November has been a cool month! First, we welcomed to the Inn an owl who can make cocktails! The lovely Wol has indeed joined us and we couldn’t be happier.
Then we celebrated our first anniversary. The Inn is indeed a one-year old, and going strong. We would like to thank everybody in this amazing community for their support and their enthusiasm. Here’s to another year of reviews and shenanigans!
Winter has come! And with it, my reading speed has picked up the pace. I don’t know why I tend to read more in winter. Maybe cabbages are just more efficient in the cold, sorta like the trolls in Sir Terry’s Discworld. Whatever the reason, I’ve managed to knock out 14 books in November, which are:
- The Winter Road by Adrian Selby — A badass woman fights to build a road to bring trade and peace to people, but instead finds herself caught in a war. Took a while to grab me, but it was well worth it for the payoff. One of my favourite endings to a fantasy novel.
- Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett — Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are at their best here, throwing quips and insults back and forth. A delightful read. GNU Terry Pratchett.
- How Long ’til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin — My first Jemisin book, but certainly not the last. She is an amazing author, and some of the stories in this collection are outstanding.
- Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett — I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Witches Abroad, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable. The witches books are all fantastic.
- Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler — So I saw on Twitter that Jeff Wheeler had recently sold his 3 millionth (!!!) book, so decided to check his newest series out. This is about a little orphaned magic girl who gets adopted by a kind man to live on his floating house with his terror of a housekeeper. It was a bit juvenile, quite simplistic, and very predictable… but also very readable. It was a quick read and a good palate cleanser, so I may pick up the sequels.
- Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron — Set in the same city as her Heartstrikers books, this was a quick, fun read. I actually preferred Opal to Julius (who was a bit of a doormat, let’s be honest. A lovable doormat, but a doormat nonetheless) and I’m interested to see if Aaron has any sequels up her sleeves.
- The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan — This. Was. Amazing. It’s crazy, it’s ambitious, but it’s absolutely brilliant. I couldn’t even review it properly, it was more like just vomiting out superlatives. Go pre-order it. Now.
- The Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss — The first SPFBO4 finalist, put forward by Team Weatherwax (hi Esme!). This was a little grim, which I don’t mind, but it has an engaging story and is well-written. It’s a little… rapey, though. Which is weird to say about a book that doesn’t actually have any rape scenes, but it sure does love to threaten them.
- The Last God by Michael McClung — A novella by the first ever SPFBO winner! The main character here is a disillusioned old man with a wicked sense of humour. It’s actually more of an interconnected set of short stories, including one which involves a fight against a literal shit demon. Yes, you read that right.
- You Die When You Die by Angus Watson — Eh. I wasn’t enthused with this one. The premise is essentially that a group of vikings landed somewhere many years ago, and the natives treated them like gods and provided them everything they needed so long as they stayed within a set border. Generations pass, the vikings grow lazy, and then suddenly war is threatened. It’s a very funny book, but I just didn’t connect with the characters or believe in the story. Maybe I should have read it in print rather than audiobook, I don’t know.
- The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter — A very over-powered main character and a revenge story. Lots of fight scenes and some commentary on caste structure. I believe we might just be seeing a little more of this one in the near future.
- The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch — The narrator for these books is amazing, probably my favourite. He makes the books come alive, and I love the quirky little journeys of a policeman in a magical London.
- Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch — Same as the above, with the caveat that this is the most recent book in the series and I NEED MORE.
- King of Assassins by R.J. Barker — I love RJ, and both he and his books are a delight. Though on the surface he writes about ninja-like assassins, I always feel that these books are more about the redemption and corruption of people. This was a great end to an already great series, and I can’t wait to see what RJ comes up with next. I need to know what the “big ships” are.
In December, I have next to no plans about what I’m going to read. I have a few ARCS and requests to get through — Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly, Too Cold To Bleed by the amazing D.M. Murray — but beyond that I’m not sure.
I’ve got to admit, it feels good to have a manageable request list for once. I’ll probably read for myself a little bit in December, and then open the floodgates for requests again in January.
I… am still in a slump ahahaha. I read a fair amount, but didn’t finish most of it. (Hopefully this means next month will be me just banging them out!)
- Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar
- Night by Elie Wiesel: Exactly as good as expected
- Spellswept by Stephanie Burgis: Just as cute as the first one
- Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch: God I love this series so bad! I immediately read two of the comics to go with it too hehe
I also finished my Goodreads challenge of 72 books!!!! Maybe that’s why I slacked off after…
I read books!
- The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan (pretty average read for me; I liked it but was never excited about it. I’m hoping to like the third book more.)
- In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns by Elizabeth Bear (sci-fi murder mystery novella; great read. Full review to be posted in December.)
- Watersnakes by Tony Sandoval (e-ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley; this was alright. Graphic novel. The concept was interesting, but I felt the execution was a bit jumbled.)
- Ida and the Whale by Rebecca Gugger (e-ARC received from the publisher via NetGalley. This was a cute children’s picture book about a girl who meets a whale and explores the world. I’d say it was pretty average.)
- Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) edited by Catherine Lundoff (e-ARC from NetGalley; great LGBT+ pirate anthology)
- The Cobbler’s Boy by Elizabeth Bear and Katherine Arden (historical fiction novella; really enjoyed this one)
- Spinning Silk by T. Cook (Digital copy received from the author. Japanese-inspired fantasy; SPFBO 2018 entry. Well worth it.)
- A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein (e-ARC from NetGalley. YA book centered around a girl attempting to become the leader of her pack. Didn’t like it. Full review to come.)
- Shin by T. Cook (digital copy from the author. The other side to Spinning Silk. I preferred SS, but this is still worth reading. Full review to come.)
- The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky (e-ARC from NetGalley. Inuit and Norse inspired fantasy. Loved this. Full review to come.)
- White Sand, Volume 2 by Brandon Sanderson (below average)
- Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami (While there were things that bothered me, I overall liked this.)
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (well worth the hype)
Let’s hope December will also be a good reading month! Can’t wait, no matter what happens!
As predicted, November has been slower! My books this month:
- The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle: a Tor.com novella with layers of meaning and cosmic horror. It was disturbing and pretty awesome.
- The Last Witness by K.J. Parker: another Tor.com novella! This one about a conman/ memory “thief” who runs into the wrong sort of crowd. Witty and deep, packs a punch despite its short format.
- Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri: it’s as amazing as Hiu and Kop said. Reaaaad it!!!
- The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso: who’s on an Orbit kick? I’m on an Orbit kick. It’s a pretty fun, fast-paced, intrigued-filled story. My review will be published soon.
Right now I’m reading The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, which is so freaking great. Only halfway done but I’m totally in love already.
What am I going to read in December? Errr…Dunno. I recently started working so I might switch to audiobooks soon. I still have City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender to finish, woops. Oh and The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore. But…I have no idea if I will respect any reading plan 😀
I’ve been really bad at reading this month. A week interstate, with a few extra days stranded due to bad weather, prevented me from reading anywhere near as much as I’d have liked. Here’s my very short list of this month’s reads:
- Professional Integrity by Michael J. Sullivan – Audiobook short story. A really fun a quick read. Great for fans of Riyria. Also free, which is always a plus.
- The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams – This book was amazing. Book 2 in the series, and it follows on really well from The Ninth Rain. I really enjoyed it, definitely one of my new favourites.
- The Prince of Cats by D.E. Olesen – A really great Arabian thief novel. Tonnes of fun with a lot of great banter between characters. A great read for fans of The Lies of Locke Lamora or other thief novels.
- The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan – Audiobook. Another great Hadrian and Royce story. Book 3 in the Riyria Chronicles, and still lots of fun.
I’m currently working my way through Jade City by Fonda Lee. It’s amazing, I’m really enjoying it and will hopefully have it finished this weekend. Also listening to the Jingo audiobook. As per usual, Sir Terry has done an amazing job with this book.
This month has been a lighter reading month, but I did finally get around to starting Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. I managed to listen to a lot of audio drama, too.
- Changes by Jim Butcher: One of my favorite Dresden Files books so far. Everyone always says it ruins them emotionally, so I think my expectations were a bit blown out of proportion, but it was excellent all the same.
- Killer Dungeon by Phil Tucker: A solid end to an excellent series! This book had my favorite moments in the trilogy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too happy with how it ended, but that didn’t stop me from loving the journey.
- Flyest Fables: A great modern fairy tale anthology rooted in African American folktales. The narrator is fantastic and his singing is to delightful.
- Kaleidotrope: A magical realism gay rom-com about two talk show hosts giving love advice to students of a school where romance tropes are magically enforced. Highly recommend.
- Wolf 359: This might be my favorite story of the year. It’s hard to say because I’ve read some truly amazing stories in 2018, but HOLY SHIT you guys you have to listen to this.
- Mythos: Space fantasy! A ragtag crew of thieves flying around space told from the point of view of a mage from one of the prestigious mage guilds.
- Wolverine: The Long Night: The good news is that Marvel might have just successfully launched a podcast universe with very high production value and big name actors such as Richard Armitage. Unfortunately, I felt that this story fell far short of its potential.
- Homecoming: Now a television series starring Julia Roberts! The first season was a great sci-fi mystery about an organization rehabilitating veterans with PTSD. The rest was…not great.
- Here Be Dragons: SO GOOD. An all-woman cast aboard a submarine hunting for sea monsters. The main character uses her extensive mythological knowledge to help them navigate the creatures they encounter along the way.
- Tides: A biologist is stranded on a planet with a giant traveling wave, a la Interstellar. Unfortunately this wasn’t for me, but if you’re interested in some great worldbuilding you might love this.
- Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services: Imagine a slice of live Dresden Files written by Becky Chambers about a queer witch trying to run a small business. I loved the themes explored in each episode, and I think fans of Earthsea will enjoy the arc of dealing with past mistakes.
- The Bright Sessions: There’s a reason why this is getting two spinoff podcasts, a television show, and a three book deal with Tor. The story almost entirely revolves around the therapy sessions for people with superhuman abilities and is simply incredible.
- We Fix Space Junk: A fun space opera adventure with a dry sense of humor. The sound design is some of the best I’ve heard and I will never stop loving a snarky loan company as the big bad of the universe.
I’m so happy to have joined the Inn! I’ve been slowed down a little by Thanksgiving and the transition (building a bar takes time, ya know) but now I’m happily nestled away, I’ll have more to report next month. My books this month:
- The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V.R. Cardoso: I wasn’t the target audience for this, but it was a YA adventure with a lot of heart and very likeable.
- Chaos Trims My Beard by Brett Herman: A funny and quirky fantasy noir that I enjoyed immensely. And it inspired my first beer cocktail!
Currently I’m reading Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri in audio form, and good god is it ever a big, bold Bollywood movie of a novel. Sumptuous worldbuilding, sympathetic characters… I can’t wait to make a cocktail inspired by this one. Gorgeous.
I’m also reading Kingshold by D.P. Wooliscroft, and it’s serving as a lovely reminder of why I take requests in the first place. I’m having a fantastic time with his host of fascinating characters and richly detailed world.
I’ve also been working my way through Season One of Tremontaine, after loving Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint. The Serial Box format is something different and clever, and being able to take little bite sized chunks of story in-between books (and to alternate between reading and listening) has made it a delightful change of pace.
In December I’m planning to pick up The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker, which looks to be something of a holiday extravaganza! I’ll also be taking on the audiobook of Darkmage by M.L. Spencer and hopefully a couple more books from my (finally approaching manageable) request list, time permitting. Here’s to December!