December Wrap-up

This is our last wrap-up of 2018! In case you’ve missed it, we published the lists of our favourite reads this year.

We wish you a happy, merry end of 2018 and an even happier, merrier beginning of 2019. Next year promises to be full of exciting reads, and we can’t wait to share them with you.


cabtwit (1)

Hiu

Man, December was a hectic month for me work-wise, and I wasn’t able to get through as many books as I would have liked. What’s worse is that I ended 2018 on 99 books. 99! It’s really bugging me that I never made the nice even 100, but I suspect that this was still my best ever year for reading.

The books that I did manage to get through were:

  • Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer (audiobook) – A comedic audiobook about a dude who discovers that he can “hack” the universe by editing a text file. This was a pretty funny book, and the narration really helped, but I didn’t feel that it had much substance. Regardless, it was a nice light read that worked well as a palate cleanser.
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – I FINALLY managed to pick this up on sale after Sharade yelled at me to read it for months. And to be fair, I really enjoyed it. The magic was really cool and I loved the high-action feel, though I was a little taken aback at how different this was compared to RJB’s Divine Cities series.
  • Lock In by John Scalzi (audiobook) – This was my first Scalzi book, and to be honest I have to admit I wasn’t much of a fan. The concept was kinda cool, but honestly I was just never invested.
  • The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft – AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Review for this should drop soon!
  • Too Cold to Bleed by D.M. Murray – A more character-forming sequel to Murray’s Red Season Rising. Review for this will hopefully drop soon!
  • Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly – A hell of a conclusion to LED’s Amberlough Dossiers trilogy. The first book still remains my favourite, but I enjoyed this one a lot. Totally invested in the relationships between these characters. Review for this will drop the week of release!

Jenia

Jenia

December is, as for everyone I think, one of those fun but stressful months, I ended up thinking about books (e.g. present-shopping, present-receiving end-of-year summaries, plans for next year) more than actually reading books.

I did get to read and review a fantastic ARC that I’d really been looking forward to: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden.

Apart from that my main reading for the month was done on the 30th of January during a long train ride. It became a sort of mini-readathon, as I tried to finish up some of the many books I’d started but not finished yet (a habit of mine). I finished:

  • The first Captive Prince book by CS Pacat: Gripping and easy-to-read; I’d read it back when it was being published online but enjoyed it a lot more this time around.
  • Band Sinister by KJ Charles: Fluffy and tons of fun.
  • Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly: Does this have a cool, slick 1920s jazz Spotify soundtrack yet?
  • The Chilbury Ladise’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan: It should have everything I like and yet I found it boring and the characters mostly irritating. Ah well!
  • Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin: I think I loved it a liiittle less than my fellow Innkeepers but it’s a charming and funny read.

I haven’t planned out January much yet (except for The Hod King naturally!!) but I think I’ll be reading a fair amount of non-SFF in it. I got Kang’s The Vegetarian, Gaskell’s North and South, and Shalev’s My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner from friends and family for Christmas, and I’d also like to finally finish up Adichie’s Americanah. On the other hand, my birthday’s at the end of the month so maybe I’ll ask for some fancy SFF books for that! Any nice editions of books people think I should try?


Kop

Kopratic

Kop is off battling (or befriending… We’re not sure) dragons somewhere… He’ll be back soon!


Sara

Sharade

Goodbyyyye 2018 and hello 2019! I want to be excited about the new releases 2019 is bringing us but I still have so much to read…so…much…

This month I finished 6 SFF books:

  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • Swordheart by T. Kingfisher
  • Among Others by Jo Walton: this was a strange one, still not 100% sure what I think of it. It’s about trauma, loneliness, discovering fandom…with a vaguely UF feel to it. I don’t know. It certainly was interesting and very readable.
  • The Captive Prince trilogy & short stories by C.S. Pacat: even with a content warning longer than my arm, I still binged through the 3 books and 2 short stories. Yes, certain parts were problematic. And yes, some aspects of the plot were weak and predictable. But Laurent is one of the most fascinating, complex character I’ve ever read, and the story managed to captivate me (heh see what I did there) from start to finish.

I’m currently reading Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower, which is lovely so far. I also need to finish Jeannette Ng’s Under the Pendulum Sun – I’ve enjoyed the few pages I’ve started, the writing is gorgeous and I’m really loving the gothic vibe.

January’s other reads are pretty straightforward, for once: it’s sequels month! The Winter of the Witch, which closes Arden’s Winternight trilogy, Bancroft’s the Hod King (Books of Babel 3), and Chakraborty’s the Kingdom of Copper. A perfect start to 2019.


Tam

Tam

I had a run of really good books to finish off the year. Somehow I managed to get 6 books finished in December and have a few more really great books on the go at the moment.

  • Jingo by Terry Pratchett (audiobook) – The Watch miniseries continues to be absolutely amazing, not quite as good as some of the others in The Watch, Jingo is still a really good book.
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee – A really cool book. Set in fantasy Hong Kong, Jade City tells a tale of magical gangsters and family. There are some amazing characters in this book, unique worldbuilding, and great action scenes.
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown (audiobook) – This was a really cool sci-fi coming-of-age story. Set in a dystopian future, it tells the story of a boy from a lower class rising up.
  • Chasing Graves by Ben Galley – This was a very unique book which tells the tale of how the world is changed when people can bind the souls of the recently deceased into servitude. A really interesting story with fantastic characters.
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (audiobook) – Not my favourite Sanderson book, it felt like it dragged a bit in places. It had all the hallmarks of Sanderson though, unique world, cool magic, Hoid, and much more.
  • Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) – A nice Urban Fantasy detective story. It didn’t really click with me as much as I would’ve liked. It was very heavy on the male gaze which I didn’t enjoy.

Overall, it was a good month for reading for me. I’m currently reading Black Wolves by Kate Elliott, and listening to the audiobook of Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky, both of which I’m really enjoying. Expect reviews for both soon.


Travis

Travis

I didn’t read quite as much as usual this month, but I think the holidays and reading a 1200+ page brick of a book make for a pretty good excuse.

  • I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest: A YA thriller/mystery about a girl who goes missing and the popular webcomic that seems to describe the circumstances of her disappearance. A fun, quick read that could have been better with a more fleshed-out supporting cast.
  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson: Yes, I finally read this. Nevermind that it’s the first book I ever preordered and it came out over a year ago. It was everything I was hoping it would be.
  • The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucett: An interesting read about a spaceship that touches down in rural America…and does nothing for three years. I would’ve liked this more if it had remained tonally consistent.
  • Orconomics by Zachary Pike: A fun satire of classic epic fantasy quests and our modern society. It was nothing like I expected and the economic humor, while interesting, was far from the book’s greatest strength. Fans of Kings of the Wyld will find much to love with this one.
  • A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher: This was an ARC for a book coming out later this year. It’s a powerful read and I think it will resonate well with fans of both literary fiction and survivalist stories like Hatchet by Gary Paulson. There’s a lot of nods to book geeks, too.
  • Magic King Dom: A post-apocalyptic story following a peppy protagonist. I enjoyed this a lot and the theme song is still stuck in my head.
  • In Her Burning: Is it creepy for people to burn out their eyes in order to see something…more? Nope. That’s crazy talk. This was an interesting listen, though unfortunately trying to comprehend an audio drama over the holidays at my in-laws’ house was only sort of successful. I’ll be relistening before I give a full review.
  • Victoriocity: Damn that was fun. Comedic steampunk noir mystery feels like the appropriate genre for this. The worldbuilding was incredible and I couldn’t listen in public without laughing out loud and looking like an idiot.
  • Inn Between: Your average DND quest party has to stop for a rest somewhere. This is the story of those breaks between adventures at a fantasy inn (heh). The characters were surprisingly complex and I loved the meta-humor of them joking about dice rolls but not knowing what dice rolls actually are.
  • Mount Olympus University: A wholesome story about a human who accidentally enrolls at a college for mythical gods and heroes. If Thor as a drunk frat boy or Hades as a misunderstood loner sound interesting, check this out. It’s incredible, and so freaking wholesome.
  • Hit the Bricks: So far only the pilot is out, but I can’t wait for more. This is a reimagining of The Wizard of Oz, set years after the adventures of Dorothy.
  • Arden: It’s not speculative fiction but it’s so up my alley that I can’t not say something. It’s a brilliant satire of true crime stories, hilarious, gorgeously produced, and a damn entertaining story in its own right.

I’m currently listening to The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss and reading The Curse of the Mistwraith by Janny Wurts. Both are excellent, and very different from each other. Hopefully, I’ll review TCOTM this month.


Wol

Happy 2019 all! It has been a mad busy holiday season in the Wol household, but filled with good cheer, good friends and good books. I can’t ask for more than that. 🙂

In December I finished:

  • Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri: It was every bit as lush and lovely as the other Inners had told me it was. Also a damn good performance on the audiobook, and Mehr’s Tears is possibly the best cocktail I have made to date.
  • Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft – This was a delightful surprise in my request list. Fascinating characters, great worldbuilding and funny as hell. Sneaked onto my best of 2018 list right at the last minute!
  • Tremontaine by Various – Ellen Kushner collaborated with several other authors to bring us this delightful prequel to Swordspoint, giving me the opportunity to create yet another drinking chocolate cocktail (coming soon, along with the review).
  • The Winter Riddle by Sam Hooker – I sure hope this novel catches on because it has the potential to be a new holiday classic. A sweet and entertaining story about a witch who just wants to be left alone, thank you very much.
  • Lumena and Clowdfrey by Steve Thomas – this was a highly enjoyable short story of a group of gods squabbling over their own mythology (featuring a cameo of yours truly!!!) There’s a related short story, Smite Me, Oh Dark One, that I plan to read before I post a double-feature on this.

And with the new year comes the SPFBO finalists! As a judge on Team Weatherwax I’ll be working my way through the 9 finalists I have not yet read over the next few months, starting with Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike. I’m also still chipping away at my request list – next up from the list: Exile by Martin Owton. I’m hoping to work in Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence since I was lucky enough to receive an ARC, and The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft (OMG the wait is almost over). Beyond that, we’ll see!

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