novella. I loved it!
- Spellswept by Stephanie Burgis: aaand the prequel! This story is about Cassandra’s brother and sister-in-law, and it’s just as fun a read as Snowspelled. The focus is on family love and loyalties, it was touching and featured exactly my type of characters.
- The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: I was highly anticipating this book since I picked up the first one, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (thanks Jenia!) and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s my review. Since I preordered Lady’s Guide, I got a short story (set between the two books) about Monty and Percy for free! The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky was a lovely read.
- Strange Practice/ Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw: the two books in the (in-progress) Greta Helsing series were a delight. Here’s my review!
- A Closed and Common Orbit/ Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers: respectively second and third book of the Wayfarers series, it’s everything you expect from Chambers and more. There is a sense of decency, of hope, that emerges from these books. Please give them a try if you haven’t yet.
- STET by Sarah Gailey: a chilling and brilliant Black Mirror-esque short story.
- Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire: the Greta Helsing books gave me an Urban Fantasy itch, but this first novel of the October Daye series fell a bit short and didn’t properly scratch it…I’m however intrigued enough to eventually pick up the other stories in the universe.
- Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray: a novella retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in WWII-era England with an M/M romance. I enjoyed it a lot, even if the ending felt a bit rushed.
I’m currently reading Alexandra Rowland’s A Conspiracy of Truths. November is going to be a tough month (starting work! must find a flat!) so I don’t know what I can read for sure yet, but I’ll give priority to more diverse stories (this decision was prompted by the number of times I wrote “alternative 18th/19th century Europe” on this blog).
It was a bit of a slow month for me. I changed roles at work, so there’s been a lot of learning new stuff, and a bit less reading time. My October reads:
- Small Gods by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – This was a great book, as I’ve come to expect with most things Terry Pratchett
- The Jester by Michael J Sullivan (audiobook) – A nice little short story. Great intro to the Riyria world, and free on audible.
- Shadow of the Exile by Mitchell Hogan – An interesting book with a very reluctant hero.
- Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (audiobook)
- With My Own Eyes by Quenby Olson – Another great short story with some fantastic prose and interesting plot.
- Hero Forged by Josh Erikson (audiobook) – Review to come
- The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams – An amazing fantasy/sci-fi blend. A review is coming, I just got a bit distracted by the sequel.
- The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (audiobook)
- Rogue Dungeon by James A. Hunter and eden Hudson (audiobook)
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – DNF’d because too much finance when working in a finance job.
- Vicious by V.E. Schwab – DNF’d, was not a fan of just about everything in this book. Cool premise but not well executed imo.
I went into this month with the goal of reading some horror. That sort of didn’t happen, but a couple of audio dramas captured that spooky feeling.
My October Books:
- The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy: GO READ THIS NOW OKAY THANKS. An amazing follow-up to the first book. Grab a steaming mug of tea and curl up under a blanket to enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling.
- Lexicon by Max Barry: A magic school where students learn linguistics to control minds. It also has one of the best openings to any book I’ve ever read.
- We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson: The hype is real, this book is incredible. The world and characters were fantastic and I couldn’t put the book down.
- Lothaire by Kresley Cole: My first, uh, steamy paranormal romance. Parts of it far exceeded my expectations but the abusive nature of the main relationship wasn’t my thing.
- Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers: No one captures humanity like Becky Chambers. We finally get to see what the space fleet of humans is like, experiencing the world through the eyes of many POV characters whose lives intersect.
My October Audio Dramas (full reviews to come):
- The Black Tapes: An investigative journalist explores a series of unsolvable paranormal videos. An intriguing premise and first season that could have been excellent with better characters and fewer seasons.
- Splintered Caravan: Cyberpunk with elite crews—called “Caravans”—that undertake dangerous missions. Fantastic worldbuilding and a fun sense of adventure with a lovely cast of characters.
- Spines: Sort of loosely a superhero story, but if the hero was the result of an occult experiment and every superpower is terrifying and more than a little disturbing. The sound design is minimalistic but the story is intriguing.
- The Phenomenon: An apocalyptic story in the vein of A Quiet Place and Bird Box. Weird alien spore things have surrounded the planet and even looking at them causes instant death. An exciting first season that left me wanting more (and Season Two should just be starting now).
- Fall of the House of Sunshine: A comedic musical that’s just batshit insane. I have never heard anything like it and frankly, I doubt I ever will again.
I’m hoping to finish a few books and tackle a new audio drama or two next month, but my life will likely be consumed by NaNoWriMo. I doubt I’ll hit the 50K target, but if I can speed up my writing I’ll count it as a win!